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TitleMoving the Bus Back into Traffic Safely - Signage and Lighting Configuration Phase I
LanguageEnglish
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Total Pages141
Document Text Contents
Page 1

Moving the Bus Back into Traffic Safely -
Signage and Lighting Configuration Phase I

FDOT BD 549-34
Final Report

November 2007

Page 2

Moving the Bus Back Into Traffic Safely –
Signage and Lighting Configuration Phase I


Final Report


November 2007


Prepared for






Florida Department of Transportation
BD 549-34


Project Manager:

Amy Datz



Prepared by
Huaguo Zhou, Ph.D., P.E., Senior Research Associate

Stephanie Bromfield, Graduate Research Assistant


National Center for Transit Research

Center for Urban Transportation Research
University of South Florida

4202 E. Fowler Avenue, CUT 100
Tampa, FL 33620-5375

(813) 974-3120
http://www.nctr.usf.edu

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and delay savings to the transit agency when there is compliance with the law. The
figures presented in this research for re-entry delay could be explored to see the impact
these small delays will have on the entire route. Future research can be done to explore
re-entry delay, delay propagation, and schedule adherence. A model can be developed to
predict the delay a bus will have based on variables such as the number of lanes, location
of bus stop, distance to the nearest intersection, hourly volumes, speed limit, and bus
headway.

Additionally, research needs to be done on the dynamic LED signs mentioned in this
research. If implemented, they do not appear to cause any conflicts with other rear
lighting, and since they display a clear message, they do not appear to have any
ambiguous meanings. However, this would have to be tested in the field to make sure
drivers understand the meaning of the word messages.

Recommendations

Bus Rear Lighting and Signage
Based on field observations of the rear-lighting on Florida buses, there is no set lighting
configuration used. Although a basic configuration is observed based on NHTSA
standards, the colors and types of lights vary greatly within the limits of NHTSA. The
amber strobes lights can be confused with turning signals if only half of the bus rear is
visible, which is the situation at some bus bay locations. In this situation it is difficult to
tell if a bus is stopped and picking up passengers or trying to merge into traffic. The
typical motorist does not have the time to decipher the bus actions, so there needs to be
some guidelines for the placement of optional lights on the back of the bus. The Federal
Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and Regulations (FMVSS) allow for stop lamps that are
activated by the braking system to be red or amber and the turn signals can also be red or
amber. To standardize the lighting on the back of the bus, a set color should be chosen.

The majority of bus operators prefer the flashing Merge Alert sign, which is currently not
being used by any transit agencies. Further tests can be done on this LED sign to see if it
is worth applying. If it is implemented, there needs to be clear guidelines as to what other
optional lighting is added to the bus. If a dynamic LED sign is placed on the back of the
bus, it probably should not be used simultaneously with flashing hazard lights or
deceleration lights.

Roadside Signs and Pavement Marking
Since the MUTCD currently has no signage or pavement markings for the YTB law, new
signage and pavement markings can be developed based on the existing practices for
yielding to pedestrians and bicyclists. One concern would be that adding more to the
MUTCD may only add to driver confusion. Many roads are already congested with
roadway signs and pavement markings that give drivers more information than they are
able to digest. Therefore, additional signs and pavement marking for the YTB law would
have to be used under strict engineering judgment in areas where many conflicts are
observed. Figure 50 shows possible YTB roadway signs that can be added to the
MUTCD.

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Figure 50 Yield-to-Bus Roadway Signs


Additionally, roadside flashing beacons that are activated by a bus in a bus pull-out bay
can be explored. The location of these beacons would be very strict since it may conflict
with intersection lights at near-side and far-side bus stop locations.

Legislation
The current Florida statutes make no mention of how the YTB law is to be implemented
and this possibly contributes to the lack of law enforcement. Taking the example of other
states, the Florida Statute can be expanded to include a penalty for not yielding to the bus
or a classification for the type of offence committed. The viability of the law is partially
dependent on how well it can be enforced, so adding more information on the
implementation and penalties should be beneficial.

