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Posted at 6:16 PM ET, 03/ 9/2011

The problem of BRT creep

By Dan Malouff

Can the U.S. make Bus Rapid Transit work as well as Latin America? Tanya Snyder asks that question in a post on GGW and Streetsblog.

BRT systems in places like Bogota and Curitiba have narrowed the gap between bus and rail, producing BRT lines nearly as good as subways. If they produce such great BRT, why should American BRT be considered the little sister of rail?

The answer is something I call “BRT creep”. Putting aside the inherent differences between bus and rail, one of the big problems I see with BRT is that it’s too easy to strip down. There are too many corners you can cut that save a lot of money and only degrade service a little bit. You put your BRT in HOV lanes or regular travel lanes instead of dedicated lanes, or you build “stops” rather than more luxurious “stations”, or you leave out pre-pay, or you don’t give buses signal priority, or you don’t give your BRT unique branding, or whatever. There are a thousand corners like that you can cut that individually may or may not hurt too much, but collectively add up to the difference between BRT and a regular bus.

[Continue reading Dan Malouff's post here at BeyondDC.]

Dan Malouff is an Arlington County transportation planner who blogs independently at The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.

By Dan Malouff  | March 9, 2011; 6:16 PM ET
Categories:  HotTopic, Local blog network, traffic, transportation  
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Too true.

Also, people in this area see transit as being premium--i.e., rail--or basic--i.e., bus.

BRT falls into the "bus" category no matter how you dress it up. In areas that don't have rail, it may be possible to sell BRT as a premium transit option.

Posted by: krickey7 | March 10, 2011 10:17 AM | Report abuse

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