Bus Priority Schemes help to to facilitate the smooth movement of buses. Sharing the same road space with cars, taxis and other vehicles, traffic congestion can affect the travel time and reliability of a bus service, especially in the Central areas where heavy traffic is often encountered.
Many cities implement similar bus priority schemes to help raise the average speed of buses, decrease the day-to-day variability in travel time. thus improving service reliability for commuters, and increasing the attractiveness of commuting via buses.
Several bus priority schemes have been put in place in Singapore to improve bus services:
- Bus priority lanes (yellow/red) & Bus-only lanes
- Bus priority & Bus-only turning lanes
- Bus-only road
- Bus priority box
- Bus signal priority scheme
- Traffic light for bus filtering
- Traffic light signal priority
- Other bus priority measures
- Transit Priority Corridors (TPCs)
Transit Priority Corridors (TPCs) combine several forms of bus priority measures, such as bus lanes, bus-only roads, and signal priority for buses. The first TPC was implemented at Bencoolen Street in 2017, with more planned for the future.
Bus lanes are dedicated lanes for public buses, often found on the leftmost lane of arterial roads. Three types of bus lanes exist in Singapore:
- Normal Bus Lanes which are active only during weekday peak hours
- Full Day Bus Lanes which are active through the day on Weekdays and Saturdays
- Bus Only Lanes which are reserved for buses at all times.
These allow buses to move through congested roads, but their effectiveness is limited by the need to accommodate traffic turning in and out of side roads.
Bus lanes can also be used by cyclists in single file, non-scheduled buses (such as school buses and factory buses), and emergency vehicles. Non scheduled buses are not allowed to make stops or board/alight passengers along bus lanes.
|Bus Lanes||Normal Bus Lanes||Full-Day Bus Lanes||Bus Only Lanes|
|Demarcation||Continuous yellow line on the outer edge
Transverse yellow lines
|Continuous yellow and red line on outer edge
Transverse yellow lines
|Continuous red line on outer edge
Transverse red lines
|Start of bus lane indicated in “BUS”||Start of bus lane indicated in “BUS” and bus lane operating hours||Start of bus lane indicated in red, “BUS ONLY” text|
|Operating Hours||Weekdays (except Public Holidays)
07:30 – 09:30 & 17:00 – 20:00
|Weekdays & Saturdays (except Public Holidays)
07:30 – 23:00
|At all times|
Breaks in the bus lane are indicated in dotted lines, where other vehicles turning in/out of a slip road are allowed into the bus lane.
Bus lanes are accompanied by a blue information sign near the start of the bus lane that displays the bus lane operating hours. Some of these signs have LED lamps that illuminate during bus lane hours.
Transit Priority Corridors (TPCs) also feature bus lanes. The first TPC was implemented at Bencoolen Street in 2017 in the form of a bus-only lane.
- Normal Bus Lane: Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3 (between Ang Mo Kio Avenue 6 & Yio Chu Kang Road)
- Full-Day Bus Lane: Orchard Road (between Orange Grove Road & Handy Road)
- Bus-Only Lane: Bencoolen Street (between Middle Road and Bras Basah Road); Braddell Road (near Lor 6 Toa Payoh flyover)
Bus Turning Lanes
While ordinary bus lanes occupy the leftmost lane, some bus lanes are drawn on the rightmost lane to aid turning buses. This is most often found outside Bus Interchanges and Integrated Transport Hubs. Most of these turning lanes are bus-only lanes.
Examples of where these full-day bus turning lanes can be found:
- Bedok North Drive: Right-turn into Bedok Interchange
- Petir Road: Right-turn into Bukit Panjang Interchange
- Jurong West Central 3: Right-turn into Boon Lay Interchange
- Choa Chu Kang Loop: Left- and right-turn into Choa Chu Kang Temporary Interchange
- Woodlands Avenue 7: Right turn to Woodlands Square
- Yishun Avenue 2: Right turn to Yishun Interchange
Other types of bus lanes are also used as turning lanes, but are less common:
- [Normal Bus Lane] Lorong 6 Toa Payoh: Right turn to Toa Payoh Interchange
- [Normal Bus Lane] Braddell Flyover (Northbound CTE slip road): Right turn to Lorong Chuan
- [Full Day Bus Lane] Woodlands Square and North Woodlands Drive: Rightmost lanes leading to Woodlands Temporary Bus Interchange
Other Bus-only turn lanes
- Somerset Road: Left turn lane for bus services calling at Grange Road (Natl Youth Council)
- Jelebu Road: Left turn lane for buses turning heading to Bukit Panjang Road (westbound)
- Upper Bukit Timah Road (before Jalan Anak Bukit): Allows Service 173 to make a right turn into Upper Bukit Timah Road (to Beauty World Station Exit A)
- Lim Chu Kang Road (before Lorong Rusuk / Murai Farmway): Allows Service 405 to make a U-turn along Lim Chu Kang Road
- Tuas Road (before Pioneer Road junction): Allows Service 192 and 193 to make a U-turn underneath Tuas Viaduct
As implied, Bus-only roads are only meant for use by buses and other authorized vehicles. These differ from the abovementioned Bus Lanes by being dedicated roads where only buses are allowed, often separated from other forms of traffic.
Bus-only road examples:
- Access roads leading to certain bus stops
- AYE bus stops: Bus stops are usually built along short stretches of frontage road parallel to the expressway. The section of road serving said bus stop is designated as a bus-only road.
