April 10, 2012
A global database of bus rapid transit (BRT) systems was recently released by EMBARQ (the World Resource Institute's Center for Sustainable Transport) and the Across Latitudes and Cultures-Bus Rapid Transit Centre of Excellence (ALC-BRT CoE), in collaboration with the International Energy Agency (IEA). The tool provides data on BRT systems in 134 cities and contains 95 indicators tracking features such as system cost, passengers per day, user fares, the corridor length and speed, and physical characteristics of the corridor and vehicles used. The database tracks BRT corridors, buses with a high level of service (BHLS), and improved bus corridors that have bus priority upgrades along at least half of their length. Bus priority upgrades include features like bus lanes and traffic signal priority.
BRT is a cost-effective way to provide transit service to underserved and difficult to serve areas. While the CMAP region has no BRT or improved bus corridors in the database, BRT and express bus improvements are being planned or evaluated in multiple corridors within the region. The City of Chicago recently received a grant from the Federal Transit Administration to develop a BRT corridor in downtown Chicago, while the CTA received a grant to implement a BRT corridor on Jeffery Boulevard. Pace also recently implemented an express Bus on Shoulder pilot project on I-55 and has expanded that service due to its popularity. Additionally, the Tollway and RTA were awarded federal funding to study methods to integrate transit in managed lanes on I-90 and have been proceeding with this analysis as part of the work of the I-90 corridor planning council. Finally, GO TO 2040 recommends several capital projects that have the potential to utilize BRT. These include a multimodal corridor on I-290 as well as the proposed Elgin-O'Hare Expressway/Western Bypass and Central Lake County Corridor.