MBA: Bus Rapid Transit
Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) provides faster and more efficient service than an ordinary bus. "These systems operate like a surface subway, say BRT advocates, but cost far less than building an actual metro." Watch this chapter of Moving Beyond the Automobile to learn about the key features of bus rapid transit systems around the world and how BRT helps shift people out of cars and taxis and into buses.
Streetfilms would like to thank The Fund for the Environment & Urban Life for making this series possible.
Mark Gorton: [00:14] Bus Rapid Transit is a great technology because it both removes road space from automobiles and transforms that same space into a more efficient, environmentally friendly use.
Enrique Penalosa: [00:24] In order to restrict car use you should have transit going everywhere, and it’s much more effective to reach all points in a city with BRT systems.
Veronica Vanterpool: [00:37] Bus Rapid Transit can help reduce traffic by making it a faster and more reliable service, meaning more people would consider taking the bus.
Walter Hook: [00:44] A Bus Rapid Transit system is essentially a way of creating a subway or a metro quality of service and speed using buses and special stations.
Walter Hook: [01:01] Bus Rapid Transit tends to have three critical components. It has exclusive lanes on the street. The bus lane is physically separated from the rest of the traffic so that it can bypass the traffic congestion. The second really critical element of the Bus Rapid Transit system is the station. The station is generally up on a platform that’s at the same level as the floor of the bus. You pay when you enter the station, you can get on all the doors of the bus at the same time. The next really critical piece is try to give the buses some priority at the intersection. Usually that means you restrict the turning movements across the bus way, maybe, or changing the signal phasing.
Veronica Vanterpool: [01:43] It’s very expensive to build new infrastructure so we need to find innovative and inexpensive ways of adding the transit capacity. Bus Rapid Transit is one way of doing that.
Walter Hook: [01:51] Bus Rapid Transit will lead to about a 10 to 20% shift of passengers out of private cars and taxis.
Veronica Vanterpool: [02:04] Right now we’re standing next to the 34th Street exclusive bus lane, but it’s not physically separated from traffic, so cars often do park in the bus lane. One of the ways to make it more successful is to prevent that from happening with some sort of barrier.
Walter Hook: [02:18] The best Bus Rapid Transit systems in the world are still the Latin American systems. Curitiba built the first true Bus Rapid Transit system in the 1970’s, it’s one of the best in the world. Bogotá, Colombia, built the state of the art Bus Rapid Transit system, it has the highest speed and the highest capacity. TransMilenio is moving about 40,000 passengers per direction at the peak hour, and it’s moving them at about 22 miles an hour, which is very fast. Your average bus in New York is moving about six miles an hour.
Enrique Penalosa: [02:51] TransMilenio grew mobility and so much so that more than 20% of TransMilenio users are car owners. In many developing countries [unintelligible] the only people who use public transport are those who do not have cars.
Mark Gorton: [03:05]
By replacing automobiles with buses you can increase the capacity of
the system. You can reduce the average person’s trip time, you
can reduce pollution. It is win, win, win, win.