San Francisco Transit-Only Lane Enforcement Program Appears to Change Motorist Behavior and Reduce the Frequency of Repeat Offenders with Only a One Percent Repeat Vehicle Citation Comparing 2013 to 2014.

San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency equipped busses with cameras to automatically cite lane violations.

Date Posted

Transit-Only Lane Enforcement - MUNI Forward

Summary Information

In 2008, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) started a pilot Transit-Only Lane Enforcement (TOLE) program that uses cameras on board buses to enforce transit-only parking violations. The program’s goal was to improve transit service by discouraging vehicles from obstructing transit-only lanes. With this program, vehicles illegally parked or stopped within a dedicated transit lane have their license plate captured by a video camera on a passing bus and the registered owner receives a citation in the mail. In 2011, approximately 23 percent of the TOLE citations were issued to commercial vehicles.

San Francisco has 26 miles of transit-only lanes, and another 22 miles planned over the next decade. The TOLE program is part of a multi-tiered approach to keep these lanes moving for buses. In addition, the SFMTA is painting the lanes red to provide a strong visual reminder to road users to avoid using the transit-only lanes, and has invested in transit signal priority to reduce the amount of time buses spend waiting at traffic lights.

With the Transit-Only Lane Enforcement (TOLE) program in place, San Francisco has been able to change motorist behavior and reduce the frequency of repeat offenders obstructing transit-only lanes.

  • In 2012, nearly 4,000 TOLE citations were issued in the City. Between March and August that year, 1,800 TOLE citations were issued to over 1,700 different vehicles. Of those, only two percent received another TOLE citation during the same three-month period in 2013, and only one percent received a TOLE citation in the same 2014 period.
  • Parking Control Officers viewing collected TOLE videos report that occupied illegally parked vehicles are now more likely to leave bus stops and lanes ahead of buses.