Bus rapid transit
Bus rapid transit (BRT, BRTS) is a high performance public transport bus service which aims to combine bus lanes with high-quality bus 'stations', vehicles, amenities and branding to achieve the performance and quality of a light rail or metro system, with the flexibility, cost and simplicity of a bus system.
The first BRT system was the Rede Integrada de Transporte in Curitiba, Brazil (translated as 'Integrated Transportation Network') which entered service in 1974, which inspired the respected TransMilenio in Bogotá, Colombia (opened 2000) and subsequently many other systems around the world.
Bus rapid transit takes part of its name from rail rapid transit, which describes a high-capacity urban public-transit system with its own right-of-way, multiple-car vehicles at short headways, and longer stop spacing than traditional streetcars and buses. BRT however, uses buses on a wide variety of rights-of-way, including mixed traffic, dedicated lanes on surface streets, and busways completely separated from traffic.
The expression 'BRT' is mainly used in the Americas; in India, it is called 'BRTS' (the additional 'S' stands for system); in Europe and Australia, it is often called a 'busway', while elsewhere,[where?] it may be called a quality bus.
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Main features 
BRT systems will normally include most of the following features:
Dedicated bus lanes or dedicated right of way will normally be required to allow bus services to operate efficiently, without being held up in the traffic congestion typical of general traffic lanes in busy cities. Separate rights of way may be elevated, depressed, or routed through a tunnel, possibly using former rail routes.; Transit malls or 'bus streets' may also be created in city centers. Rights of way may be shared with light rail and in some cases taxis (for example in Amsterdam, Essen (Germany), Pittsburgh, and Seattle).
For sections operating in general traffic Bus bulbs, boarding islands, and curb realignments and reduce delays. Bus priority will often be provided at signalized intersections to reduce delays by extending the green phase or reducing the red phase in the required direction compared to the normal sequence.
Quality 'stations' 
BRT systems typically feature significant investment in enclosed stations which may incorporate attractive sliding glass doors, staffed ticket booths, information booths, and other more standard features listed above. They will often include level boarding, using either low-floor buses or higher boarding platforms level, and multiple doors to speed passenger boardings and enhance accessibility to disabled passengers. Validation of ticket upon entry to the 'station' rather than boarding the bus in a similar manner to that used on entry to a subway system is also common, particularly at busy stations.
High-frequency all day service 
A BRT network with comprehensive coverage can serve a diverse market (all income ranges) by moving large numbers of people between locations quickly and reliably throughout the day, while maintaining a comfortable riding experience. These characteristics are essential to satisfying the demands of a diverse market or offering high-frequency service without heavy subsidy.
High capacity vehicles 
High capacity vehicles, such bi-articulated buses may be used, which are typically fitted with multiple doors to speed entry and exit. double-decker buses or Guided buses may also be used. Advanced powertrain control may be used for a smoother ride.
Prominent brand or identity 
(e.g. Viva, Max, TransMilenio, Metropolitano, Select) marking stops and stations as well as the buses. The system's brand identity contributes to its attractiveness as an alternative to driving cars.
The performance of a system based on passenger throughout depends on a number of factors. In particular
- The vehicle headway, being the average time interval between vehicles. Buses can operate at headways as 10 seconds or less, however average headways for theTransMilenio system at busy intersections is 13 seconds and 14 seconds for the busiest section of the Metrobus (Istanbul).
- Vehicle capacity, which can range from 50 for a conventional bus up to some 200 for an articulated vehicle arranged for standing passengers. The Istanbul system operates both Mercedes Citaro with a capacity of 150 and the Mercedes CapaCity with a capacity of 193.
- The effectiveness of the 'stations' to handle passenger demand. High volumes of passengers on vehicles required large bus stations at busy interchange points. By way of example, the Port Authority Bus Terminal is extensive multi-story building.
- The effectiveness of the feeder system - can these deliver people to stations at the required speed.
- Local passenger demand. Without a local demand for travel, the capacity will not be used.
