Posted inLocal Government

‘Paint our town red’: Fort Worth debuts bus lane designed to improve transit

Amid the train bells and the revving buses, officials and staff gathered at Fort Worth Central Station to unveil the city’s first red bus lane, part of a pilot project designed to enhance the safety and efficiency of buses. 

The new red bus lane, a half-mile-long stretch of road along Jones Street, from 8th to 19th streets, is expected to decrease congestion and lane confusion while improving bus service efficiency, according to a city news release. 

As more people move to Fort Worth, this pilot program is an innovative way to keep pedestrians safe and buses running on time, said council member Elizabeth Beck, who represents the downtown area. The red lanes signal to drivers that they are driving in a bus transit lane and hampering service. By not allowing cars in that lane, it decreases congestion and allows buses to run on schedule. 

“This red bus lane is a step toward that future,” Beck said. “It is my honor to be part of the project that got to literally paint our town red.”

Fort Worth is the first city in North Texas to debut red bus lanes and the third in the state, after Austin and Houston. 

Other major cities that have red bus lanes include Washington, D.C., Indianapolis, Chicago and New York City.

While dedicated bus lanes are not new, using red paint to designate them was officially approved by the Federal Highway Administration in 2019. 

Kelly Porter, assistant director of transportation and public works, said these new red bus lanes are a form of lane management, unlike Bus Rapid Transit lanes. The painted designation will only be in existing bus lanes and will not reduce any city street lanes. 

“It can be a component to future rapid transit and, essentially, it does give buses more reliable trips,” he said, a reference to buses arriving at their stops on time.

Depending on how well this pilot program works, the city will explore expanding it.

“It could be something that we include in the next bond if it’s working,” Porter said. “This is pretty low cost compared to other things.”

Red paint designates lanes for buses only, preventing cars from blocking that lane and creating congestion. (Sandra Sadek | Fort Worth Report)

As for enforcing the red lanes as bus-only, neither the city nor Trinity Metro has determined how it will be done. Other cities have installed cameras on their bus windshields to report cars driving or parked in red bus lanes. 

The new red lanes are also part of a wider effort by the city to improve transit around Central Station as Butler Place is being redeveloped and the Texas A&M Law School is being constructed, Porter said. 

“People don’t know this is the busiest Amtrak station in the state of Texas and probably the busiest station, or at least one of them, in Trinity Metro’s system. So it is a major regional transit hub,” Porter said. 

Sandra Sadek is a Report for America corps member, covering growth for the Fort Worth Report. You can contact her at or on Twitter @ssadek19

At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here

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