Bus-on-Shoulder Service

In addition to Bus Rapid Transit in dedicated lanes and Pulse (arterial BRT) service, rapid transit can exist on expressway corridors. For instance, buses can use shoulder lanes to by-pass slow traffic, thus reducing customers' travel time and staying on schedule.

Shoulder riding is one of the most affordable options for implementing rapid bus service on expressways and tollways because it is less expensive to modify shoulders than it is to construct new roadways. Bus service on bus-only shoulders increases the reliability and attractiveness of public transportation.


The Illinois Legislature permits Pace to operate in the shoulder lane on certain expressways

In 2011, thanks to a change in Illinois State law, Pace implemented bus-on-shoulder service on the Stevenson Expressway (I-55) as a demonstration project. That upgrade was developed in partnership with IDOT, the Illinois State Police, and RTA. Since 2011, Pace has expanded service along the I-55 corridor several times. The overflowing parking lots along the I-55 corridor led Pace to expand the existing lots and develop two new ones in 2016 - at Larry's Diner in Plainfield and Toyota Park in Bridgeview.

Currently, five bus routes use the I-55 shoulder: 755, 850, 851, 855, 856. In the years since Pace first got approval to use the shoulder, bus ridership on that corridor has more than quadrupled, and on-time performance-which averaged less than 70%--is now over 90%.

In 2014, the Illinois General Assembly enacted legislation permanently allowing bus-on-shoulder service and expanding that permission to all the region's expressways and tollways. Pace and the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority are now constructing a "flex lane" on the Jane Addams Tollway (I-90), which is slated to open for Pace buses in spring 2017. Pace and IDOT are also studying future bus-on-shoulder services on the Edens Expressway (I-94).


Shoulder riding keeps the bus moving in a dedicated 'lane.'

Another Advantage for Buses on the Expressway: Ramp Metering By-pass Lanes
In addition to bus-only shoulders, ramp metering is an effective method of enabling a bus to by-pass waiting traffic. A ramp meter is a traffic signal that controls the flow of traffic onto expressways based on the number of vehicles already on the roadway.

Ramp metering, with queue jump lanes for buses, allows buses to proceed ahead of other vehicles as they use ramps to enter expressways. While cars are waiting for a green signal to move onto the expressway, buses use the queue-jump lane to by-pass waiting traffic.

Pace's 'Bus on Shoulder' TV commercial


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