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The Seven Keys to a Great Bus Rapid Transit System

Originally Published by Geri Rosenbrrg, Leader of Communities for Montgomery County.

The Seven Keys to a Great Bus Rapid Transit System:

    1. Give buses their own lanes. Traffic can become dense and slow when factoring in buses. Keeping BRT buses flowing makes trips far quicker and more reliable. Hartford, CT’s CTfastrak operates on dedicated BRT lanes making it a viable transit option.
    2. Run buses very frequently. Running buses frequently lets riders hop on a bus within minutes. Although one of the busiest cities in the US, Los Angeles’ Orange Line runs buses every 4 minutes despite traffic.
    3. Bus Rapid Transit Lanes. Public TransitHave traffic signals factor in buses. Having a Traffic Signal Priority (TSP) system in place can accommodate buses by either lengthening or shortening traffic lights for buses. Los Angeles’s MetroRapid system saves about a third of it’s time thanks to TSP.
    4. Make boarding quick. Boarding time can take up as much as 20% of bus travel time. Providing passengers with level boarding and easier ticket access reduces time spent en route. London, England has reduced travel time up to 75% with their off-boarding fare system.
    5. Make getting to bus stops safe and easy. Pathways that are safe and accessible such as protected bike lanes and wider walkways provide passengers with a quick and easy route to their bus stop. Los Angeles’ Orange Line has 18 miles of BRT with a mixed-use path running parallel that allows riders to live and work between stations giving them easier access.
    6. Give buses a cool brand. Unique branding draws passengers and distinguishes the BRT. In 2005, Ontario, Canada’s Viva system’s recognizable branding style helped increase ridership by 56% for its first year.
    7. Use bigger buses with better features. Bigger buses allow for more space for passengers. More features can add to a comfortable ride. In Fort Collins, on-board free Wifi gives riders the option to work, study or read while traveling.

BRT level bus stop
Photo Credits: Wolfram Burner & BeyondDC on Flickr

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