The Case For The KGB

Naturally I mean Kerb Guided Buses! I intend to devote a few posts over the coming weeks to Kerb Guided Buses, focussed on Fastway, my local KGB network. To provide some structure to my thoughts, I am trying to find out what the benefits of KGB are intended to be. A useful source has been a debate in Focus, the magazine of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport which was prompted by an article by Ted Gibbins in July 2008. (If you are a member you can read the article in full.)

Ted’s article was really just a series of criticisms of guided buses. Coming from a railwayman it did not go down very well with some of the people involved in KGB development! It was the responses in the August issue of Focus that I found most useful in summarising the intended benefits of KGB.

Dr. Bob Tebb (chair of BRT UK) points out that KGB is not a mode, it is a technique – one of a vast range of techniques open to the bus industry. He suggests that, in the right circumstances KGB can offer:

  • A narrow path
  • Self enforcement
  • Perfect accessibility at stops

Where these factors are less apropriate other techniques may be  as, or more, appropriate.

Nick Richardson makes a similar horses for courses point, and adds that an advantage of KGB is its ability to run on normal roads to access areas which would otherwise remain detatched.

In a full page letter John Carr again points out that KGB is a tool – he calls it heavyweight bus priority, not a complete system.  He says that in certain circumstances KGB is a useful technique to help buses to avoid queueing traffic at near normal running speeds, or to give access by routes not normally granted to general traffic. He makes the point that KGB is “self enforcing”. So, from this debate I will test Crawley Fastway on the criteria of:

  • Is the path narrower than a traditional bus lane?
  • Can buses avoid traffic at near normal running speeds any better than a traditional bus lane?
  • Is the self enforcing segregation useful?
  • Are the stops any more accessible than stops for non guided buses?

Your suggestions for any other criteria would be very welcome.

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2 Responses to The Case For The KGB

  1. John Carr says:

    A quick comment on Fastway – the highway facilities I judge to be pretty good. Don’t look there for extra quality in stop accessibility or amenity – the route from Gatwick Rail Station and BAA Gatwick South which should be a showcase entry is appalling whilst the BAA Gatwick North bus station is also a rather Spartan mix of stopping points with excessive interaction between passengers and moving traffic – taxis, cars and servicing as well as buses. Level boarding using docking to the kerb is not a strong feature anywhere on the network as far as I can see.

  2. John Hawthorne says:

    Another point relating to accessibility is that sections of bus guideway are very pedestrian-unfriendly; much more so than, for example, tramlines. Segregation between buses and other traffic can be achieved using short sections of guideway as “bus gates”, but even this excludes many other types of vehicles which might be acceptable in restricted areas, such as taxis and delivery vehicles. And don’t even think about trying to cycle on a bus guideway!

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