Bus on Shoulder Pilot Project

Thanks to an initiative by TBARTA and FDOT, the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) is testing bus-on-shoulder technology that is designed to make transit service faster and more reliable, especially during rush hour. The one-year project began in June, 2021. A final report including analysis of performance metrics is expected by Fall, 2022.

The pilot project operates on I-275 between 22nd Avenue North and Gandy Boulevard. On-ramp signals at 54th Avenue and 38th Avenue prevent traffic from entering the freeway when the bus is on the shoulder. Buses are allowed to use the shoulder when traffic speeds decrease below 35 MPH, and can go up to 15 MPH faster than traffic in the regular lanes, not to exceed 35 MPH.

The pilot is made possible through funding provided by TBARTA.

"TBARTA is proud to partner with PSTA and FDOT District 7 on this project and I want to congratulate everyone for what this work represents," said David Green, TBARTA's Executive Director.  "The potential efficiencies are not limited to Pinellas County.  TBARTA’s own Regional Rapid Transit project, which would connect Pinellas, Hillsborough, and Pasco counties along I-275, is considering bus-on-shoulder capabilities.  We will be using the information gathered here to help in that work, as well."

Project Scope:

  • Utilize I-275 shoulders to bypass heavy congestion
  • Allow PSTA buses to maintain schedule
  • Increase connectivity and improve travel times to and from Tampa

Incident Management:

  • Buses will remerge into traffic if an accident/breakdown blocks access
  • Law enforcement will move accidents to the refuge areas
  • Public education and awareness initiatives to be conducted

Maintenance:

  • Pavement, signing and striping maintained by FDOT
  • Increased sweeping of shoulder from once a month to once a week
  • Shoulder debris monitoring and clearing will be the responsibility of Road Rangers and PSTA drivers will report shoulder blockages