Dismal traffic in Tampa Bay has solutions in sight

06/14/13 Janelle Irwin
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Dedicated bus lanes may be a way to ease traffic congestion in the Tampa Bay area. The lanes would also be available to individual drivers who choose to pay a toll in order to avoid stop and go traffic.

The exact model being studied by the Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority hasn’t been done anywhere else in the country. But so far it looks like a viable way to speed up commutes along busy corridors.The Expressway Authority received a federal grant to conduct a concept study. Depending on where the Bus Toll Lanes are added, both drivers and buses using the lanes would be guaranteed to move at a minimum speed. That typically would run around 50 mph. There aren’t any plans yet to add lanes to transportation corridors, but if it happens, the most successful areas would be ones that suffer the most congestion.

Under the concept study, bus fare on the toll lanes would be cheaper than other routes. Individual driver fees would depend on congestion – as the lanes fill up, rates go up. The plan is likely to be more palatable to taxpayers weary of increased transit spending.

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