BRT Standard

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Document defining the 2016 BRT Standard

The BRT Standard is an evaluation tool for Bus Rapid Transit corridors around the world, based on international best practices.[1] The Standard establishes a common definition for BRT and identifies BRT best practices, as well as functioning as a scoring system to allow BRT corridors to be evaluated and recognized for their superior design and management aspects.[2]

The Standard was conceived by the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) in 2012 to ensure that BRT corridors worldwide meet a minimum quality standard and deliver consistent passenger, economic, and environmental benefits. In addition to serving as an overview of BRT design elements, the Standard can be used to evaluate existing BRT corridors and certify them as a Basic, Bronze, Silver, or Gold rated corridors. Corridors which fail to meet minimum standards for Basic ratings are not considered to be BRT.[3]:34 The latest edition of the Standard was published in 2016.[4]

History and purpose[edit]

First released in 2012, the BRT Standard was created “to establish a common definition of bus rapid transit (BRT) and ensure that BRT corridors more uniformly deliver world-class passenger experiences, significant economic benefits, and positive environmental impact”. The Standard was developed in response to a lack of consensus among planners and engineers as to what constitutes a true BRT corridor. Without a clear definition, the term BRT was used for corridors that provided only minor improvements in bus service and lacked the elements of BRT that make it competitive with light rail or metro alternatives. This caused a backlash against the BRT "brand", and confusion as to its benefits.[5]

The 2014 edition made some improvements to the methodology, including adjustments to the corridor definition, infrequent-service penalties, and increased emphasis on basics. In order to allow BRT corridors in downtown areas to qualify as BRT, the definition of a BRT corridor has been reduced to 3 km (1.9 mi) in length. The peak and off-peak frequency design metrics have been removed, and penalties for low peak and off-peak frequencies have been added. An additional point was added to each of the BRT basic elements, to put greater emphasis on the basic elements of a BRT corridor.[4]

Technical committee and endorsers[edit]

The BRT Standard was developed and continues to be updated by a technical committee, with strategic direction and guidance from several organizations.[6] The 2014 Technical Committee consisted of: Manfred Breithaupt (GIZ),Wagner Colombini Martins (Logit Consultoria), Dario Hidalgo (EMBARQ), Walter Hook (BRT Planning International), Colleen McCaul, Gerhard Menckhoff (retired, World Bank), CarlosFelipe Pardo (Despacio), Scott Rutherford (University of Washington), Pedro Szasz, and Lloyd Wright (Asian Development Bank). The Standard further incorporates advice from, and has the institutional endorsement of ITDP, GIZ, ClimateWorks Foundation, UN Habitat, Barr Foundation, UNEP, ICCT, and the Rockefeller Foundation.

Definition of BRT[edit]

The BRT Standard creates a concrete “minimum standard”, identifying several critical design elements that must be present for a corridors to qualify as BRT. For each element, a best practice is identified, along with benchmarks for partial achievement of the feature.[7]

Basic characteristics[edit]

TransJakarta bus on the dedicated bus lane, an exclusive right-of-way separated from heavy traffic

There are five essential characteristics of a BRT corridor.[8]

  • Dedicated right-of-way — An exclusive right-of-way is vital to ensuring that buses can move quickly and unimpeded by congestion. Enforcement of the dedicated lane can be handled in different ways, such as delineators, bollards, or colorized pavement.
  • Busway alignment — Alignment of traffic lane so that conflicts with other traffic can be minimized. Options include exclusive bus only corridor, median (central reservation) aligned and curb aligned (but curb aligned only where there are infrequent intersections to cause traffic conflicts and delays)
  • Off-board fare collection — Collecting fares before boarding, either through a “barrier controlled” or “proof-of-payment” method, is one of the most important factors in reducing station dwell time and therefore total travel time, thus improving the customer experience.
  • Intersection treatments — There are several ways to increase bus speeds at intersections, all of which are aimed at increasing the green signal time for the bus lane. Forbidding turns across the bus lane and minimizing the number of traffic-signal phases where possible are the most important. Traffic-signal priority when activated by an approaching BRT vehicle is useful in lower-frequency corridors.
  • Off-board fare collection through a barrier-controlled method
    Platform-level boarding — Having the bus-station platform level with the bus floor is one of the most important ways of reducing boarding and alighting times per passenger. The reduction or elimination of the vehicle-to-platform gap is also key to customer safety and comfort. A range of measures can be used to achieve platform gaps of less than 5 cm (2.0 in), including guided busways at stations, alignment markers, Kassel curbs, and boarding bridges.
Bollards as separator for BRT dedicated lane, bus using platform-level boarding

