BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                    AB 1746


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          Date of Hearing:  March 14, 2016


                        ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORTATION


                                 Jim Frazier, Chair


          AB 1746  
          (Mark Stone) - As Amended March 9, 2016


          SUBJECT:  Transit buses


          SUMMARY:  Extends the authority to operate transit buses on  
          highway shoulders to additional transit operators.   
          Specifically, this bill: 


          1)Authorizes Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District, the Central  
            Contra Costa Transit Authority, the North County Transit  
            District, the San Diego Association of Governments, the San  
            Diego Metropolitan Transit System, and the Santa Clara Valley  
            Transportation Authority to conduct a transit bus-only program  
            using the shoulders of certain highways.


          2)Requires the transit entities to issue a report after two  
            years of bus on shoulder service to the Legislature and  
            publish on their agency website for the public.  The report  
            shall include geographic scope of the program, guidelines and  
            requirements adopted, any highway modifications made, the  
            costs associated with the program, and performance measures  
            used to evaluate success of the project, such as safety,  
            freeway operations and transit travel time reliability and  
            savings.









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          EXISTING LAW:  





          1)Creates the Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District, Central  
            Contra Costa Transit Authority, the North County Transit  
            District, San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), San  
            Diego Metropolitan Transit System, and Santa Clara Valley  
            Transportation Authority with various powers and duties  
            relative to the planning and operation of public transit  
            systems in those counties.  



          2)Authorizes the Monterey-Salinas Transit District and the Santa  
            Cruz Metropolitan Transit District, with the approval of the  
            California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and the  
            California Highway Patrol (CHP), to designate highway  
            shoulders that may be used as bus-only traffic corridors  
            during peak congestion hours.



          3)Requires that the participating transit districts actively  
            work with Caltrans and CHP to develop guidelines that ensure  
            driver and vehicle safety and infrastructure integrity for the  
            bus on shoulder program.  



          4)Requires that the guidelines for the bus on shoulder program  
            be developed with transparency which includes the opportunity  
            for public comment.  











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          5)Requires Caltrans and participating transit districts to  
            monitor the state of repair of the highway shoulders including  
            needed repairs that may be attributable to the bus on shoulder  
            program.  



          6)Requires participating transit districts to be responsible for  
            all costs attributable to the bus on shoulder program,  
            including repairs attributable to the operation of transit  
            buses on the shoulders.  



          7)Specifies that the bus on shoulder program may commence as  
            soon as guidelines are agreed to by the participating transit  
            districts, Caltrans, and CHP.  



          8)Defines a "highway" for the purposes of this bill as including  
            a "freeway."  



          9)Authorizes the operation of a transit bus on the shoulder of a  
            state highway in conjunction with the implementation of the  
            bus on shoulder program within the areas served by  
            Monterey-Salinas Transit District and Santa Cruz Metropolitan  
            Transit District.  
          


          FISCAL EFFECT:  Unknown
          COMMENTS:  This bill would expand the number of transit entities  
          authorized to operate a bus on shoulder program in California.   
          Previous legislation, AB 946 (Stone), Chapter 426, Statutes of  
          2013, authorized a bus on shoulder program specifically for  
          Monterey-Salinas Transit District and Santa Cruz Metropolitan  








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          Transit District.  To date, these agencies have not initiated a  
          bus on shoulder program due to a lack of resources for planning  
          and evaluating potential projects.  According to  
          Monterey-Salinas Transit District, they anticipate initiating a  
          feasibility study this summer.  Expanding the amount of transit  
          agencies that, with the approval of Caltrans and CHP, can  
          utilize a bus on shoulder option will help demonstrate the  
          concept in different metropolitan regions of California.  In  
          fact, the Central Contra Costa Transit Authority, in writing in  
          support of the bill, noted that the Contra Costa Transportation  
          Authority completed an I-680 Transit Investment and Congestion  
          Relief Study and one of the recommendations of the study is a  
          bus on shoulder transit service along the corridor to link the  
          Martinez Amtrak station with BART, Bishop Ranch and ACE Train  
          service in Pleasanton.  





          As noted by the author, as traffic congestion continues to be a  
          critical issue for the state's transit systems and funding is  
          limited, agencies are looking for low-cost, safe, and innovative  
          ways to improve ridership and provide good, reliable service for  
          their customers.  Expanding the program to an additional three  
          major metropolitan areas could help demonstrate the concept and  
          identify any problems or concerns.  





          Overall, a number of bus on shoulder programs have been  
          implemented throughout the country and these programs have been  
          successful in shortening commute times and increasing transit  
          ridership without increasing the number of collisions.  In fact,  
          in 2006, the Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP)  
          conducted a comprehensive study which examined jurisdictions  
          that allow buses to use highway shoulders.  The study concluded  








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          that bus on shoulder programs have been proven successful but  
          that success has largely resulted from tailoring the programs to  
          the corridors where they will be used.  The study specifically  
          pointed out that transit, highway, and safety agencies must  
          partner together to produce safe and effective programs.   
          Additionally, in 2012, TCRP developed a guide for implementing  
          bus on shoulder programs, which included operating, design and  
          traffic guidelines.  





          In California, SANDAG conducted successful bus on shoulder  
          demonstration program in partnership with the San Diego  
          Metropolitan Transit System, Caltrans, and CHP in 2005.   
          According to SANDAG, the bus on shoulder program achieved  
          positive results for the region, especially for bus travel time  
          and reliability that remains a top concern for transit riders.   
          In fact, an October 2007 Technical Report issued jointly by  
          Caltrans and SANDAG noted that a time savings of one mile per  
          minute was realized over four mile section of highway, which  
          would equate to an annually operational savings of $13,000 for  
          the transit operator.  Overall, the Caltrans - SANDAG report  
          noted that the demonstration project was successful, yielding  
          positive results with strong benefits for transit operations,  
          receiving positive perceptions of transit drivers and transit  
          passengers, while maintaining safety on the highway.  





          Caltrans and CHP worked with SANDAG on the bus on shoulder  
          demonstration program in San Diego.  This bill retains the  
          provisions from AB 946 (Stone), to require Caltrans and CHP to  
          review and approve any new bus on shoulder program and develop  
          guidelines for the specific areas to ensure that safety,  
          operation, and integrity of highway facilities are maintained,  








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          including the continued priority use of highway shoulders for  
          emergencies and traffic law enforcement.   





          This bill also requires a report be developed by the local  
          transit entity, in conjunction with Caltrans and CHP, after two  
          years of operating a bus on shoulder program in their  
          jurisdiction.  The reports will be submitted to the Legislature  
          and posted on the transit entity's website to help keep the  
          Legislature, other transit entities, and the traveling public  
          informed of the outcomes of this new program.   





          Previous legislation: AB 946 (Stone), Chapter 426, Statutes of  
          2013, authorized Monterey-Salinas Transit District and Santa  
          Cruz Metropolitan Transit District to operate a bus on the  
          shoulder program with approval from Caltrans and CHP. 





          REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION:




          Support


          Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (Sponsor)










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          Alameda-Contra Contra Transit District 


          California Transit Association


          Central Contra Costa Transit Authority


          Monterey-Salinas Transit


          North County Transit District




          Opposition


          None on file




          Analysis Prepared by:Melissa White / TRANS. / (916) 319-2093