To help improve bus travel speeds and reliability for the routes that use H and I Streets (which represent up to 20% of Metrobus riders in the District), the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) implemented a bus lane pilot on both streets, roughly between Pennsylvania Avenue and 13th Street NW. The pilot operated from June 3, 2019, to September 27, 2019.
The Bowser Administration announced that the bus lane pilot on H and I Streets NW will become permanent effective November 14, 2019. Bus speeds and reliability were improved during the pilot program, and DDOT is continuing to make adjustments that will enhance the experiences of bus riders along the route.
Preliminary data comparing June 2018 and June 2019 found improvements in bus speeds and reliability on I Street NW but not on H Street NW. DDOT will implement the following changes to remedy operational challenges identified during the pilot period:
- Extend bus lane hours to operate between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday, to reduce confusion about when lanes are in effect.
- Create loading zones on the opposite side of the street (south curb of I Street and north curb of H Street) to accommodate loading spaces that will be impacted by the bus lanes.
- Change signal sequencing and operations to accommodate the heavy volume of right turning vehicles in the corridor that can create bottlenecks for buses.
- Move bus layover spaces outside the bus lane corridor to accommodate critical bus operations needs at non-conflicting locations.
Up to 70 buses per hour use H and I Streets NW during peak periods. Approximately 40 percent of all bus riders in the District travel on some portion of the H and I Streets NW bus route. Yet, prior to the pilot, those riders experienced travel speeds as slow as 2.8 miles per hour in some sections.
The bus lanes are located on:
H Street NW (eastbound) right curb lane
- Start: Bus stop located midblock between Pennsylvania Avenue NW and 18th Street NW
- End: 14th Street NW
I Street NW (westbound) right curb lane
- Start: 13th Street NW
- End: Bus stop located midblock between 20th Street NW and Pennsylvania Avenue NW
In addition to buses, right-turning vehicles, bicycles, charter buses, school buses, and marked taxis are allowed to use the bus lanes.