Barr funds 3 bus rapid transit pilots
Dedicated bus lanes, synchronized signals part of effort
THE BARR FOUNDATION awarded three $100,000 grants for pilot bus rapid transit projects scheduled to run next year in Arlington, Everett, and Cambridge and Watertown.
In Arlington, the MBTA and the municipality plan to run a one-month pilot on the busy No. 77 bus route along Massachusetts Avenue that would test a dedicated lane for buses and traffic signals synchronized to give priority to buses. A similar pilot is planned for bus routes along Mount Auburn Street west of Fresh Pond Parkway in Cambridge and Watertown.
The third pilot will upgrade the existing dedicated bus lane along Broadway in Everett with traffic signal prioritization and platform-level boarding platforms at three stops so riders in wheelchairs and strollers can board more quickly and easily.The pilot projects come as the MBTA is launching a concerted effort to upgrade the appeal of its bus system, which on average is currently reliable only 65 percent of the time. The T believes the best way to improve reliability is to move buses through traffic congestion more quickly, either by synchronizing traffic signals or providing dedicated lanes.
“These pilot projects will show bus rapid transit’s potential to transform how people in Greater Boston get to where they need to go, and how bus rapid transit can fit within the region’s transportation system,” said Barr’s Mary Skelton Roberts in a statement.