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PostPosted: Fri Oct 01, 2010 16:22 
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Government to scrap M4 bus lane

The most hated stretch of road in the UK?

The controversial M4 bus lane is to be scrapped at the end of the year.

All motorists will again be able to use the 3.5-mile (5.6km) lane, which operates on the London-bound carriageway from near Heathrow Airport.

Transport Secretary Philip Hammond confirmed the move, saying the bus lane was "not effective".

It will be suspended from 24 December for 18 months when the lane come back into use for the Olympics, after which it will be scrapped for good.

The motorway's third lane between junctions three and two - which carries about 7% of London-bound traffic - is reserved for buses, licensed black taxis and motorcycles.

'Piece of folly'

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, Mr Hammond argued that the bus lane was symbolic of Labour's ''war on the motorist''.

He said: "Well it was a piece of folly wasn't it?

"Introduced 10 years ago, predicted not to be effective and in fact that's been the experience of most people.

"They sit sweltering in traffic queues watching an empty lane by the side of them with just the occasional vehicle going down it."

The bus lane was introduced by then Transport Secretary John Prescott in 1999.

It became known by some as the "Blair lane" after the former prime minister used it to avoid heavy traffic.

Mr Prescott responded to Mr Hammond's comments in his blog, saying: "Studies by the independent Transport Research Laboratory proved the M4 bus lane succeeded in reducing traffic jams.

"This is actually just another smokescreen for the beginning of the deepest and most savage public sector cuts Britain has ever seen."

RAC Foundation director Professor Stephen Glaister said: "Most drivers on the M4 will wonder why this decision has taken so long.

"Road capacity is in short supply and to have an underused lane like this has made little sense."

'Great inconvenience'

But the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association (LTDA) said it was disappointed with the move.

Bob Oddy, general secretary of the LTDA, said: "Thousands of cab journeys are made from Heathrow every day and the vast majority of those come into London.

"This means we won't be able to use that lane and it will be a great inconvenience to us and to our customers who, if they get caught in traffic, will end up paying more money."

The decision to restore the lane for the Olympics is to honour an agreement made regarding the Olympic Route Network (ORN).

Roads on the ORN can only be used by athletes, Olympic officials and journalists and the system is designed to ensure speedy journeys between venues.

Full details of the scrapping of the lane are due to be revealed at the Conservative Party conference on Monday.


Sorry about the spacing....

Johnny's 2p: I worked at Heathrow when this was introduced. Always struck me about being more for taxi passengers from the airport to, oh I dunno, Westminster, than anything else.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 02, 2010 13:32 
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But the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association (LTDA) said it was disappointed with the move.

Bob Oddy, general secretary of the LTDA, said: "Thousands of cab journeys are made from Heathrow every day and the vast majority of those come into London.

"This means we won't be able to use that lane and it will be a great inconvenience to us and to our customers who, if they get caught in traffic, will end up paying more money."



Had a :rotfl: at that.

What they mean is the turnaround time to fleecing another tourist will be increased.

And why won't they be able to use the lane? Not using HGVs as airport taxis these days are they?


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 02, 2010 15:00 
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Homer wrote:
And why won't they be able to use the lane?


Because it will be filled with cars again?

Utterly pointless scrapping this lane, further down the road it goes into two lanes anyway.

And this TRL report has a positively glowing review of it:

• Average journey times during peak periods have decreased by 3 minutes for buses and
1 minute for cars.
• Journey times in off-peak periods have increased because of the speed restrictions.
• Journey times are more reliable.
• There is an overall benefit of 200 person-hours per weekday.
• There is a disbenefit of 350 person-hours per weekend day because of the speed
restrictions.
• The new road layout has eased the bottleneck where three lanes of traffic merged to
two. Instead of queuing, traffic is now stop-start.
• The surrounding network has not been adversely affected.
• On average, 3700 vehicles a day use the bus lane. Of these, 3100 are taxis, 500 are
buses or coaches and 100 are minibuses.
• On average, 7% of vehicles in the bus lane contain 21% of the people.
• The general public perceives that too few vehicles are using the bus lane.

http://www.standardsforhighways.co.uk/p ... l2005a.pdf


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 02, 2010 15:39 
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weepej wrote:
Utterly pointless scrapping this lane, further down the road it goes into two lanes anyway.


