Bus Rapid Transit: A Sustainable Approach to Mass Transit

Bhavik Shah 11/25/02


What is Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)? Elements of BRT Curitiba, Brazil: The Success Story Applicability to the United States Conclusions

What is BRT?  

Bus Rapid Transit uses a variety of innovative system designs and technologies to speed travel time, cut costs and make service more reliable. Think rail, use buses. These objectives are reached by by:  Lane priority  Signal priority  Vehicle design  Stop spacing and design  Fare collection  Rider appeal  Land use policy

median. Curbside bus lanes are usually effective during peak hours in peak directions. Three types of priority lanes: curbside. otherwise the lane is reserved for parking and deliveries. . Since bus stops are in this lane. Double curbside bus lanes allow them to pass one another (e.g. This San Francisco bus lane is the lane adjacent to the curb lane and is in effect weekdays 7 am to 6 pm. except at stops. Curbside deliveries and parking are still possible. Madison Ave in NYC). buses do not waste time remerging with traffic. and contraflow.Lane Priority    Giving buses priority to lanes (HOV) speeds travel time.

and 2) passengers must cross lanes of traffic to reach platforms creating a safety concern. separated from general traffic lanes by a raised curb. Passenger platforms on right. passengers anxious to catch an approaching bus. Less likely to be congested than curbside bus lanes. There can be one central platform. Disadvantages are: 1) making left turns. usu. esp. Only appropriate for wide boulevards. but buses then must have doors on both sides.Median Lanes      Bus lanes are located in the middle two lanes of traffic. .

Contraflow Lanes   BRT system in Orlando. FL.  A contraflow lane is a bus lane that runs in the opposite direction in what would otherwise be a oneone-way street. . These contraflow lanes can be used during peak times of the day to avoid traffic congestion or can be permanent. They have a physical divide to only allow authorized vehicles through.

Traffic Signal Priority     Special treatment to transit vehicles at signalized intersections. FL. . bus speed rather than avg. Queue jumpers: short stretch of bus lane combined with traffic signal priority to cut queues of traffic and receive a green signal. to either give an early green signal or hold one that is being displayed. and depending on traffic situation at the time. vehicle speed. Active priority: uses chips on the bus and light to calculate the speed of bus and time of approach. Active Priority Light in Orlando. Passive priority: timing signal lights with respect to avg.

Additional and wider doorways must be integrated with the structural support systems to maintain crash worthiness.Vehicle Design     Low level boarding: faster boarding time for all passengers. Buses can be bi-/articulated with two or three sections capable biof transporting 170-270 passengers. 170and EE buses). H. which means shorter dwelling time at the bus stop. allows for easy access for those in mobility aids). Adding additional and wider doorways facilitates the rapid entry and exit of passengers (32 in. (Think of the long A. . namely those in wheelchairs.

Vehicle Design  Propulsion:   cleaner diesel fuel due to stricter EPA standards compressed natural gas (CNG) hybrid electric-diesel electricbuses have emerged as viable alternatively fueled vehicles  Low noise and emission pollution to make the buses sexy. .

Tradeoff between: (a) closely spaced. queue jumpers would be not be used. but more time on the vehicle and (b) stops spaced further apart and longer walking distance. and the bus would have to merge with queue traffic on the curbside lane for the stop.Stop Spacing and Location      Stop spacing affects demand for transit service. Stop locating can be near side. or mid-block. frequent stops and shorter walking distance. far side. . midBRT systems with active signal priority and queue jumpers should place stops at the far side. If the stop was on the near side. allowing for effective use of these measures. but less time on the vehicle. It also clears the bus through the intersection with minimal delay. the bus would be delayed by at least one signal cycle. Consequently.

to buses signaling to reenter the traffic stream a stop. Rule is common in Europe. Bays are not efficient for BRT systems. If necessary. when safe to do so. Priority Merge Rule: all vehicles to yield the right of way. Australia. Oregon. there is a delay to remerge with traffic. Japan. PMR is BRT-friendly as it reduces waiting times at BRTsubsequent stops and decreases travel times for passengers. and Florida. . Washington. located on far side of intersections with tapered deceleration and acceleration lanes.Stop Location       If bus stops are bays (think of bus stop across from ARC).

