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I freakin love bus lanes. Here's a DIY presentation I gave a couple years ago that attempts to explain why: docs.google.com/presentation/d…
This is a photo of the status quo in Portland rush hour. Can you spot the bus?

We're so accustomed to this that we fail to see how deeply unjust it is.
I don't even mean, like, my-opinion/your-opinion socially unjust. I mean frickin' *mathematically* unjust.

You've probably seen this famous photo from a German cycling campaign. Compelling, right? But this doesn't even capture the whole story.
A thing I didn't always realize about moving vehicles is that they don't just take up the space they seem to occupy.

They also essentially take up the space in front of them -- the faster they're moving, the more space they eat up.
Multiply the fact that a car is quite a large object for hauling around a single person with the fact that they spend a lot of time moving fairly fast and the amount of public space we dedicate to each auto commuter, generally for free & whenever they want it, is mind-boggling.
Here's what this idea looks like when you turn it inside out:

*drumroll please*

A bus with 50 passengers has the right to 50 times more road space than a car with one.
Here's what spacial justice looks like in practice. This is Bogota, international capital of the bus lane and also the place I somehow convinced my wife to go on our honeymoon.

JK she loves bus lanes too obviously. :) And Colombia is awesome.
Second and final section of this thread, and the the thing I didn't realize AT ALL about bus lanes until I did that presentation:

Bus lanes that double the *speed* of buses also double the *frequency* of buses.
This is a bonkers statement when you think about it.

Can you imagine how politically difficult it would be to double the frequency of every bus in your town? It'd mean approximately doubling your bus system''s operating budget.

But bus lanes (and bus signals) can do it.
How is this possible? Imagine a simple bus line.

It's literally a line of buses, each sitting in traffic at different points along the route, each costing about $120/hr to operate (more than half to pay the driver, their support staff, benefits, vacation, etc).

12 min between.
What if this line had a continuous bus lane, like @ChloeEudalyPDX is proposing? Ballpark estimate is that bus speed would approximately double. 30-minute ride becomes 15-minute ride, etc.
@ChloeEudalyPDX Now - voila! - there are 6 minutes between each bus, because the distance between the stops didn't change but the bus speed did.
Did you see what happened there? We just doubled frequency without a penny of higher transit taxes.

The secret is that the public is no longer paying drivers (and their buses full of passengers) to sit in trafffic.

This was pretty hard for me to wrap my head around. Where is that extra time actually coming from? Don't buses just get to the end of their route sooner?
Finally I worked it out: Yes, but they also TURN AROUND sooner.

In Bus Lane City, each driver finishes a full lap when their counterpart in Congestion City is just turning around.
The final & possibly most awesome thing about bus lanes is this: they make transit so much better that a virtuous cycle begins.

Quicker trips -> more riders -> more people wanting to live & work near bus lines -> more stuff near bus lines -> more bus love -> more bus lanes

By the way, if you were wondering what prompted me to do this research a couple years ago it was the amazing Summer of Science series of free backyard slideshows founded by @sarahmirk & hosted by @beckyo1son.

Portland is Good
And if you're interested specifically in bus advocacy here in Portland/Oregon, nobody has been more effective than @OPALEJOR, and @portland_bus is a bus-lane-specific group that has pioneered this particular push.
Thanks to @keviniano for tracking down the image credit on this sweet visualization of street space consumed by mode! It’s by Matthew Blackett of @Spacing. Data from @LitmanVTPI.
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