Improving Utilisation of Existing Public Transport Infrastructure by Allowing Bus Access to Tram Rights-Of-Way

Aerial photograph of road


Allocation of limited road space to competing user groups such as motorists, freight operators and public transport represents a growing challenge for transport engineers. This paper investigates one aspect of this, allowing buses to access tram rights of way. Despite the narrow field examined, the results of this investigation have relevance across a wider range of situations involving access to the same road-space by two user categories.

The investigation searched for examples of shared operations both within Australia and internationally. This was followed by extensive consultation with a wide range of stakeholders and visits to a number of sites to examine specific issues. A number of key areas of consideration were found and examined:

  • The need to have infrastructure that is compatible for shared use, with consideration given to shared use in the design stage to avoid future costs,
  • The requirement for an operating regime that allows for shared use and the potential form of this regime, and
  • The importance of the institutional framework to achieving agreement between government and bus and tram operators. This extends also to achieving union agreement to proposals.

Bus operators were the proponents for this investigation; their aim is unsurprisingly, for more reliable and faster bus operations. Shared use was found to be one tool for delivering this, and certain examples were found to also have potential benefit to trams and other road users. The findings and the process of this investigation are relevant to a number of shared use situations specifically and to transit priority broadly.


SOMERS, A. (2003). Improving Utilisation of Existing Public Transport Infrastructure by Allowing Bus Access to Tram Rights-Of-Way. CAITR 2003. Institute of Transport Studies, Monash University.

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