Bus Only Traffic Lanes

Metro’s new bus rapid transit (BRT) system brings about a few new things for motorists to be aware of when out in Madison traffic including newly marked, dedicated bus lanes. 

Dedicated Lanes

There are now clearly marked lanes where only buses are allowed to travel along BRT roadways, or Metro's Rapid Route A line. Markings include bright red concrete, red and white lines, BUS ONLY street lettering, and posted signage. 

no right turn diagram

Some dedicated lanes are in the far right side of the street, like the example above, but some are in the far left and service stations that are in the median of the roadway. If the lane is bright red or has a solid red line, it is BUS ONLY and regular motorist are not allowed to use. 


There are some instances where vehicle drivers can use these lanes. Look for posted signage and/or street lettering, and please exercise caution when driving in these areas.

Left turns are allowed in some areas - look for dashed lines where motorists making a left turn can briefly enter the bus lane to complete the turn. An example is below. 

left turn lane diagram


Vehicle travel allowed during certain times of day - In some areas, motorists are allowed to travel in the BUS ONLY lane during certain times of the day. These lanes will not be painted red. Look for signage along the roadways. 

  • On E. Washington between Milwaukee St. and Wright St. - other vehicles can travel in this lane during rush hours.
  • On Johnson St., between Bassett St. and State St. - “bus only” lane only exists during rush hour with parking in the lane allowed during other times of the day. 
part time lane diagram


Other Items of Note

  • Some left turns have been removed along the corridor for your safety. Don’t turn left in front of buses, or posted signage directs that it’s not allowed.
  • You may see emergency vehicles or bikes in these bus only lanes
  • Buses have special signals and sometimes may appear to run red lights. Vehicles drivers should continue to follow standard red, yellow, and green traffic lights.


If you still have questions, email mymetrobus@cityofmadison.com.

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Bus Rapid Transit and the Network Redesign are part of MetroForward, Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway's plan to make a major investment in transit to speed up workforce transportation, reduce congestion, and build the transportation backbone of a vibrant regional economy.