Best practices[edit]

In addition to BRT basics, the Standard identifies several categories of BRT elements and characteristics which contribute to superior BRT corridors:[7]


Points are awarded for those elements of BRT corridors that most significantly improve operational performance and quality of service. The points act as proxies for a higher quality of customer service (speed, comfort, capacity, etc.). For each element identified in the BRT Standard, a maximum point value is assigned. A given BRT corridor is then rated based on how closely it achieves the best practice of this element.[7]

The BRT Standard created a “minimum definition” for BRT corridors. To qualify as BRT, a corridor must score above an 18/33 in the BRT basic elements. Once qualified as a Basic BRT, a corridor can earn up to 100 points. To recognize superior performance, the Standard awards corridors scoring between 85-100 a Gold rating, between 70-84 a Silver, and 55-69 a Bronze. Many bus corridors with some BRT-like aspects fail to qualify as true BRT. Corridors which fail to meet minimum BRT standards are classified by the ITDP as "Not BRT".[3]:34

Scored BRT corridors[edit]

The following cities have had their BRT corridors evaluated and scored using the 2013 BRT Corridor Standard. Each corridor is ranked at either Gold, Silver or Bronze level of quality.[9]

In 2014, only six US corridors were ranked as true BRT corridors, two Silver and four Bronze level,[10][11] while two other US corridors evaluated were rated "Not BRT".[3]:34 The situation has improved somewhat since then, including one new US system being awarded Gold status.[12]

City Country BRT System: Corridor(s) Rating
Bogotá Colombia Transmilenio: Américas, Calle 80, Calle 26,
NQS (Norte-Quito-Sur), Suba, El Dorado
Guangzhou China GBRT: Zhongshan Avenue Gold
Yichang China Yichang BRT Management Company: Dongshan Avenue, Yiling District Gold
Curitiba Brazil Rede Integrada de Transporte: Linha Verde Gold
Rio de Janeiro Brazil TransOeste, Transcarioca Gold
Lima Peru Metropolitano Gold
Guadalajara Mexico Macrobús Gold
Medellin Colombia Metroplús Gold
Belo Horizonte Brazil MOVE: Cristiano Machado[13] Gold
Albuquerque, New Mexico United States Albuquerque Rapid Transit[12] Gold
Hartford, Connecticut United States Connecticut Transit: CTfastrak[11] Silver
Lanzhou China LBRT: Anning Road Silver
Brisbane, Queensland Australia Brisbane BRT: South East Busway Silver
Bogotá Colombia TransMilenio: Autonorte and Caracas Silver
Pereira Colombia Megabús Silver
Barranquilla Colombia TransMetro Silver
Cali Colombia MIO Silver
Curitiba Brazil Rede Integrada de Transporte: Corridor North, Corridor South,
Corridor East, Corridor West, and Corridor Boqueirão
Sao Paulo Brazil Expresso Tiradentes Silver
Mexico City Mexico Metrobús: Line 1, Line 2, and Line 3 Silver
Mexico (state) Mexico Mexibús Silver
Leon Mexico Optibus Silver
Quito Ecuador MetrobusQ: Ecovia, Trolebus, and Central-Norte Silver
Johannesburg South Africa Rea Vaya Phase 1A Silver
Rouen France TEOR: Line 1, Line 2, and Line 3 Silver
Cleveland, Ohio United States Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority: HealthLine Silver
Ahmedabad India Janmarg: Narol-Naroda and RTO-Maninagar Silver
Jakarta Indonesia TransJakarta: Corridor 1 (Blok M to Kota Station) Silver
Belo Horizonte Brazil MOVE: Antônio Carlos[14] Silver
Rio de Janeiro Brazil Transolímpica Silver
Uberlândia Brazil Estrutural Sudeste Silver
Uberaba Brazil Vetor Leste-Oeste Silver
Buenos Aires Argentina Metrobus Bronze
Guayaquil Ecuador Guayaquil BRT: Guasmo-Río Daule and Bastión-Centro Bronze
São Paulo (state) Brazil Corredor Metropolitano, São Mateus – Jabaquara (ABD) Bronze
Los Angeles, California United States Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority: Orange Line Bronze
Eugene, Oregon United States Lane Transit District: Emerald Express Green Line Bronze
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania United States Port Authority of Allegheny County: Martin Luther King Jr. East Busway Bronze
Las Vegas, Nevada United States Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada: Strip & Downtown Express Bronze
Nantes France Semitan: Nantes Busway Line 4 Bronze
Cambridge United Kingdom The Busway: Route A Bronze
Ottawa, Ontario Canada OC Transpo: Transitway Bronze
Beijing China Beijing BRT: Line 1: Nanzhongzhou, Line 2: Chaoyang Road,
Line 3: Anding Road, Line 4: Rucheng Road – Fushi Road
Changzhou China Changzhou BRT: Tongijang Road – Laodong Road – Lanling Road –
Wuji Road – Mingxin Road (North-South),
Huaide Road – Yanling Road – Dongfangxi Road (East-West)
Jinan China Jinan BRT: Lishan Road, Second Ring Road East, Aoti Middle Road,
Beiyuan Elevated Road (East West)
Mexico City Mexico Metrobús: Line 4 Bronze
Cape Town South Africa MyCiTi: Phase 1A Bronze
Brasília Brazil Expresso DF Sul Bronze
Goiânia Brazil Eixo Anhanguera Bronze
Kuala Lumpur Malaysia Rapid KL: BRT Sunway Line[15] Bronze