- TPE (Punggol Rd) Bus stop (eastbound)
- Braddell Road (eastbound near Lor 6 Toa Payoh flyover)
- Connaught Drive: Between Stamford Rd and Fullerton Rd
- Parliament Place: Section between Supreme Court Lane and Connaught Dr
- Woodlands Square (anticlockwise) from Woodlands Ave 7 to Woodlands Ave 3
Bus Priority Box
Also known as the Mandatory Give Way to Buses scheme, the Bus Priority Box gives buses priority to exit bus bays, allowing buses to depart a bus stop more quickly without having to wait for a gap in traffic.
The Bus Priority Box is indicated by a solid yellow box with an arrow indicating bus movement. Give Way road markings are printed some distance before the Priority Box, advising motorists watch out for buses exiting the bus stop ahead. If a bus is exiting the bay, motorists must come to a stop before the Give Way line to allow buses to merge into their lane. Motorists may continue their journey once the bus has successfully exited the bus bay and no other buses are pulling out from the bus bay. Motorists are also not allowed to stop within the Bus Priority Box.
The scheme was first introduced in December 2008 as a trial and progressively implemented at over 300 bus stops by end-2014.
Two bus stops along Orchard Road have a Bus Priority Box without a bus bay. First introduced in March 2016, these Priority Boxes allow buses to exit the bus lane more easily, which is necessary given the staggered bus stop arrangement along Orchard Road.
- 09037 Orchard Rd (Opp Mandarin Orchard)
- 09038 Orchard Rd (Opp Somerset Stn)
In addition, the expressway bus stop along Tampines Expressway (TPE) is a special application of Bus Priority Box for buses, allowing buses to merge into traffic from a side road. This opened in 2014.
- 65191 TPE (Bef Punggol Rd)
Bus signal priority scheme
Also known as the ‘B Sign for Buses‘. Signal priority is given for buses at traffic light junctions by providing them with a head start, which helps to facilitate buses to turn right at downstream junction. This is especially useful for wide roads with high traffic flow.
Traffic junctions with this scheme have an additional traffic light indicator (B sign) which illuminates in green, allowing buses on the leftmost lane only to proceed before the traffic junction turns green for all traffic. The indicator flashes green to indicate the end of the bus signal priority window.
List of bus stops with priority signal lights: (not exhaustive)
- 03011 – Cecil St (Prudential Twr)
- 03223 – Anson Rd (Tanjong Pagar Stn Exit C)
- 04121 – Stamford Rd (SMU)
- 08057 – Orchard Rd (Dhoby Ghaut Stn)
- 40019 – Bt Timah Rd (Little India Stn)
- 54247 – Ang Mo Kio Ave 3 (Blk 322)
- 76191 – Tampines Ave 7 (Blk 401)
- 76199 – Tampines Ave 7 (Blk 503)
- 82061 – Sims Ave (Eunos Stn/Int)
Traffic light for bus filtering
A traffic light is used to stop all incoming traffic, allowing buses to filter out of a bus stop (and across multiple lanes of traffic). Used in areas where the volume of traffic makes it difficult for buses to filter out of bus stops.
Bus stops with this feature are fitted with an inductive loop which detects the presence of a bus. If the bus is unsuccessful in filtering out of the bus stop after a period of time, the red light is triggered for the main road, allowing the bus to filter out with ease.
An additional traffic light indicator (B sign) illuminates in green, indicating when buses are allowed to safely depart the bus bay. The indicator flashes green to indicate the end of the bus signal priority window.
Bus stops with this scheme:
- 43452 – Bt Batok Rd (Aft Bt Batok West Ave 3)
Allows Service 174 to filter right before turning into Jurong Road
- 28309 – Jurong Town Hall Rd (Intl Business Pk)
Allows Service 49 and 178 to filter right before turning into AYE
Traffic light signal priority
One such Smart Bus Priority System was trialled between November 2018 and April 2019 on Tower Transit Bus Service 98 and SBS Transit Bus Service 99, which ply Jurong East Avenue 1 and Jurong West Avenue 1 between Jurong Town Hall Road and Jurong West Street 42/52.
Past trials have also known to be conducted, one example being for Bus Service 700 in 1998.
Other bus priority measures
Some bus routes have to make three-point turns along their route, and these u-turn areas are not to be obstructed by other road vehicles:
- Ghim Moh Terminal (Service 100, 111)
- Fidelio Street (Service 42) – Advisory signs for bus reversing only
- Jalan Loyang Besar (Service 354)
- Kranji Reservoir Car Park B (Service 925)
Bus turning only:
Allows buses to make a left turn on a straight-only traffic lane.
This is implemented at Mountbatten Road (junction with Fort Road) such that buses emerging from the previous bus stop (91099 – Bef Wilkinson Rd) do not have to filter across multiple lanes of traffic.
Transit Priority Corridors (TPCs)
In line with the Land Transport Master Plan 2040, the LTA intends to implement Transit Priority Corridors (TPC) to prioritise public transport in key areas starting in 2020. This will be an enhanced form of bus priority measures compared to the typical bus lanes today. The first TPC was opened in 2017 along Bencoolen Street.
Areas earmarked for TPC implementation are:
- Jurong Canal Drive Extension to Boon Lay Way
- Jurong Lake District^
- North-East Region^
- North-South Corridor
- Punggol North
- Robinson Road
- Woodlands North Coast
^ are tentative as per LTMP 2040