The example of Curitiba, Brazil and experience in the U.S. illustrate the potential of improved bus services to address mobility needs in metropolitan areas. Buses provide flexible and cost-effective public transportation. Metropolitan areas throughout the U.S. can build on the experience of Curitiba and other cities to develop Bus Rapid Transit systems that provide fast, reliable, and convenient service in cities and suburbs.
Upgrading the performance of bus services to meet the objectives of Bus Rapid Transit will require policies that give priority to bus operations and provide for investment in crucial system components: infrastructure that separates bus operations from general-purpose traffic; facilities that provide for increased comfort and system visibility; and technology that provides for faster and more reliable operations. New guidance, information, and fare technologies offer an expanded range of possibilities for operating bus systems that have the potential to produce marked improvements in performance, surpassing previous standards and changing public perceptions of bus service. High-quality bus operations have the potential to create new, improved land use options that provide for compact, pedestrian-friendly and environmentally-sensitive development patterns that preserve neighborhoods and open space. Bus Rapid Transit thus will have maximum benefit when developed in close coordination with land use policies and community development plans.
Implementation of Bus Rapid Transit poses a number of challenges, ranging from the need for adequate cross sections on city streets to provide separate rights-of-way for buses, to maintaining the quality of general-purpose traffic flow and minimizing local noise and air quality impacts. These challenges require detailed analysis in the context of specific local applications to identify appropriate solutions and to determine where Bus Rapid Transit can have the greatest benefit. Bus Rapid Transit is a concept that merits widespread evaluation and consideration as an adaptable, effective public transportation alternative to automobiles that has the potential to meet a broad range of mobility needs and support an improved quality of life in U.S. metropolitan areas.
APTS Advanced Public Transportation Systems
AVL Automatic Vehicle Location
DOT Department of Transportation
FTA Federal Transit Administration
GPS Global Position System
HOV High-occupancy Vehicle
IPPUC Institute of Urban Research and Planning of Curitiba
ITS Intelligent Transportation System
MPO Metropolitan Planning Organization
U.S. United States
Volpe Center Volpe National Transportation Systems Center
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This document was sponsored by the United States Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Office of Research, Demonstration and Innovation. Bert Arrillaga, Chief of the Service Innovation Division in the Office of Mobility Innovation, provided guidance and overall direction for its content. Staff members from both the FTA and the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center (Volpe Center) participated in its writing. The major contributors were Mr. Joseph Goodman of FTAís Service Innovation Division; and Ms. Melissa Laube and Ms. Judith Schwenk of the Volpe Centerís Service Assessment Division in the Office of Research and Analysis. Technical assistance was provided by Mr. Paul Schimek, also of the Volpe Centerís Service Assessment Division.