An evaluation of a lane support system for bus rapid transit on narrow shoulders and the relation to bus driver mental workload

Nicholas J. Ward, Craig Shankwitz, Alec Gorgestani, Max Donath, Dick de Waard, Erwin R. Boer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The use of dedicated bus shoulders is a key method for implementing bus rapid transit (BRT) in areas that do not have the space for additional infrastructure. However, the narrow width of the bus shoulder and the need to anticipate traffic hazards in the adjacent lane can both be significant stressors for bus drivers. Bus driver mental workload and stress in response to these conditions should be a significant concern both for operational safety and driver health. This pilot study evaluated the potential stressors of traffic density and shoulder width in the context of an express BRT service in a large US metropolitan area. In addition, the study considered the potential role of a prototype lane support system (LSS) to support vehicle control within the narrow shoulder boundaries. Ten experienced bus drivers drove an actual route with an instrumented bus equipped with and without LSS. Self-reported effort was recorded along with performance measures of speed and position control relevant to mobility and safety objectives. Bus drivers did note stressors in the BRT environment and the prototype LSS. However, the use of the shoulder during high-density traffic conditions did improve mobility. Moreover, the LSS did enhance safety on the shoulder when there was high-density traffic in the adjacent lane. However, there was no evidence that the LSS reduced bus driver workload while operating in the narrow shoulder. Future research should consider the impact of BRT operations and support systems on bus driver mental workload and stress, and support the deployment of such devices for bus operations on shoulders during high traffic volumes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)832-859
Number of pages28
Issue number9
StatePublished - Jul 15 2006


  • Bus rapid transit
  • Driver workload
  • Driving stressors
  • Lane support


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