...which is just one of the reasons why it was utterly pointless to implement it in the first place. At best it simply moves the congestion upstream, and at worst it extends it upstream. It benefits precisely nobody.
An average lane occupancy of 10% cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, be considered to be efficient use of roadspace.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 02, 2010 17:09 
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Pete317 wrote:
At best it simply moves the congestion upstream, and at worst it extends it upstream. It benefits precisely nobody.


Er, did you read the post above?


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 02, 2010 18:41 
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weepej wrote:
Pete317 wrote:
At best it simply moves the congestion upstream, and at worst it extends it upstream. It benefits precisely nobody.


Er, did you read the post above?


Funny that? I read an "UNPUBLISHED PROJECT REPORT" on "HOV LANE SCHEMES" mainly in the USA, and not a study on pathetic, anti-car bus lanes on the M4!! It only relates to "The first year of the scheme was monitored by Rees et al. (2000) using before and after data from the M4 and adjoining network." which is now over a decade old.

When you see exactly the same name behind lots of "reports" on HOV lanes you do have to wonder about the impartiality!

mb


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 02, 2010 18:53 
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boomer wrote:
When you see exactly the same name behind lots of "reports" on HOV lanes you do have to wonder about the impartiality!



So please then, some evidence that the lane on the M4 has made things worse?


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 02, 2010 19:10 
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weepej wrote:
So please then, some evidence that the lane on the M4 has made things worse?


"There is a disbenefit of 350 person-hours per weekend day because of the speed restrictions."!!

mb


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 02, 2010 19:23 
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boomer wrote:
weepej wrote:
So please then, some evidence that the lane on the M4 has made things worse?


"There is a disbenefit of 350 person-hours per weekend day because of the speed restrictions."!!

mb


*Sigh*

So please then, some evidence that the lane on the M4 has made things worse in general?


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 02, 2010 19:39 
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weepej wrote:
Er, did you read the post above?


Yes

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 02, 2010 19:52 
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weepej wrote:
So please then, some evidence that the lane on the M4 has made things worse?


By what mechanism could it have made things better?

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 02, 2010 19:55 
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If it has made things no better, then it is pointless and should be scrapped.

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Any views expressed in this post are personal opinions and may not represent the views of Safe Speed


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 03, 2010 07:37 
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PeterE wrote:
If it has made things no better, then it is pointless and should be scrapped.



According to the stats is has made things better.

A "disbenefit" being the lower limit slows the traffic when it's free flowing, but you could argue that a lower limit would be in place regardless of whether the bus lane was there or not.

It's kind of interesting isn't it. Some people appear to be ideologically opposed to bus lanes therefore they must be against the M4 bus lane, but as it is it actually assists the flow of the traffic down there (and more importantly the mount of people being shifted down that stretch of road), but they must oppose it anyway.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 03, 2010 09:28 
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Pete317 wrote:
By what mechanism could it have made things better?



Some interesting stuff here.


http://www.transportpolicy.org.uk/Publi ... sLanes.htm

I've also seen a good description of how no operation cycles in computer processors can actually make processors go faster if the processor is handling complex instructions and this was linked to traffic flow but I can't find it.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 03, 2010 09:32 
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weepej wrote:
PeterE wrote:
If it has made things no better, then it is pointless and should be scrapped.



According to the stats is has made things better.

A "disbenefit" being the lower limit slows the traffic when it's free flowing, but you could argue that a lower limit would be in place regardless of whether the bus lane was there or not.

It's kind of interesting isn't it. Some people appear to be ideologically opposed to bus lanes therefore they must be against the M4 bus lane, but as it is it actually assists the flow of the traffic down there (and more importantly the mount of people being shifted down that stretch of road), but they must oppose it anyway.


I have only used it once or twice, but I think what upsets people is that one of the lanes is virtually unused and the vast majority of the traffic is crammed into 2 lanes while looking across at an empty lane. I expect that if the bus lane was nose to tail buses people wouldn't moan about it. Isn;t there a roundabout at the end which is only 2 lanes?


