The Consell de Mallorca registers the request for the withdrawal of the specialized bus-VAO lane of the airport freeway before the DGT

Aug 5, 2023 | Current affairs, Featured, Revista Lloseta, Thursday Daily Bulletin, Tradition

Department of Territory, Mobility and Infrastructures
Attaches the technical report of the officials that reveals that the implementation of the lane has increased the accident rate by 57%, 20% queues in both free lanes or that half of the EMT divers can not make use because of the difficulty of incorporating different directions

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Bus-VAO lane

The Department of Territory, Mobility and Infrastructures of the Consell de Mallorca has registered the request for the withdrawal of the specialized bus-VAO lane of the airport freeway with the Directorate General of Traffic (DGT), the body that has competence in traffic. The request is supported by a technical report signed by road officials who expressly point out an increase in accidents, traffic queues and that half of the buses of the Municipal Transport Company (EMT) do not use them because of the difficulties they have when joining the different directions, especially in the beltway.

The road officials of the Consell de Mallorca also point out that the studies available to them reveal that between January 1 and July 13, 2023, there was an increase in the number of accidents in the Palma direction, while in the airport direction, where there is no bus-VAO lane, there was a decrease in the accident rate. Specifically, in the bus-VAO section, from January to July, it went from 16 accidents in 2022 to 28 in 2023 (+57.1%). On the other hand, in the direction of the airport, without the bus-VAO, the accident rate decreased from 23 to 19 accidents (-8.3%).

The report also notes a 20% increase in queues in the other two lanes, which causes traffic jams on other roads, as is the case of the second beltway, Manacor Road, Sineu Road, Coll d’en Rabassa and Molinar. Some 1,600 vehicles per day, according to traffic studies, are diverted in search of alternatives to avoid traffic jams on the highway and the collapse of other roads.

Another aspect highlighted in the technical report is that “the bus-VAO lane has been losing occupancy since it was put into operation in November 2022”. However, according to the road technicians, at the beginning, it had an occupancy rate of 24% between the months of November to December 2022. However, from January of this year, the percentages began to decrease between 15% and 19%. The trend is downward and is currently between 4% and 10% occupancy depending on the hours. “Therefore, the Ma-19 has an underutilized lane, while the central lanes increase their occupancy to the detriment of fluidity”, sentences the technical report.

The technical report maintains that the lane installed on the airport highway violates highway standard 3.1. Section 8.9 explains that since it is a specialized lane created over an existing one, with only paint markings, it is not allowed on highways. “Specialized lanes, as is the case with the airport freeway bus-VAO, shall not be used on freeways, dual carriageways, conventional roads and collector roads. They are designed for urban and peri-urban buses with short routes and numerous stops. In addition, they will, where possible, form part of service road platforms. None of these criteria described in standard 3.1 of roads of the Ministry are fulfilled by the bus-VAO lane of the Ma-19 freeway”, states the technical report addressed to the DGT and attached to this press release.

The Consell de Mallorca regrets that the technicians of the Departament de Territori, Mobilitat i Infraestructures who have been working for many years on the design of roads in Mallorca in all island governments and who did not participate in the drafting of the Bus-VAO lane project, since it was commissioned to an external company during the last legislature, are being questioned. Specifically, the project was promoted by the Direcció Insular de Mobilitat, which was then separated from the Direcció Insular d’Infraestructures. Therefore, it did not pass through the hands of the road technicians.

In the following links you will find all the reports referred to in this news:

0 – Oficio
0 – Cover page and official document
1 – Considerations of implantation of the Bus-VAO in the highway Ma-19
2 – A1 Norm 3.1 IC
3 – A2 EMT lines
4 – A3 TIB lines
5 – A4 Use of the Bus-VAO lane
6 – A5 Accident rate