Bus Boarding Islands

View of street with curbside green-paineted bike lane . Bike lane separated from vehicle travel lane by concrete bus boarding island with people standing on island waiting for bus and bus approaching stop. Pedestrian crossing street in crosswalk.

How it Works

Bus boarding islands are exclusive spaces for people awaiting, boarding, and alighting public buses. Unlike a traditional bus stop, a boarding island is installed in between a vehicle travel lane on one side and a protected bikeway on the other side, with a short crosswalk for bus riders to cross the bikeway for sidewalk access. CDOT works closely with CTA to develop a variety of bus boarding island designs which enhance bus operations and eliminate bus-bike conflicts at bus stops.


Benefits of Bus Boarding Islands

  • Streamlines transit travel and saves time, as buses won't need to merge in and out of traffic or cross over bikeways at service stops
  • Gives bus riders a more comfortable, dedicated space for boarding and alighting
  • Prevents hazardous, illegal parking in curbside bus stops which can force passengers to alight into active travel lanes or bikeways
  • Reduces crossing distance for people walkinge ie ntersection 
Where to Find It

 In 2022, seven new bus boarding islands were added to North Milwaukee Avenue between Chicago Avenue and Division Street. These were installed as part of a resurfacing project that also upgraded the bikeway from a buffered bike lane to a protected bike lane. Bus boarding islands will become a regular feature of protected bike lanes along bus routes, with dozens of locations already planned and under design.

Person riding bike away from viewer in green curbside bike lane separated from vehicle traffic by bus boarding island with bus stop sign on it.

North Milwaukee Avenue

Aerial photo of intersection in dense downtown environment where curbside green bike lanes are separated from red bus lanes by bus boarding island with bus shelter

West Washington Street

Aerial diagram of an intersection, including a protected bikeway that runs in between the sidewalk and a raised concrete bus boarding island. There is a a special crosswalk over the bikeway for people to access the bus boarding island. People wait for the bus on the bus boarding island, the bus pulls up next to the island for boarding and alighting.

Typical Bus Boarding Island Layout