PHILADELPHIA – City officials joined the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) today for a ceremonial ribbon-cutting of the newly painted red bus-only lane on Market Street between 20th Streets and 15th Streets. The City also released an evaluation report for the 18-month Bus Lane Pilot Project on JFK Boulevard between 15th and 19th Streets and Market Street between 20th and 15th Streets, which showed the bus-only lanes significantly improve bus travel times.

Additional findings of the evaluation report include:

  • Bus speeds improved 7 percent on Market Street and 15 percent on JFK Boulevard, despite decreasing 4 percent elsewhere in Center City
  • Most drivers complied with the new regulations, but there is still room for improvement
  • The bus lanes did not cause congestion for vehicle traffic

“We know transit is an affordable and energy efficient method of transportation,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “The findings of the evaluation report are clear, by prioritizing transit we can reduce traffic congestion and improve travel times so our residents can access all of the opportunities that our city has to offer.”

In Philadelphia, 42 percent of African American residents do not own a car and 50 percent of households in poverty do not have a car. The City, SEPTA, and PennDOT are working together and sharing costs to paint red bus-only lanes to improve the speed and reliability of buses.

“By painting bus lanes red, we are helping everyone who shares our roads know that this space is dedicated to transit. SEPTA is proud to partner with the City of Philadelphia and PennDOT in implementing this initiative. It is improving our bus service now, and it will be a great tool as we move forward with Bus Revolution, which aims to improve bus service throughout the network,” said SEPTA General Manager and CEO Leslie S. Richards.

Red paint has been shown to be an effective treatment for improving the compliance of bus lanes by making it very clear for drivers where a vehicle should be traveling. According to the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), “red or terra cotta colored pavement highlights the prominence of the transit system, while at the same time visually enforcing dedicated transit space.”

“We are excited to work on this initiative with our partners at the City of Philadelphia and SEPTA,” said PennDOT Secretary Mike Carroll. “PennDOT is always looking for innovative ways to improve access to transportation and we hope the red bus-only lanes will encourage the use of public transit and enhance safety for all modes of transportation.”

In 2022, the City announced the roll out of the first of many red bus-only lanes starting with Chestnut Street between Broad Street and 2nd Street. This year, PennDOT painted a red bus-only lane on East Market Street between Juniper Street and 6th Street. Additional red paint bus-only lanes are scheduled for installation on Erie Avenue in 2024 as part of the City’s Broad, Germantown, and Erie project.

Prioritizing transit reliability is a key priority of the Philadelphia Transit Plan, the City’s vision for improving public transit.

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