. and decreases dwell time as smaller groups exit the bus at the stops. Brazil. Free fare zone. multiPay as you board worst during peak hours. Monthly passes.Fare Collection     OnOn-board collection increases dwelling time thus decreasing the efficiency of a BRT system. Incentives for preprepre-payment is a sharp discounts for multi-trip cards/tickets. loading platforms (staffed). paid area terminals (barrier free for transfers). pre-paid tickets. smart cards.  Pay on exit: speeds up boarding at central sites during peak hours. and proof of payment Loading platform in Curitiba.

each stop should have:  A stop name.  A system map Orlando BRT Service Map . and consequently. to increase the appeal of a BRT system.  Service schedule for lowlowfrequency routes. ridership.  Route names and destinations for all routes serving the stop. (aka being user friendly) Therefore.  Span of service and frequency of service.Rider Appeal   Providing proper information to the customer is crucial for high quality transit information.

stops and stations need appealing architectural and aesthetic designs to attract riders. new technologies (signals and AVL). market faster travel times. . and offer coupons. Reduces anxiety of waiting. etc. Use of real time information of arrival times to be displayed at bus stops. Technology is Automated Vehicle Location (AVL) and is powered by GPS.Rider Appeal      Onboard schematic maps and automated announcements can assist passengers when/where to board and exit. kiosks. Market BRT system as being an preferable mode of transportation: color schemes and logos to identify the BRT system (and distinguish it from the regular bus system).

Buses stop at loading areas close to the mall entrance. is ideal for optimizing land use with mass transit. system information. . e.g.Land Use Policy  Orlando's Lynx system has created Superstops at major shopping malls.  Modifying land use policies to permit growth that is concentrated around transit nodes and corridors will help to maintain and increase transit's base of riders in the future. shopping malls. bike racks. Location of stations already near developed sites. Amenities include shelters. and a guide to mall stores.

and Taipei. however. Quito. London. By far. Brazil. Istanbul. Rouen. .BRT in Use    Several cities across the world are using a BRT system. Sydney. the greatest success story in BRT comes from Curitiba. These include: Bogotá.

demanded effective city planning in areas ranging from social services. Curitiba had one of the highest population growths. which included a consolidated bus transit system .Curitiba. to the environment and transportation By the 1960s. Brazil    During 1950s and 60s. 6% a yr. housing and sanitation. officials were working on a Master Plan (1966) to meet these demands. cities across Brazil experienced rapid population growth due to agricultural mechanization.

and an approval rating of 90%. The BRT. serves eight neighboring cities.000 buses. backbone for development and growth of the city direct linear growth by attracting residential and commercial density along a mass transportation lane The Research and Urban Planning Institute of Curitiba (IPPUC) was created to monitor the implementation and operations of the BRT. with its 2.Transportation and Development      restructured the city s radial configuration into a linear model of urban expansion transportation land use and road systems can be used as integrative tools of development. 2 million passengers. .

New Infrastructure .

but at one eighth the construction costs As buildings moved away from corridor avenues.Transportation System       Road hierarchy (spider web network) 5 main arterial roads. and express Express buses travel as fast as subway cars. the density of the building capacity decreased. inter-district. had two median express bus lanes By 1982. (urban apt. all 5 arteries. and feeder lines interwere complete. structural growth corridors that dictate the growth pattern of the city. interdistrict. buildings to residential homes) . Types of routes: feeder.

