Promoting Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)

APEIS/RISPO Strategic Policy Options (SPOs) Database
Discussion Paper

Bus rapid transit (BRT) is a system that emphasises priority for and rapid movement of buses by securing segregated busways. BRT is also called other names including “high-capacity bus systems,” “high-quality bus systems”, “metro-bus” “express bus systems,” “busway systems,” and “surface metro systems”. The extent of dedicated infrastructure and the level of sophistication of different systems vary considerably depending on the case. Well planned BRTs have high capacities to carry passengers and can provide comfortable, rapid, and low-cost public transport alternatives. BRTs started in Curitiba (Brazil) and are becoming widespread in the region including Bogota (Columbia), and Quito (Equador), and have proved to be a very cost effective alternative. In North America, a number of cities have begun to develop BRT systems, including Ottawa (Canada), Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, and Honolulu (the United States). In Oceania, Brisbane and Adelaide (Australia) have BRT systems. In Europe, BRTs are becoming increasingly common in cities in the United Kingdom, including Leeds, London, Reading, and Ispwich. Cities in Asia are starting to introduce BRT, such as the systems in Nagoya (Japan), Taipei (China), Jakarta (Indonesia), and Seoul (Korea). Introductions of BRT are being considered in Beijing (P.R. China), Bangkok (Thailand), Delhi, Hyderabad (India), and Dhaka (Bangladesh).

- To provide citizens high quality (safe, reliable, and fast) and environmentally friendly public transport at a relatively low cost
- To adapt land use requirements to the socio-economic development of the city

Environmental Areas:
Climate change, air pollution, urban environment

Applicable geographic area and socio-economic conditions:
1. Geographic conditions
- Small-medium cities with high density as the major component of the public transport system
- Large urban areas with rail-based system as a feeder of the rail services
- Along a corridor which has high passenger volume and enough width of the road for segregated busways. It is said that BRTs will be best introduced where existing demand exceeds 5,000 passengers per hour per direction
2. Socio-economic conditions
- Strong political will is needed
- Easier to be integrated with land planning if the city is in an early stage of development

by whom: Local governments, private sector (bus operating companies, fare collection companies), planning institutes
for whom: Passengers in the city

Time span:
A focused BRT planning project can be reasonably completed in 12 to 18 months, depending greatly on the complexity of the project and on other local conditions.

Expected impacts:
Diversion of passengers from private automobile use to public transport is expected, which will reduce air pollution, emission of CO2, and congestion. Improvement of fuel economy is expected due to reduction in congestion. Fuel economy will also be increased if high capacity buses and or cleaner buses are introduced.


APEIS/RISPO Strategic Policy Options (SPOs) Database: