The Clear Lanes Project is a joint initiative between Metro and the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) that aims to improve bus travel times and enhance bus stop safety by using camera technology to identify illegally parked and stopped vehicles in dedicated bus lanes.
DDOT has installed dedicated bus lanes to speed up bus service and enhance reliability in Washington, D.C. With dedicated lanes, buses no longer need to change travel lanes or wait behind other traffic. These lanes allow bus operators to pull up directly next to the curb, allowing for safe boarding. These lanes and the bus stop design make our streets safer and boarding efficient and safe.
Bus lanes and stops are often blocked by stopped or parked vehicles. When vehicles block bus lanes, this slows down everyone because buses must merge into traffic to navigate around the vehicles blocking the bus lane.
In addition, when vehicles block bus stops, operators often have to resort to unsafe practices such as stopping in the middle of the travel lane or pulling up past the bus stop to let passengers on and off the bus. This slows buses down and is a safety concern for customers, especially for those with accessibility needs.
Metro mounted automated cameras on buses serving select routes in DC. These cameras automatically take photos of violating vehicles and send the information directly to DDOT for enforcement. DDOT began enforcement at bus stop zones on Nov. 15, 2023 and will begin bus lane enforcement in 2024.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Clear Lanes program?
Clear Lanes is a joint program between Metro and the District Department of Transportation. Clear Lanes keeps dedicated bus lanes and bus stop zones clear of traffic, so buses are more efficient and bus stops are safer.
How will Clear Lanes work?
The program puts two cameras and a computer on a Metrobus. The cameras will automatically photograph vehicles that are either driving or stopped/parked in dedicated bus lanes or at bus stops. The photographs of the bus lane or bus stop violation are sent to DDOT to issue citations through the mail.
How will Clear Lanes benefit the region?
Everyone benefits from faster and more reliable buses! Many people in the region depend on buses to get to and from work, shopping, and more. When Metrobus is on schedule, customers can better plan their day and ensure they reach their destinations on time.
Why are Metro and DDOT starting the Clear Lanes program?
Reducing the number of vehicles blocking dedicated bus lanes and bus stop zones will keep DC and the region moving by reducing travel times and making schedules more reliable. Additionally, removing cars from bus stop zones will make boarding buses safer and easier for customers.
Is this program also in Maryland or Virginia?
No, Clear Lanes does not operate on bus routes or stops in Maryland or Virginia.
If I drive in DC, can I go through a bus lane to turn right?
Motorists can make legal right-hand turns through the red-painted bus lanes. However, drivers can only begin turns where signs indicate they are allowed.
What equipment will Metro install on the bus?
The equipment installed on each Metrobus includes two compact cameras, a small computer, and a compact antenna. This equipment is installed to ensure operators have a clear view of the road and does not interfere with their operation of the bus.
How is information captured?
The cameras mounted to the bus windshield captures video and photos of the violation as well as the license plate camera.
When will DDOT begin delivering citations?
A 45-day warning period will begin in late July 2023. Vehicles identified in red-painted bus lanes and at enforced bus stops will receive a warning in the mail from DDOT. Vehicle ticketing will begin in fall 2023. To learn more, visit https://ddot.dc.gov/clearlanesprogram.
How is violation information shared with DDOT?
All violation information goes directly to DDOT for processing through a secure cellular connection from the bus. Metro does not receive the information.
How can I tell which lanes are bus lanes?
All bus lanes in DC are painted red and feature signs that show the times of the day and days of the week when the lane is operating as a bus-only lane.
What is the citation amount for blocking a dedicated bus lane or stop?
Phase 1 enforcement begins, in which drivers illegally parking, standing, or stopping in a bus zone (area around a bus stop) may receive a $100 fine. DDOT will announce a future date for dedicated bus lane enforcement as part of Phase 2 enforcement.
For more information about ticketing and enforcement, visit DDOT's website.