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Bus pullouts across region keep traffic moving

Oct. 17, 2017 - When the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) plan was approved by voters in 2006, it included a promise to deliver 200 new bus pullouts. As of the summer of 2017, more than half of them have been completed.

The RTA plan allocated $30 million to fund bus pullouts over the life of the 20-year regional transportation plan. The added bus pullouts allow passengers to board transit vehicles outside of the traffic through lane.

Designated, paved pullouts are built to the right of through lanes and next to the curb. Traffic can continue to flow in the through lane, and drivers do not need to resort to lane changes to avoid traffic delays behind stopped buses.

This is particularly important at busy intersections, where the capacity of the intersection is greatly impacted by bus operations.  Bus pullouts also provide benefits to transit riders since most new bus pullouts are constructed with shelters and other amenities to improve transit rider comfort.

The RTA established criteria, in cooperation with the City of Tucson and Sun Tran, for transit corridor bus pullouts to be implemented by the RTA.  All pullouts are standardized to accommodate the full-size, 40-foot buses within the Sun Tran fleet. Design of pullouts for future 60-foot articulated buses and/or multiple buses is also considered along high-ridership corridors.  Where feasible, bus pullouts are designed to allow not only vehicular traffic but also bicycle traffic to bypass stopped transit vehicles.  Because of the heavy static loads which transit vehicles place on pavement, bus pullouts are paved with concrete rather than asphalt for greater service life and durability.  

The size of the bus shelter varies based upon surrounding land uses and passenger use. Standard passenger amenities included in the pullout design include trash receptacles and security lighting. All bus pullouts are constructed to be fully accessible and conform to the Americans with Disabilities Act including handicap ramps at intersections, improved corridor access for the elderly and disabled, and new sidewalk connections where needed to provide for route continuity.

Bus pullouts have been constructed on major transit corridors, including Oracle Road, First Avenue, Country Club Road, Palo Verde Boulevard, Alvernon Way, Craycroft Road, Valencia Road, Ajo Way, Broadway Boulevard, 5th Street, Speedway Boulevard, and Fort Lowell Road. New pullouts also have been constructed in conjunction with new services in the outlying areas of the region, including express bus services serving Oro Valley and Rita Ranch as well as Sun Shuttle service to the Town of Marana. Completed RTA plan Roadway Element projects which have incorporated bus pullouts include the Speedway Boulevard project, the Twin Peaks Road project and La Cholla Boulevard project.

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