A new road marking system encouraging drivers to use a bus lane in non-operational hours, has led to an improvement in road efficiency on Mandeville Road, Northolt.
Installed by Ealing Council it is thought to be the first of its kind in the United Kingdom. The road was embedded last year with ‘hockey puck’ type units containing orange light emitting diodes (LEDs) in a chevron formation.
These chevrons light-up outside of the bus lane enforcement hours of 7-10am and 4-7pm on weekdays to indicate to motorists that they are able to use the bus lane in an effort to improve traffic flow. Road signs along the route also inform drivers to use the bus lane when lit.
Mandeville Road is one of the busiest roads in Ealing, excluding the A40 and North Circular Road, and it is about 60% busier than Uxbridge Road.
Since the installation of the lighting system there has been a 45% increase in the use of the bus lane during non-operational hours in comparison to bus lane use in 2012. There has also been a 15% decrease in the volume of traffic in the lane next to the bus lane. In addition, there has been a 25% decrease in the number of PCNs issued. These results indicate that drivers have become more confident and informed in making better use of both lanes appropriately.
Councillor Bassam Mahfouz, cabinet member for transport and environment, said: “Congestion is a top issue for residents particularly in Northolt. This innovative trial is yet another way that we are helping to reduce road congestion and air pollution in the borough. Many drivers are wary of using bus lanes outside of operational hours but we want to encourage best use of the entire road by making it as easy as possible for drivers to know when they can use the space.”
The scheme is intended to enhance the existing system of variable sign plates which switch from the bus lane enforcement sign to a ‘Use both lanes’ sign outside of bus lane enforcement hours.
Motorists are reminded to always check traffic signs to find out what vehicles are allowed to use a bus lane as they approach it, and to check the times that it is operational.