Based on the minimum headway and maximum current vehicle capacities, the theoretical maximum throughput measured in passengers per hour per direction for a single traffic lane is some 90,000 passengers per hour (250 passengers per vehicle, one vehicles every 10 seconds). In real world conditions TransMilenio holds the record, with 35,000 - 40,000 pphpd with most other busy systems operating in the 15,000 to 25,000 range. The Curitiba system still holds the record for the most passengers moved on the entire system in a day at 2,300,000.
|Location||System||Peak passengers per hour per direction||Passengers per day|
|Bogotá||TransMilenio||35,000 - 40,000||1,600,000|
|Guangzhou||Guangzhou Bus Rapid Transit||26,900||1,000,000|
|Curitiba, Brazil||Rede Integrada de Transporte||13,900 – 24,100||2,300,000|
|Belo Horizonte, São Paulo||15,800 - 20,300|
|Istanbul||Metrobus (Istanbul)||7,300 – 19,500||800,000|
|New Jersey||Lincoln Tunnel XBL||15,500||62,000 (4 hour morning peak only)|
Comparison with conventional bus services 
Where scheduled bus services use general traffic lanes, which can be slow due to traffic congestion, and the speed of bus services is further reduced by the time spend at bus stops for passengers board the vehicle (which often needs to include the time required to pay the driver), and to pull back into traffic and also the time spent at layovers to avoid arriving ahead of schedule.
In 2013 the New York authorities noted that buses on 34th Street which carried 33,000 bus riders a day on local and express routes travelled at 4.5 mph, which is only slightly faster than walking pace. Back in the 1960s Reuben Smeed predicted that the average speed of traffic in central London would be 9 miles per hour (14 km/h) without other disincentives, such as road pricing based on the theory that this was the minimum speed that people will tolerate. When the London congestion charge was introduced in 2003, the average traffic speeds was indeed 14 kilometres per hour (8.7 mph) which was the highest speed since the 1970s.
By way of contrast, typical speeds of BRT systems range from 17 to 30 miles per hour (27 to 48 km/h).
Comparison with light rail / metro systems 
Light Rail has reported passenger capacities between 3,500pph (mainly street running) to 19,000pph (fully Grade-separated). "From these findings ... there is little evidence to support the view that LRT can carry more than busways." By way of example, a light rail system running on two-minute headways with 200-passenger cars operating as single units could carry 6,000 passengers per hour (pph). Theoretically, this same system should carry 12,000 pph with two-car trains, and 24,000 pph with four-car trains just as BRT Systems can/have increased capacity with larger capacity buses and stations.
The Los Angeles Orange Line runs entirely in an exclusive lane and therefore achieves speed and reliability comparable to rail.
The capital costs of implementing BRT lines can be lower than up-front costs of constructing LRT lines.
A study by the United States Government Accountability Office found that the average capital cost per mile for busways was $13.5 million while light rail average costs were $34.8 million. However, a huge range of capital costs can be seen, as BRT lines can cost anywhere from $200,000—$55 million per mile, while LRT lines can range from $12.4—$118.8 million per mile. The total investment varies considerably due to factors such as cost of the roadway, station structures, park-and-ride facilities, traffic signal systems and vehicles.
The costs of a running a BRT system is about $13.49 a mile and the total cost for a year of expenditure is $987.80 according to a study done by the GAO. Running a BRT system is much less expensive than running a light rail system. The BRT is also much less expensive than a trolley system.
Light rail and tram systems require the placement of rails for the entire line. The tram usually avoids the high additional costs for engineering structures, such as tunnels, that need to be built for metro rail systems. Properly maintained rail tends to provide a smoother ride, making it more attractive to riders than road-based systems.
Proponents of light rail point out that the operating costs of BRT are not necessarily lower than light rail. The typically larger light rail vehicles enjoy reduced labor costs per passenger, and the unit capital cost per passenger can be lower than a BRT system.
Bogotá's TransMilenio, was described as a "model BRT system" in the National Bus Rapid Transit Institute's May 2006 report. TransMilenio serves Bogotá with high-capacity articulated buses, which passengers can board through three doors. Bi-articulated buses are also now used on the busiest routes. A smart card system is used for off-board fare collection. Nevertheless, despite moving 45,000 ppdph, Transmilenio faces huge problems (especially during peak hours), in terms of not being quite organized, nor having the necessary capacity for handling the high passenger volume, a situation not being limited to peak hours only, but at most times along the day.
