BRT on the Rise Across the Nation

Cities across the United States are beginning to experiment with bus-rapid transit, a high speed bus service that works much like a light rail. Many cities are beginning to embrace this mode of transportation because it tends to be an easier upgrade in an urban public transit system than other modes (such as subway, rail, etc.).

Bus improvements are on the agenda in Chicago, as a blogger on the Metropolitan Planning Council mentions on its blog recently:

Before the days of bus tracker, I remember bearing the elements (for what seemed like a lifetime!), waiting for a bus to arrive at my stop. Now I not only know whether I’ll catch a bus in time to get to work, but I can wait in a safe, comfortable place and build in a few minutes to pick up the daily paper before my bus arrives. So I welcome the news that the city of Chicago recently received a $35 million federal grant to continue to improve CTA bus service. In the next couple of years, we’ll see Bus Tracker digital kiosks at bus stops so that all riders can anticipate the next bus. Some buses will operate in dedicated lanes to dash past traffic congestion.

Bus-rapid transit is one of the long-term recommendations in the Moving LANTA Forward plan that was unveiled last year. Having a faster and super-efficient bus network around the Valley would bring us a step closer to a more balanced and robust public transportation system. But is it feasible here? The first step would involve working toward better land-use planning in the region. To find out more about RenewLV’s work on transportation, visit our Sustainable Transportation Initiative page.

About Beata Bujalska

Beata Bujalska is the former Campaign Coordinator for Renew Lehigh Valley. She currently lives in Panama, a place that fascinates her due to (among other reasons) its recent development boom.

Posted on July 27, 2010, in Public Infrastructure, Transportation and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Beata –

    BRT requires far less infrastructure than rail or even trolleys, but that is both an advantage and a disadvantage. It’s an advantage because costs are a tiny fraction of the costs for rail. But it’s a disadvantage when it comes to fostering dense multi-use development near transit stops, because there’s no guarantee that the stop won’t be changed next week or next year.

    Either way, though, you are 100% correct that better land-use planning is essential to good transit.

    And conveniences such as systems that let passengers know when the next bus on each route will arrive are a key to increasing transit ridership. Others include distinctive buses so each route has a ‘personality’, free on-board WiFi, and other amenities designed to make it more attractive, especially since many trips here in the LV take the better part of an hour, making it anything but ‘rapid’ transit.


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