This avoids fare inflation. . A 1990 laws dictates that revenues can only be used to pay for the system. Installed automatic ticket vendors at stops and terminals to decrease dwell time.A Fare System       Paper transfers: forgery TwoTwo-fare system for feeder and express: failed because it favored the rich living near the middle One fare policy: can take you from anywhere within the system (40+ miles worth of travel) Shorter rides subsidize longer ones. The system is entirely financed by these fares and without any subsidies.

pre-boarding payment and prelevel boarding Speeds boarding time.Bus and Station Design  Buses:  Three doors: 2 exiting. Three functions: shelter. 1 boarding  Turbo engines  Wider doors  Lower floors  Bi/Articulated for greater passenger capacity (170-270) (170-     Boarding tube stations along direct and express lines. especially with the disabled. Staffed (to deter fare evaders). therefore less idling and less pollution .

Bus Tube .

8% anhydrous alcohol. and 2 to 3 minutes at other times at the central station first city in Brazil to use less polluting fuels. 89.Some Numbers         340 routes 2. .6% soybean additive The resulting fuel is less polluting and cuts the emissions of particles to the air by up to 43 per cent. 200+ bus tubes 30 routes and buses designed for specific use by the disabled 5050-second deadhead (period between buses) at peak times.4% diesel.000 buses transport 2 million passengers daily 700 miles of bus routes. and 2. 40 miles dedicated to bus use only 25 terminals.

) per mile. .0 million (U. Curitiba's gasoline use per capita is 30 percent below that of eight comparable Brazilian cities.More Numbers    Cost of implementing the bus system in Curitiba was $2. despite the second highest per capita car ownership rate in Brazil (one car for every three people). 10 percent of yearly income on transport.S. As a result.

parks. Innovative with approach to public life. all encourage a greener. . healthier city and lifestyle. bike paths.BRT and Beyond   Curitiba s public policy has been eco-socioeco-sociofriendly. recycling programs. pedestrian walkways. In addition to BRT. etc.

OR Hartford LA Miami Phoenix (planning) San Francisco . VA EugeneEugene-Springfield.BRT in the United States  BRT systems are in place in several American cities including:           Boston Charlotte Cleveland Dulles.

stations. coupon-of-theetc. advertisements.Orlando at a Glance      Opened Aug 1997 BRT improved an already existing transit system serving Orlando target market is people who drive to downtown Orlando and then use Lymmo to get to other locations. restaurants. coupon-of-the-day. .3 mile route  signal pre-emption pre stations with large shelters and route information  automatic vehicle location (AVL)  next bus arrival information at kiosks  new low-floor compressed natural gas (CNG) buses low marketing and image development through vehicle graphics. shopping. and business tie-ins tie free fare. etc Service offers:  exclusive lanes for the entire 2. such as the Courthouse. so no fare collection delay Fierce marketing to attract riders: theme buses.

Lymmo System Lymmo Bus Painted in Leonardo DaVinci Theme Lymmo Right-of-Way and Station at Turn-Around Area .

Performance Table 1 Route Statistics for Lymmo and Rest of System .

Because of the even greater increase in ridership.14 for Lymmo.37 for Freebee to $1. and the remainder for street reconstruction. and other expenses . traffic signals. total capital cost of the system was $21 million. of which $3 million was for vehicles. 65% more than the Freebee service of 1997. $0.2 million to operate. banners. shelters.4 million for landscaping. the average cost per boarding decreased from $1. AVL. information kiosks.Costs    $1.

discouraging public transportation as is. has far lower labor costs. Sunil talks about his famous (or infamous) gas tax) . politicians want solutions that fit their election cycles.Criticisms to BRT     Curitiba. for example. and much less stringent bureaucratic review of transportation projects. this is where Prof. far fewer environmental controls. score big with voters by extending past into future (road projects) America s car culture Price on gasoline is cheap. (oh yes.

Appeal to riders is key for any mass transit system to work must be attractive and user friendly Gas tax or DIE! lol .Conclusions     BRT provides a sustainable. efficient method of mass transit. Can be used in conjunction with land use and developmental policies to curtail sprawl and guide growth.

The End .

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