Bus lanes can be used by cyclists unless they are specifically excluded. They are, therefore, a significant component of Auckland’s cycle network. Auckland Transport is standardising new bus lane widths at 3.2m (below which a bus cannot pass a cyclist without moving into the adjacent lane) and 4.2m (which allows a bus to overtake a cyclist within the bus lane). A number of existing bus lanes are between these two widths. This can make the bus lane concerned potentially less safe for cyclists. For some situations, it may be possible to simply re-mark the lanes to provide the required lane widths. Elsewhere, it may be appropriate to provide an alternative cycle route.
The project required measuring existing bus lane widths in Central Auckland (the Auckland isthmus); determining bus service frequencies for the planned “New Network”; identifying those bus lanes where it is feasible to alter the road space allocation to achieve the standard widths; and identifying potential alternative cycle routes where achieving the appropriate standard width may not be feasible. An analysis of bus/cycle crashes identified typical bus/cycle crash types and crash locations. The New Network service data was also used to identify potential future bus lanes for inclusion in the analysis.
The existing bus lanes which do not meet the desirable standards were identified. Potential measures to improve cycle safety were developed. These included low cost measures such as altering the lane markings to achieve the desired width(s), and the identification of potential alternative cycle routes where appropriate. A priority ranking methodology was developed and applied to assist in prioritising the implementation of remedial measures and investigations into alternative cycle routes in Central Auckland. The highest priority existing bus lanes identified were on Symonds Street and Great North Road.