Note: If a transit system is named, but no specific corridors or lines, the entire system is implemented in BRT technology.


The BRT Standard has been criticized by some because the potential unintended consequences it may have on transport policies in some cities.[further explanation needed] In response to that criticism, it has been said that the Standard should be understood as a scoring tool that can motivate cities to develop high quality mass transit corridors rather than low-end corridors that are only presented as BRT by name.[10]

See also[edit]

  • Bus rapid transit creep — alleged application of the term "BRT" to bus systems that fall short of its design and performance standards


  1. ^ Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) (2016). "About the Standard: What's New in 2016?". ITDP. Retrieved 2019-04-11.
  2. ^ Goldmark, Alex. BRT Systems Getting an International Rating Standard WNYC 01 May 2012.
  3. ^ a b c "Recapturing Global Leadership in Bus Rapid Transit: A Survey of Select U.S. Cities". ITDP: Institute for Transportation and Development Policy. Institute for Transportation and Development Policy. Retrieved 2014-05-23.
  4. ^ a b Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) (2016). "About the Standard: What's New in 2016?". ITDP. Retrieved 2019-04-11.
  5. ^ Greenfield, John (2013-03-12). "Taking the Guesswork Out of Rating BRT: An Interview With Walter Hook | Streetsblog Chicago". Retrieved 2013-08-19.
  6. ^ "Institute for Transportation and Development Policy: The BRT Standard 2014 Committee". ITDP. Retrieved 2013-08-19.
  7. ^ a b c "Institute for Transportation and Development Policy: Scorecard". ITDP. Retrieved 2014-02-06.
  8. ^ "Institute for Transportation and Development Policy: BRT Basics". ITDP. Retrieved 2014-02-06.
  9. ^ "2013 Corridor Rankings". Institute for Transportation and Development Policy. Retrieved 2014-06-22.
  10. ^ a b Malouff, Dan (2013-01-17). "The US has only 5 true BRT corridors, and none are "gold"". Greater Greater Washington. Retrieved 2013-04-19.
  11. ^ a b "The BRT Standard". Institute for Transportation and Development Policy. Institute for Transportation and Development Policy. 21 June 2016. Retrieved 17 July 2017.
  12. ^ a b "ART System Receives Rare Gold Standard from ITDP". GlobeNewswire News Room. Retrieved 2018-03-06.
  13. ^ "Avaliação BRT MOVE Cristiano Machado". Retrieved 2017-07-08.
  14. ^ "Relatório de Recomendações do Sistema MOVE – Antônio Carlos". Retrieved 2017-07-08.
  15. ^ BRT Sunway Line standard score[permanent dead link]