Ottawa's Transitway or Pittsburgh's Martin Luther King Jr. East Busway), bus services using HOV lanes, dedicated freeway lanes (such as Honolulu's CityExpress) and limited stop buses on pre-existing routes.
Good example of high quality stations include those for the TransMilenio system in Bogotá, the MIO in Cali, Metrolinea in Bucaramanga and Megabús in Pereira) and most other Latin American BRT systems.[when?] This design is also used in Johannesburg's Rea Vaya. The term "station" is more flexibly applied in North America and ranges from enclosed waiting areas (Ottawa and Cleveland), and large open-sided shelters (Los Angeles).
Environmental issues 
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The typical diesel engine on the bus causes noticeable levels of air pollution, noise and vibration. With hybrid vehicles and the new forms of trolleybus, BRT designers hope to increase ride quality and decrease pollution. Since the energy used for acceleration is proportional to the vehicle mass, electric traction allows lighter vehicles, faster acceleration, and ability to feed energy back into batteries or the power grid through regenerative brakes. Regenerative braking has also become standard on many modern rail systems.
A BRT system can use trolleybuses to lower gaseous and noise emissions. The price penalty of installing overhead lines could be offset by the system's environmental benefits potential for savings from centrally generated electricity, especially in cities where electricity is less expensive than other power sources. In addition, most trolleybus applications can be converted to light rail with the only extra expense being the laying and maintenance of tram tracks in the street.
In tunnels or tunnel systems 
A special issue arises in the use of bus vehicles in metro transit structures. Since the areas where the demand for an exclusive bus right-of-way are apt to be in dense downtown areas where an above-ground structure may be unacceptable on historic, logistic, or environmental grounds, use of BRT in fully underground tunnels may not be avoidable.
Since buses are usually powered by internal combustion engines, bus metros raise ventilation issues similar to those of motor vehicle tunnels. In the case of tunnels, powerful fans typically exchange air through ventilation shafts to the surface; these are usually placed in a location as remote as possible from occupied areas, to minimize the effects of noise and concentrated pollution.
A straightforward way to reduce air quality problems is to use internal combustion engines with lower emissions. The 2008 Euro V European emission standards set a limit on carbon monoxide from heavy-duty diesel engines of 1.5 g/kWh, which is one third that of the 1992 Euro I standard. As a result, less forced ventilation will be required in tunnels to achieve the same air quality.
A different alternative is to use electrical propulsion in tunnels. Seattle in its Metro Bus Tunnel, and Boston in Phase II of its Silver Line are using this method in their BRTs. In the case of Seattle, dual-mode (electric/diesel electric) buses manufactured by Breda were used until 2004, with the center axle driven by electric motors obtaining power from a trolley wire through a trolley pole in the subway, and with the rear axle driven by a conventional diesel powertrain on freeways and streets. Boston is using a similar approach, after initially using electric trolleybuses to provide service pending delivery of the dual-mode vehicles in 2005. In 2004, Seattle replaced its "Transit Tunnel" fleet with diesel-electric hybrid buses, which operate similarly to hybrid cars outside the tunnel and in a low-noise, low-emissions "hush mode" (in which the diesel engine operates but does not exceed idle speed) when underground.
The need to provide electric power in underground environments brings the capital and maintenance costs of such routes closer to those of light rail, and raises the question of building or eventually converting to light rail instead. In Seattle, the downtown transit tunnel was retrofitted for conversion to a shared hybrid-bus and light-rail facility in preparation for Seattle's Central Link Light Rail line, which opened in July 2009.
See also 
- "What is Bus Rapid Transit?". Select Bus Service website. NY Metropolitan Transit Authority. Retrieved 2010-03-12.
- Characteristics of BRT for decision making. page ES-5. Federal Transit Administration (August 2004).
