Bus to Shoulder Pilot Program to Test on I-70 Mountain Corridor

March 14, 2014 - Metro Denver Colorado/CDOT Region 1, Northeastern Colorado/CDOT Region 4 - The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is looking at a variety of options to improve traffic flow and reduce congestion along the I-70 mountain corridor during peak travel times.

CDOT will be implementing a pilot program to test Bus on Shoulder operations on eastbound I-70 over the course of the next three weekends. Weather permitting, CDOT has obtained the use of large Greyhound buses to test the viability of allowing Buses to run on Shoulders during congested times on eastbound I-70.

This pilot program is being implemented in order to gather data and determine the potential benefits of allowing certain authorized busses to bypass congestion by utilizing the existing shoulder lane. The goal of this pilot program is to improve the travel time reliability for motorists while creating a viable option for those headed up and down the I-70 corridor during peak times.

CDOT has identified four segments of eastbound I-70 from the Eisenhower Tunnel and Idaho Springs to allow buses to utilize the shoulder lane during peak travel times. The bus will be allowed to use the shoulder only when general traffic speeds are below 35 miles per hour.  The bus will only be allowed to go 15 miles per hour faster than traffic is flowing in the general purpose lanes. The driver will be required to yield to traffic and the primary use of the shoulder will still be for brake downs.

The pilot program will run two buses simultaneously with one allowed to use the shoulder when appropriate and the other to stay in general traffic.  We will collect data on trip travel times for both buses to document potential time savings through the use of the shoulder. Motorists traveling along this corridor will see a black and white regulatory sign in place prior to the beginning of all segments. This sign will help with enforcement and inform motorists of the situation.

The data collected along with observations and safety results will all be evaluated after the three weekends are complete. If the program proves effective from a time savings and safety stand point, a fully implemented program will be considered for peak travel times along the I-70 mountain corridor. This pilot program is weather permitting, should adverse weather occur this test will not be implemented that weekend.

To receive real-time updates about road conditions in your area, visit www.coloradodot.info and click on the green cell phone icon in the upper right hand corner of the page. Information about weekly lane closures will be available at www.coloradodot.info/travel/scheduled-lane-closures.html. Live road conditions are available at www.cotrip.org, downloading the CDOT Mobile app or by calling 511 from anywhere in the state. Updates are also available via Twitter @coloradodot and be sure to “Like” our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/coloradodot.