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The Purpose of Dedicated Lanes

When some drivers see a dedicated lane, they may become frustrated if they cannot use it.  However, dedicated lanes have not been created to frustrate drivers; rather, they were designed to reduce congestion and to keep traffic flowing.

Bus lanes, in particular, are effective at keeping traffic moving.  At first glance, it may seem that when you sacrifice an entire lane of the road, it will cause all of the traffic to move more slowly.  However, upon further research, it becomes apparent that when busses are placed in their own lane, they do not impede the flow of the other vehicles.

With their own lanes, busses are able to stop and unload passengers without holding up vehicles that may be behind them.  In addition, dedicated bus lanes also allow the busses to move more quickly.  Theoretically, that increase in speed will result in an increase of the number of people who take the bus and a decrease in the number of people who are driving their cars and causing congestion. HOV (High Occupancy Vehicle) lanes also have a similar effect on congestion. 

Some roads opt to have dedicated trucking lanes.  These lanes can also have a positive impact on congestion.  Trucks tend to slow down traffic when they are integrated with the main flow of traffic.  However, when researchers have looked at the impact of having a specific truck lane, they have discovered that these lanes allow the other cars to travel faster, consume less fuel, and produce fewer emissions.  Particularly during peak hours, cars are able to go faster when the trucks are not in their lane. 

The role of a dedicated lane is not always easy to understand.  Research is constantly showing that whether bus lanes or other dedicated lanes are added to a road, it ultimately decreases congestion.  However, every geographic area needs to study their specific traffic trends to determine which type of lanes will be the most effective for their particular needs.