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This simple 17-second video makes an incredibly compelling case for bus-only lanes

Three buses in less than half a minute.

This simple 17-second video makes an incredibly compelling case for bus-only lanes
[Photo: Olenka Kotyk/Unsplash]

In Los Angeles, where drivers spent an average of 128 hours sitting in traffic in 2018, most commuters still choose to drive to work alone. A new aerial view of a street in downtown L.A. helps make the case for picking public transit instead, as it shows buses flying down a dedicated bus lane.

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In 17 seconds of traffic, a GIF from the LA Metro, the country’s transportation system, shows cars crawling down the street moving (at most) five people, while three buses—carrying 210 people—fly by. The agency says that around 70 buses now use the bus lane every hour during the evening rush hour.

The agency added the bus lane in early June as a temporary replacement for a light rail line that is under construction, though many people now want the change to be permanent. Here’s another view of a bus blowing past cars on the opening day.

Of course, to convince more people to ride the bus—at a time when public transit ridership is shrinking—L.A. would need a bigger network of dedicated bus lanes everywhere. But it can be a relatively easy change to make if the city just adds paint (and enforcement to keep drivers out of the lane). It’s arguably something that should also expand in other cities; L.A. may be known for traffic, but congestion during commuting hours is now worse in Boston, Washington, D.C., New York City, and Chicago, and globally, Los Angeles traffic ranks 47th worst in the world.


Correction: This article has been updated to note that LA Metro is a county agency, and separate from Los Angeles city agencies.

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About the author

Adele Peters is a staff writer at Fast Company who focuses on solutions to some of the world's largest problems, from climate change to homelessness. Previously, she worked with GOOD, BioLite, and the Sustainable Products and Solutions program at UC Berkeley, and contributed to the second edition of the bestselling book "Worldchanging: A User's Guide for the 21st Century."

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