High Capacity Bus Service

HCBS has had a controversial begining. This project by the IITIANS already has taken one life.

I am unsure of this project’s success, and also usure about the feasability of the project. What are your opinions?


Here is the introduction of the report submitted by IITians.

To download the whole report click here



With rapid urbanisation, the pressure on transportation systems has increased

in most cities in India. The inadequate transport system of cities, accompanied by

lack of comprehensive urban transport management strategies is promoting the use

of private individual transport. As an example, Delhi alone has experienced a ninefold

increase in its motor vehicle population over the last three decades, with public

transport contributing little to this increase.

Significant environmental, safety and health implications are associated with

high traffic density and inefficiently designed urban transport systems. Most cities

continue to face the problems of environment pollution, slower vehicular speeds, and

traffic congestion accompanied by unacceptable accident rates. As a result, urban

India encounters acute transport crisis and deteriorating air environment.

This situation calls for innovative, cost effective, safe and reliable transport

strategies. Modern High Capacity Bus Systems (HCBS) integrated with information

and communication technologies provide such an option for decongesting and

improving urban transport situations. In most cities, buses are still the most widely

used mode of conveyance and will continue to remain so. Therefore, it is crucial that

urban planners start looking at innovative ways by which the efficiency of the bus

transport can be improved to cater o the growing urban population. Preferential right

of way for buses along with priority for pedestrians and cyclists, intelligent transport

systems, cleaner fuels and vehicle technologies could be the way forward for

meeting the transport needs of our cities in the future.

HCBS is a term used for bus transportation systems that use available space

on arterial roads of cities with dedicated bus ways. These systems utilize modern

technologies for optimising flow, passenger movement, ticketing, bus scheduling,

etc. The efficiency of the system and high capacity of passengers transported

depends on the system as whole and not necessarily on the size of buses, though

when necessary articulated buses could be used with ease. HCBS is a high-quality

customer oriented transit that delivers efficient, low cost and fast urban mobility.

These systems can be implemented at a fraction of the cost of rapid transit systems

available earlier. Such systems have the following characteristics: segregated

busways, rapid boarding and alighting, efficient fare collection, comfortable and

efficient shelters and stations, use of clean bus technologies not limited to any

particular type, and flexibility in routing. Such systems increase the capacity of

existing bus systems significantly and can be implemented in relatively short time

spans of 1 -2 years.

In this chapter we give the background of HCBS, international experience,

relevance to Delhi and estimates of costs and benefits.


HCBS systems have been introduced in a large number of cities in the

developing world, and even advanced economies are now following this example.


Some of the cities where such systems have been introduced or are in an advanced

stage of implementation are listed below:

1. Latin America:

Belo Horizonte, Bogota, Campinas, Curitiba, Goiania, Lima, Porto Alegre,

Quito, Recife, Sao Paulo

2. Asia:

Akita, Fukuoka, Gifu, Kanazuwa, Kunming, Miyazaki, Nagaoka, Nagoya,

Nigata, Taipeh.

3. Oceanía:

Adelaide, Brisbane.

5. North America:

Honolulu, Los Angeles, Miami, Ottawa, Pittsburg, Vancouver.

In addition, the following cities are at planning or construction stages:

1. Latin America:

Barranquilla, Bogota (expansion), Cartagena, Cuenca, Guatemala City,

Guayaquil, Lima, Mexico City, Panama City, Pereira, Quito (expansion), San

Juan, San Salvador.

2. Asia:

Bangalore, Surabaya.

4. Oceanía:

Auckland, Perth, Sydney.

5. North America:

Albany, Alameda and Contra Costa, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland,

Dulles Corridor, Eugene, Hartford, Las Vegas, Louisville, Montomery County,

San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto

Basically, HCBS can be defined as a fully integrated, bus-based “rapid” transit

system typically utilizing highly flexible service and advanced technologies to

improve customer convenience and reduce delays. It combines most of the qualities

of light rail transit with the flexibility and lower operating, maintenance, and capital

cost of buses. HCBS vehicles can operate on exclusive travel ways, high occupancy

vehicle (HOV) lanes, expressways, or ordinary roadways in almost any dense urban

environment. In addition, HCBS can combine intelligent transportation systems (ITS)

technology; traffic signal priority; rapid, limited stop service; clean, quiet, and

aesthetically pleasing vehicles; enhanced shelters and stops; rapid and convenient

fare collection; and facilitated integration with existing and future land-use policy. The

following features typically characterize a HCBS system:

o Exclusive travel ways

o Modern stations

o Modern buses


o Rapid service

o Automated fare collection

o ITS technologies

o Lower costs

It is not necessary that all of the above systems be available at the same time.

They can be incorporated in phases or as per need on different sections.

Exclusive travel ways

A “travel way” is the path along which a HCBS vehicle operates; the use of an

exclusive travel way is what distinguishes HCBS from standard local trans it service

and helps give it a higher-than-standard -bus speed, reliability, and identity. Some of

the types of travel ways that can be used include exclusive transit way, HOV lanes,

dedicated transit lanes, mixed traffic, contraflow lanes, and queue jumper lanes at

signalized intersections. In some HCBS applications, the travel way is color-coded or

has special pavement markings to enhance its distinctiveness. These exclusive

lanes can be on the left (curbside) lane or on in the centre of the right of way.

Extensive experience has been accumulated around the world in the allocation of

these locations and the decisions have to be based on land use patterns, right of

way available and density of bus traffic. In some locations, emergency vehicles and

high capac ity vehicles like taxis are also allowed on these lanes.

Modern stations

HCBS system stations can range from standard shelters to large transit

centers, depending on the character and/or the density of the community in which

the HCBS operates. HCBS stations often are tied to major activity centers such as

malls, business parks, and downtowns, and even can be located “off-line” from the

travel way. Typically, station design further promotes fast, efficient HCBS service by

reducing vehicle dwell time. One of the major ways that this is accomplished is by

speeding up the passenger boarding and alighting process by using raised platforms

for no-step passenger movement on and off the vehicles and/or buy the use of lowfloor

buses. HCBS stations also utilize signage and graphics to differentiate and

make them stand out from standard bus stops. In addition, HCBS stations also can

include real-time passenger information displays and provide opportunities for other

customer services.

Modern buses

In the early stages it may not be absolutely necessary to provide all buses

that are new, but the full capacity of the system can be achieved only if the bus

design I integrated with the bus stop and communication systems. Some of the

critical issues are outlined below.

Low-Floor Vehicles

HCBS systems typically use low floor buses to reduce dwell time, make travel

more convenient and make possible use by disabled persons easier. For diabled

persons, a ccess to the vehicle can either be at raised platforms (providing level

boarding) or using an on-vehicle ramp which flips down to bridge the gap between

the step and the curb.


Number and Width of Doors

HCBS require buses with more and wider doors to reduce dwell time. A clear

width of 820 mm is desirable for easy access by persons in mobility aids. Three

doors may be there in a 12m bus, which increase passenger-handling capability at

stops or stations by 50 percent.



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One Response to High Capacity Bus Service

  1. Pingback: The govt fools the citizens again « SPEAK INDIA

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