Cities look to AI-powered cameras to keep bus lanes clear

Clear bus lanes can help buses move faster and passengers get to their destinations more reliably. A March 2024 Urban Institute study in partnership with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority found that “well-enforced and unobstructed priority bus lanes” could increase access to jobs reachable within 30 minutes by 90% for the average D.C resident.

More frequent and reliable transit bus service is an equity issue, the Urban Institute study says. In the area served by the Washington, D.C., Metro, 46% of bus riders are defined as lower-income, 58% are Black or African-American and 16% are Hispanic.

But it’s not enough to just mark off bus priority lanes. Even if the lanes are clear 75% of the time, “their benefit in terms of average job accessibility would decline by more than half” compared with a scenario in which lanes are clear all the time, the UI study says.

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