Building, operating and maintaining infrastructure is expensive. And cities are strapped for money. On a modest budget, how can cities build public transportation that’s still high-quality, efficient and user-friendly? Bus rapid transit is an option that gets the job done.

Bus rapid transit, or BRT, is a mode of public transit that can be high-capacity, efficient, and cost-effective. BRT corridors are designed to remove common sources of delay for transit buses, so the passengers can get where they're going quickly. Several design elements ensure it's bus rapid transit, not just bus transit:

  • Dedicated lanes keep buses moving quickly not bogged down in traffic;
  • Median bus lanes ensure buses aren't slowed down by turning or parked vehicles; 
  • Level boarding helps people get on and off the bus easily and quickly, reducing delays;
  • Pre-paid boarding ensure the bus (and all of its passengers) aren't slowed down while I fumble for exact change for the fare box;
  • Traffic signal priority keeps BRT buses moving quickly and avoids delays while other vehicles turn in front of the buses.

Several other BRT design elements contribute to a high-quality passenger experience:

  • Well-designed stations ensure passengers have a comfortable, safe and attractive place to meet their bus;
  • Passenger information lets people know when their bus is arriving;
  • Unique brand distinguishes the BRT as an exciting new service.

Implementing the key BRT design elements is often politically difficult. But, when designed correctly, BRT can move high volumes of people rapidly and at a relatively low price. With high-capacity (articulated or even bi-articulated) buses with newer fuel technologies, BRT can contribute to reduced vehicle miles travelled and emissions. Its lower per kilometer price compared to rail can make it a more affordable option for cities, especially in emerging markets. BRT can also be a catalyst for reforming & transforming existing informal transit services with the aim of ultimately providing safer, more reliable and consistent service.

Services

  • Help cities conceptualize a BRT corridor or system;
  • Corridor selection, station location and analysis;
  • Alternatives analysis or benchmarking;
  • Evaluate station design including accessibility and user interface elements;
  • Advise and review transit marketing, branding, communications and user education strategies;
  • Guide design of passenger information, signage design by translating operations plans into user information;
  • Develop BRT performance indicators, and performance management system;
  • Ex-ante and ex-post impact analysis.

Experience