The MBTA has announce that the Columbus Avenue Bus Lanes Project has been completed and operational service began on October 30, 2021.
The nearly mile-long bus priority facility between Franklin Park and Jackson Square Station includes center-running bus lanes in both directions and the full replacement of eight existing bus stops with new boarding platforms. Each boarding platform is sheltered and features new seating and improved lighting, digital screens with real-time arrival information, a safety barrier to separate riders on the platforms from traffic on Columbus Avenue, and emergency call boxes. Additionally, higher curbs make it easier to get on and off the bus.
Throughout the corridor, pedestrian safety and accessibility improvements were installed, including new crosswalks, ramps, signals, and curb extensions.
Construction broke ground in August 2020 and was accelerated over the last year in order to quickly deliver benefits for riders who depend upon the corridor for essential trips. Since the state-wide public health emergency was declared in March 2020, ridership for Bus Routes 22, 29, and 44, which travel along Columbus Ave, has been above system-wide averages. These routes also serve some of the highest rates of low-income and minority riders within the MBTA’s system. According to a 2017 CTPS survey, 91 percent of route 22 bus riders are non-white.
The City of Boston and the MBTA will continue to work with the community along Columbus Avenue post implementation to engage riders and residents about the new facility. The Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) recently green-lighted funding to support extending the center-running bus lane corridor north along Columbus Avenue from its current terminus at Jackson Square to Ruggles Station, in order to extend reliability benefits for thousands of daily riders who rely upon that section of Columbus Avenue and Tremont Street.
The MBTA Transit Priority Group was created in 2019 with support from the Barr Foundation to further bus priority projects around the region. The group has worked closely with municipal partners and MassDOT to deliver over 21 miles of bus lanes and activate transit signal priority (TSP) at 85 locations in six cities, more than doubling the MBTA service area’s bus priority network in the last two years. These reliability benefits have had a far-reaching impact. While 3% of passenger miles travelled are in bus lanes, reliability benefits extend to 41% of passenger miles travelled systemwide.
The MBTA is partnering with several other municipalities within the service area to deliver bus priority projects wherever they are needed. Learn more at: https://www.mbta.com/projects/bus-transit-priority