Cowtown Commuters See Red Downtown

Red Bus Lane ribbon cutting
The City of Fort Worth Transportation & Public Works Department, Councilwoman Elizabeth Beck and Trinity Metro introduced a pilot for Red Bus Lanes. | City of fort Worth/Facebook

City officials in Fort Worth are experimenting with red paint to improve the city’s public transportation system.

The Red Bus Lanes pilot program is being tested along several blocks of Jones Street near the city’s largest bus transfer center. The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) said adding red paint to designated bus lanes can increase costs to taxpayers but can also yield benefits.

“Red colored paint should be applied to emphasize the lane and to deter drivers from using it,” NACTO said on its website. “Red paint has higher installation and maintenance costs but has been shown to deter both unauthorized driving and parking in the bus lane.”

Using red paint to designate dedicated bus lanes was approved by the Federal Highway Administration in 2019. Pilot programs in New York, Chicago, and San Diego showed that adding the bright red paint to the bus lanes improved travel times on public transit routes, Chron reported.

Austin and Houston painted their downtown bus lanes red in 2021.

Fort Worth officials, including Council Member Elizabeth Beck (District 9) and representatives of Fort Worth’s Transportation & Public Works Department and the Trinity Metro, attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the newly painted bus lanes.

“The red lane designation will enhance bus service travel times, convenience, and safety for all in the downtown area,” said Beck, per WFAA.

Beck explained that the city will test the red lanes along a single corridor. She expressed her hope that the program would be expanded to other roadways, depending on its success.

“It is always my goal that Fort Worth be a leader, not just regionally, not just in the state, but nationally,” said Beck, according to Fox 4 KDFW. “And I think this is just another example of how the city of Fort Worth tries to get out in front of innovation.”

Kelly Porter, assistant director of the Transportation& Public Works Department, told the Fort Worth Report that the red lanes could be a “component to future rapid transit.”

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

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