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As part of the government’s effort to optimize public transport system, additional bus lanes have been implemented recently in Shartava and Kostava Streets, Baratishvili Rise and Robakidze Avenue in Tbilisi City, Georgia.
These bus priority measures are intended to provide major savings in terms of journey time and operating costs, while improving service reliability. Passengers are expected to benefit from increased frequency of buses on the routes affected as a result of better use of the existing fleet.
The bus lanes were designed by the staff of Transport Department (TD), following a series of CDIA-supported capacity development activities on transport planning, modelling and design tools. The activities also included practical application by doing real bus lane designs.
“By teaching TD staff how to do it, and also by using real bus lane designs as teaching examples, we not only get to do the design for the street but allow them to learn, so that when the next project comes along, they can do it without our inputs. We are building their capacity so that they can do more bus lanes themselves,” said Transport Expert Tim Gould.
Mr. Gould is one of the five transport experts from Mott MacDonald Limited commissioned by CDIA in 2018 to provide advisory support on various mobility issues and build the capacity of local staff in transport planning.
When CDIA came to Tbilisi in 2016, a car-centric culture made worse by poor public transport, plentiful and cheap parking, and unregulated taxi, set against the backdrop of a hilly city provides a clear picture of the extent of work needed to address its mobility issues.
CDIA then worked with the City Hall and the Asian Development Bank to develop a pre-feasibility study to improve the city’s bus system, and introduce a new surface transit scheme. Thereafter, CDIA did another study, which focused on upgrading the Tbilisi Metro to meet present-day technical, operational safety and accessibility standards.
As TD found the recommendations from the bus study complicated to implement, CDIA extended its support by posting transport experts from Mott MacDonald Limited: Mark Sellin as Team Lead who likewise provided strategic guidance on policy development; Tim Gould, expert on bus lanes, parking, and cycling etc.; David Parkin, expert on traffic management, signals, LINSIG and data collection; William Koraska, expert on CAD; and Richard Skitt, expert on VISSIM/Vistro transport modelling and data collection.
“The bus lanes recently implemented in Tbilisi reflect the sustainability of our capacity development approach,” said Neil Chadder, CDIA Program Manager. “We are happy to see the fruits of working closely with the city not only in project preparation but also in capacity development. We are now confident that Tbilisi can take it forward beyond our short period of engagement,” he added.