When you’re trying to run quality transit in a mixed-traffic situation, and you have a street with two lanes of traffic in each direction, the best practice is for transit to run in the faster lane, the one further from the sidewalk. We see this most commonly with streetcars, but it’s true of any mode of street-running transit. That’s because the lane closer to the curb is often delayed by random car movements, including cars turning, or trying to parallel-park, or doing pickup and dropoff. So long as the fast lane is separate from any turning lanes, it’s the lane where you’ll get the best travel time in mixed traffic.
As part of my Europe tour, I thought I’d give some attention to things that even the best European systems have trouble getting right.
In talking about transit planning I’m constantly stressing the need to think in terms of interconnected two-dimensional networks, not just the one-dimensional “corridors” that are the focus of so many transit studies. It’s a hard point to convey because (a) interconnectedness implies connections, also called “transfers,” which people supposedly hate, and (b) networks are complicated and abstract and hard to think about, which is why I’m always trying to create and promote tools for making them simpler.
Continuing from my last post on the overhead wires of Vienna, here are some additional images. (Click to enlarge.) Decide for yourself when and where they’re unacceptable.
Next time someone tells you that a light rail or streetcar or trolleybus would ruin the beautiful streetscape with their overhead wires, show them a picture of Vienna, where I am now.