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Broadway below Canal Street in Manhattan.
curb extension

A bus bulb, also called a bus boarder or bus border, is an arrangement by which a sidewalk is extended outwards for a bus stop; typically the bus bulb replaces roadway that would otherwise be part of a parking lane. With bus bulbs or boarders, a bus can stay in its traffic lane to discharge and pick up passengers, instead of having to pull over to the curb.

A schematic drawing of a bus bulb.

The term bus bulb is prevalent in North American usage, whilst bus boarder or bus border is used elsewhere.[1][2][3]

A bus bulb or boarder can be considered as a specific form of curb extension, although that term is more normally used to describe a sidewalk extension for the purposes of traffic calming or other traffic management purposes.

Benefits

Benefits include preventing buses from being delayed by having to pull back into traffic, reducing risk of accidents, reducing pedestrian exposure in crosswalks (if provided at the same location), reducing sidewalk congestion, providing space for bus patron amenities including bus shelters, and traffic calming. The protrusion also facilitates easier full length alignment of a bus entrance with a raised kerb stop, especially to allow level boarding in the case of low-floor buses.[2]

Bus bulbs also retain more parking when compared to a bus stop located in a parking lane, as a bus stop so located requires run-in and run-out tapers. Together these tapers may take up as much space as the actual stop, requiring parking to be prohibited over a longer length of road than with a bulb, where cars can park immediately on either side of the bus stop itself.[2]

Drawbacks

The main drawback is for cyclists. The narrowing of the road can create danger for cyclists if the design does not take their needs into account.[2][4] Bus bulbs are not appropriate on streets that provide only one traffic lane in each direction since they delay other vehicles that must wait behind the bus. Where more than one lane exists in one direction, modelling has shown that there is no additional delay overall for following drivers, since the buses have shorter dwell times (there is less time spent pulling back into traffic) and since following vehicles may use the second lane for passing.[1]

References

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