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 03, 2010 09:40 
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adam.L wrote:
I have only used it once or twice, but I think what upsets people is that one of the lanes is virtually unused and the vast majority of the traffic is crammed into 2 lanes while looking across at an empty lane.


Yes, this is all about perception.

If Mr Hammond instead explained how having an "empty" lane before two lanes physically merge at the elevated section helps traffic flow then maybe he could make a move to dispelling this perception, instead of enforcing it.

Naturally, those that get angry about the "empty" lane next to them only imagine themselves driving down it, and not it being choc full of cars.

And of course, the "empty" lane is in fact transporting a large number of people, even if buses/coaches pass by every five minutes.

As it is, getting rid of it looks like it's going to make things worse.

I've been reading the original plan was not to have a bus lane at all, just close it off to improve traffic flow, but then some bright spark had the idea that rather than be completely closed off it could be used to selectively carry vehicles, so it remained sort of empty, but was still useful road space.

adam.L wrote:
I expect that if the bus lane was nose to tail buses people wouldn't moan about it. Isn;t there a roundabout at the end which is only 2 lanes?


Of course then you'd lose the benefit of having the spare capacity at the end of the lane, even I would concede the lane would be useless if it was choc full of buses (save from a small benefit from having a larger number of people squashed into a smaller space).


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 03, 2010 09:56 
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can anything be done with the roundabout at the end of it?

Building a 3 lane road, then painting over one of the lanes and stopping most people using it and then opening it back up again is hardly a wise use of my tax contribution


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 03, 2010 15:04 
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adam.L wrote:
can anything be done with the roundabout at the end of it?

Building a 3 lane road, then painting over one of the lanes and stopping most people using it and then opening it back up again is hardly a wise use of my tax contribution


There is no roundabout.

At the end there's an elevated section which is two lanes, so at that point L2 merges into L3, and then L3 becomes L2.


http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?hl=en&q=w ... 2,,0,30.73

And let's be clear, removing the bus lane is going to make it worse for everybody travelling down that road.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 03, 2010 15:23 
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More stuff here (with the ominous ending "The M4 bus lane is here to stay - and with good reason too!"):

Quote:
This plan works as long as there are two lanes eastbound from junction 3. It would be perfectly possible to simply paint white stripes across the redundant lane for the three or four miles that it was no longer needed. But it was probably thought that this would be seen in a bad light by motorists.

Instead, the lane was kept open. The bottleneck would be prevented as long as there was a minimal amount of traffic using the 'closed' lane. Therefore it was restricted to buses - and why not.



http://www.cbrd.co.uk/indepth/m4buslane/

I wonder if they are going to just paint the lane out so buses can't use it, and if that would be acceptable for the "ug ug bus lane bad" guy in his car.

And why,as rumoured, is he going to bring it back on line during the Olympics?


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 03, 2010 17:01 
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weepej wrote:


True, some of it is very interesting.
In fact, whoever wrote that makes a lot of sense, in small places - but then spoils it all with somewhat larger doses of nonsense.

I'm not going to go through the whole lot point-for-point - that would take much too long for a Sunday afternoon - so I'll just make some general observations:

1) He starts off with a fair, if simplistic, analysis of traffic flow at junctions - but then attempts to extrapolate the argument to a motorway.
2) He assumes that the congestion is all, or mostly, down to the pinch-point.
3) He doesn't consider the dynamics of traffic flow on a motorway. (eg what causes 'phantom' traffic jams)
4) He doesn't really explain how merely moving the effective pinch-point back a few miles is supposed to enhance traffic flow - one might as well argue that one could eliminate the pinch-point altogether by reducing the entire length of the motorway to 2 lanes. But why stop there? Surely 1 lane would be even better :roll:
5) He does not explore any other possible solutions

Quote:
I've also seen a good description of how no operation cycles in computer processors can actually make processors go faster if the processor is handling complex instructions and this was linked to traffic flow but I can't find it.


Yes, that would be minimising the worst effects of pipeline stalls, etc. But trying to link this with traffic flow ignores the fact that vehicles have both size and inertia.

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