Other States require a public awareness campaign to let motorists know about the yield-to
bus laws and this is something that needs to be done in Florida. Like in other states, a
system should be set up to evaluate the necessity of the law based on the total number of
traffic collisions, traffic congestion issues, public opinion, and the efficiency of transit
operations.

According to the bus operator survey, the majority of operators believe that there are
other conditions in which motorists should yield to a public transit bus. The bus operators
also reported that they use shoulders and right-turn lanes to pull out of traffic, not just a
specifically designated bus pull-out bay. A detailed look into Florida bus crashes and
delay problems can be used to determine whether it is necessary for motorists to yield
under other conditions. Other states have not specified that motorists should yield only at
specifically designated bus pull-out bays; therefore, buses that pull over in any off-line
stop would be covered under the laws. Removing the requirement of only yielding to
buses from a designated bus bay should be considered especially since some counties do
not have many bus bays, yet buses still have difficulty merging into traffic after loading
and unloading passengers.

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Appendix G: (Continued)

Location: Kirkman Rd and Conroy Rd, Orlando
Date: Tuesday, April 24, 2007


Time in
Time at left

signal
Time out

Re-
entry
delay

No.
cars
pass

No.
cars
pass
after
left

signal

No. of
conflicts

Notes

7:56:42 AM
1

Bus did not stop in
bus bay

8:26:10 AM 8:27:36 AM
7 1

Bus moved into lane
without signaling

9:15:16 AM 9:15:26 AM 9:15:38 AM 0:12 2 1 0 No YTB decal
9:33:00 AM 9:33:22 AM 9:33:30 AM 0:08 3 0 1 No YTB decal
9:48:00 AM 9:48:10 AM 9:48:14 AM 0:04 1 0 0 No YTB decal
10:03:00 AM 10:03:16 AM 10:03:24 AM 0:08 1 0 0 No YTB decal
10:43:00 AM 10:43:54 AM 10:44:01 AM

0:07 4 0 0
Cars were stopped in
queue in front of bus

10:53:58 AM 10:54:15 AM 10:54:53 AM

0:38 6 0

Weaving behind bus
- traffic was backed
up when bus merged

11:45:50 AM 11:46:03 AM 11:46:18 AM 0:15 5 1 0

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140

Appendix G: (Continued)


Location: Kirkman Rd and Conroy Rd, Tampa
Date: Tuesday, April 24, 2007


Time in
Time at left

signal
Time out

Re-
entry
delay

No.
cars
pass

No. cars
pass

after left
signal

No. of
conflicts

Notes

6:44:16 AM 6:44:34 AM 6:44:51 AM 0:17 14 6 0 No YTB decal

7:56:05 AM 0 0 1

No YTB Decal,
Bus stopped in
lanes

8:14:06 AM 8:15:42 AM 8:15:48 AM 0:06 17 0 0 Large YTB decal
8:47:13 AM 8:47:29 AM 8:47:52 AM 0:23 18 9 0 No YTB decal
8:59:13 AM 8:59:25 AM 9:00:00 AM 0:35 14 7 0 No YTB decal
9:32:08 AM 9:32:35 AM 9:32:43 AM 0:08 7 0 0 No YTB decal
9:47:04 AM 9:47:23 AM 9:47:31 AM 0:08 9 0 0 No YTB decal

10:03:38 AM 10:03:44 AM 10:04:04 AM 0:20 11 6 0

No YTB decal,
Weaving to avoid
bus

10:52:38 AM 10:52:49 AM 10:52:59 AM 0:10 4 0 0 No YTB decal

11:02:02 AM 11:02:32 PM 7 0 0

Weaving behind
bus entering
traffic, operator
did not use left
signals but the
flashers

16:31 12:18 12:18 0:08 11 1 0

Large YTB decal,
weaving behind
bus

11:32:18 AM 11:33:01 AM
Bus did not stop
in pull-out bay

11:43:45 AM 11:45:24 AM 11:45:32 AM 0:08 13 0 0

Bus waited until
road was clear
before merging -
no decal

12:02:38 PM 12:03:06 PM 8 0 0

No decal, merged
into traffic with
flashers

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