Bus rapid transit systems

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Bus rapid transit system is a high capacity rapid transit system which travel in exclusive lanes avoiding traffic. It is an improved transit service over the traditional bus service. Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is growing in popularity and gaining more attention as more cities look to develop new means of rapid transit. The reason for the shift from rail transit is BRT’s passenger attractiveness, the better cost effectiveness, comparable performance, and quick implementation. BRT also is able to handle large numbers of riders and meet the needs of even large metropolitan areas. [1]



Conventional bus services use general traffic lanes which make it hard to maintain a good speed. Often it slows down the bus due to traffic congestion in that lane. The speed of bus service is further reduced by time spent at bus stops, loading unloading of passengers, paying the bus fare and then return into the stream of traffic. These factors play a vital role in choosing auto mode over the transit mode. Bus rapid transit system on the other hand uses dedicated lanes for buses which could help buses to maintain greater speed and thus reduces travel time and increases reliability in service. The off board fare collection system reduces the time spent in boarding process. In terms of service quality, cost and performance, bus rapid transit is thought to be in the middle ground between urban rail and traditional bus system because it offers both features: speed and reliability of rail and operating flexibility, ease of implementation and lower cost of a conventional bus system.


Tradeoffs of implementing this policy may include:

1. In some cases, the trade-offs will be between BRT and do nothing alternatives.

2. The operation of new BRT system and existing conventional bus system.

3. Trade off between the unit cost of implementing the system and the revenue collected from the fare of BRT system.

4. The developers are unlikely to spend money to develop around the system as the whole system can be transferable unlike rail system.

5. BRT could lead to public disinvestment.

Compatibility Assessment

If answered yes, the following questions indicate superior conditions under which the policy is more likely to be appropriate:

1. Does the ridership in transit decrease over the past years compared to auto ridership?

2. Are the communities interested to invest their money on a sustainable, reliable and high capacity alternatives that can compete with auto and also provide service of rapid rail system?

3. Are the communities looking for a solution that is quick and easy to implement but need less capital investment?

4. What are the possible factors for reducing ridership of existing bus service or reasons of being unpopular over auto service? Are the factors speed, unpredictable travel time and overall performance?

5. Is there adequate space in roadway to allocate a designated bus lane?


The following questions should be considered when determining how to implement this policy:

1. Does a dedicated bus lane increase the existing transit ridership in a community?

2. How to design a dedicated transit way for Bus rapid transit and how to determine the capacity of BRT based on different community and transportation network?

3. What will be the fare of Bus rapid Transit and how it will be collected, off-board or on-board?

4. Is it possible to implement all the features of bus rapid transit? if not, what are the main features that should get priority if the funding resources are limited?

5. How to determine route structure, route length, frequency of service and the spacing of bus stops for bus rapid transit?







1. Thole, C. Bus Rapid Transit and Development: Policies and Practices That Affect Development Around Transit.[1] Publication FTA-FL-26-7109.2009.5. FTA, U. S. Department of Transportation, 2009.

2. Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. Silver Line Washington Street Bus Rapid Transit Demonstration Project: Evaluation. Federal Transit Administration. [2] December, 2005.

3. Cervero, Robert, et al. Transit-Oriented Development in the United States: Experiences, Challenges, and Prospects, [3] TCRP Report 102, TRB: Washington, DC, 2004.

4. Goodman, J. and M. Laube. 1999. Issues in Bus Rapid Transit. Federal Transit Administration. [4]

5. Kittelson & Associates, Inc, et al. TCRP Report 118: Bus Rapid Transit Practitioners Guide. [5] Transportation Research Board, 2007.

6. Anam, S., Hoque, A.M., et al. Evaluation of bus rapid transit (BRT) in context of Bangladesh. [6] 4th Annual Paper Meet and 1st Civil Engineering Congress, December 22-24, 2011

7. Bayle, R., Mulley, and C. Tirachini, A. Identifying the performance parameters of importance in the design of Bus Rapid Transit: an experimental framework using microscopic simulation.[7] The University of Sydney, 2012.

  1. http://www.actransit.org/planning-focus/your-guide-to-bus-rapid-transit/brt-project-status/
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 http://www.nbrti.org/docs/pdf/BRT%20and%20land%20use_97ver_508.pdf
  3. http://policyatlas.org/wiki/Bus_lane_designation
  4. http://policyatlas.org/wiki/High_occupancy_vehicle_lane_designations
  5. http://policyatlas.org/wiki/Associations_-_Bus_Manufacturers
  6. http://policyatlas.org/wiki/Associations_-_Bus_Manufacturers
  7. http://policyatlas.org/wiki/Government_Agencies_-_Transportation
  8. http://policyatlas.org/wiki/Government_Agencies_-_Taxi,_Limousine_and_Other_For-Hire_Vehicles
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