Asides, Beyond the Bay, Bus Rapid Transit

BRT in Action

BRT in action. Naysayers who claim that building dedicated BRT lanes will only increase traffic without removing cars off the road need look no further than Bogotá, Colombia, to see the difference that cost-effective but well-planned transit investments can make. TransMilenio, Bogotá’s BRT system, on average moves over twice as fast as Muni and carries roughly double the passengers on any given day. Bogotá is not the Bay Area, and in terms of population and density, the comparison is not a direct one, but planners should carefully study both domestic and foreign examples to see what would and would not work here, while remaining steadfast that Bay Area BRT projects be built with key characteristics — dedicated lanes, signal priority, well-placed stops, and comfortable stations — that will allow for truly effective and unhindered transportation. They should visit places like Bogotá to maintain their own vision, but for those of us who are not lucky enough to visit Bogotá, Streetsblog has posted a substantial video clip that gives us a flavor of TransMilenio in action.



5 thoughts on “BRT in Action

  1. Full BRT–exclusive ROW, signal preempts, POP, pre-boarding fare purchase can work well if carefully built. The big BUT however, is the political ability to do the full project. Recent Muni attempts to merely speed up existing lines have come acropper on neighborhood complaints (unjustified or not very loud and effective). In turn the T Third Street demonstrates that a badly designed/implemented Light Rail line can be worse than the previous mediocre bus service which fought its way through the traffic with NO BRT attributes.
    A poor BRT on Geary would be a disaster not only for riders, but tarnish Muni yet again.
    One should gemember that the Geary and Clement buses taken as a group carry more riders than any other bus route save the Second Ave line in Manhattan which 80 years lare is finally getting a replacement subway.

    Posted by david vartanoff | 29 January 2008, 2:39 pm
  2. Yes, David, as you point out, given the track record, it’s a very big “if” and “but” both. Excellent BRT on Geary has the opportunity to not only draw in new riders, but to better serve the 110K+ riders for the Richmond District lines running from California to Fulton. Both Van Ness and Geary will be important tests of Muni’s mettle. But the main point of linking to the video is that BRT as a medium in the abstract is sometimes not taken not as seriously as it ought to be.

    Posted by Eric | 29 January 2008, 3:12 pm
  3. the video is pretty mind-blowing, especially the dramatic impact in that urban environment. viva Colombia!

    i think the overall point of the piece and the comments above is that you have to do BRT right, not try to “cheat” with some cursory improvements.

    Posted by Anthony | 30 January 2008, 11:59 am


  1. Pingback: East Bay Express, BRT, and the Van Hools. Again. | A Better Oakland - 30 January 2008

  2. Pingback: Rapid Bus Minus « Transbay Blog - 19 May 2008

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