If you're driving I-40 in the next few months and see a bus rolling along the shoulder, it's probably not in trouble.
It's in an experiment.
NCDOT, Triangle Transit and several other members of an "I-40 Partnership" are going to try out a "bus on shoulder system" on a section of I-40 in southern Durham County. The system allows public-transit buses to use the shoulder as a regular lane of travel.
"It's a great tool we can use to promote more bus transit ridership," said City Councilman Mike Woodard.
City Transportation Director said the experiment is based on established bus-on-shoulder systems in other cities. It came out of the I-40 Partnership's effort to decrease congestion on the region's most heavily traveled thoroughfare.
"It basically serves as the Triangle's Main Street," he said.
Bus-on-shoulder is going into effect within the next six months, said Meredith McDiarmid, the I-40 "Corridor Executive" with NCDOT. Its first sections will be westbound from N.C. 147 to U.S. 15-501 and eastbound from 15-501 to Page Road.
Buses will be required to give way to vehicles stopped on the shoulder and emergency vehicles, she said.