- "Recapturing Global Leadership in Bus Rapid Transit - A Survey of Select U.S. Cities". Institute for Transportation and Development Policy. May 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-07. pp. 5
- Cervero, Robert (1998), The Transit Metropolis, Island Press, Washington, D.C., pp. 265–296, ISBN 1-55963-591-6 Chapter 10/Creating a Linear City with a Surface Metro: Curitiba Brazil
- What is Select Bus Service? NYC Metropolitan Transit Authority. Retrieved 2010-3-12
- Characteristics of BRT for decision making. page ES-8. Federal Transit Administration (August 2004).
- "Applicability of Bogotá's TransMilenio BRT System to the United States" NBRTI (May 2006). Retrieved 2010-03-15.
- "Foro TransMilenio Fase III".
- "International Public Transport Conference 2010 - Case Study of the Guangzhou BRT". Retrieved 2010-08-05.
- "Characteristics of BRT for decision making". Federal Transit Administration. 2004-08-01). "Exhibit 3-22: "Maximum observed peak hour bus flows, capacities, and passenger flows at peak load points on transitways""
- American Public Transit Association (APTA). "Public Transportation: Moving America Forward". APTA. "accessdate=2012-04-26" See p. 6, based on 62,000 people in the 4 hour morning rushhour
- "Lord Mayor's Mass Transit Taskforce Report 2007". Brisbane City Council.
- "34th Street Select Bus Service". "Bus service along 34th Street is among the slowest in the city. Buses travel at an average of 4.5 mile per hour, only slightly faster than walking. Despite these slow speeds, 34th Street is a major east-west bus corridor, carrying over 33,000 bus riders a day on local and express routes."
- "Impacts monitoring - fifty annual report". Transport for London.
- G. Gardner, J. C. Rutter and F. Kuhn (1994). The performance and potential of light rail transit in developing cities. Project Report No. PR69. Transport Research Laboratory, Crowthorne, UK.
- GAO (September 2001). "Bus Rapid Transit Shows Promise". GAO. Retrieved 2011-03-16.
- GAO (September 2001). "Bus Rapid Transit Shows Promise". GAO. Retrieved 2012-04-29.
- Bus Rapid Transit or Quality Bus Reality Check Light Rail Now! (January 22, 2004). Retrieved 2010-03-29
- Rea Vaya
- "Van Hool presents the ExquiCity Design Mettis.". Retrieved 5 June 2012.
- Metro Online (December 14, 2007). "Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel and Changing Bus Technology". King County Metro. Retrieved 2010-07-13.
- Duncan Allen (2005). "MBTA Silver Line". www.nycsubway.org. Retrieved 2010-07-13.
Further reading 
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- General information
- The BRT Standard 2013 Institute for Transportation and Development Policy
- Bus Rapid Transit Planning Guide (2007) A very comprehensive 800 guide to creating a successful BRT system by the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (available in English, Spanish and Portuguese]
- Bus Rapid Transit, Volume 1: Case Studies in Bus Rapid Transit Transportation Research Board
- Bus Rapid Transit, Volume 2: Implementation Guidelines Transportation Research Board
- "Characteristics of Bus Rapid Transit". National Bus Rapid Transit Association. 2009.
- Levinson, Herbert S. (2002). "Bus Rapid Transit: An Overview". Journal of Public Transportation 5 (2).
- Across Latitudes and Cultures Bus Rapid Transit An international Centre of Excellence for BRT development
- Transit Capacity and Quality of Service Manual Transportation Research Board
- BRT Technologies: Assisting Drivers Operating Buses on Road Shoulders. University of Minnesota Center for Transportation Studies, Department of Mechanical Engineering
- Country specific information
- Recapturing Global Leadership in Bus Rapid Transit - A Survey of Select U.S. Cities (available for download in pdf) Institute for Transportation & Development Policy (May 2011)
- Wang Fengwu and James Wang (April 2004). "BRT in China". Public Transport International. Retrieved 2010-03-10.
- Vincent, William; Lisa Callaghan Jerram (April 2008). Bus Rapid Transit and Transit Oriented Development: Case Studies on Transit Oriented Development Around Bus Rapid Transit Systems in North America and Australia. Washington, DC: Breakthrough Technologies Institute.
- Bus Rapid Transit Shows Promise U.S. General Accounting Office
- The National BRT Institute (USA)
- Global BRT Data Database of Bus Rapid Transit systems around the world