Moving Australia



 

Bus Rapid Transit

What is Bus Rapid Transit?


Bus Rapid Transit is a public transportation system that provides faster, more efficient service than an ordinary bus line. Often this is achieved by making improvements to existing infrastructure, vehicles and scheduling. The goal is to approach the service quality of rail transit while still enjoying the cost savings and flexibility of bus transit.

 

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is a high-quality bus based transit system that delivers fast, comfortable and cost effective urban mobility through [1] :

 

A BRT system can use existing road systems or be built with dedicated pathways and station systems depending on the resources available for the project.

 

Key features of BRT systems include [2]:

 

 

 

BRT offers cost effective, environmentally beneficial and high performance mass transit where population density often does not justify the construction of costly fixed rail systems and the need for greater flexibility in route mapping is better served by wheel-to-road transport systems.

 

 

 

BRT Systems in Australia

 

There are BRT systems in operation throughout capital cities in Australia including the Brisbane Busways System, the Adelaide Busway and the Sydney to Liverpool Transitway and the Melbourne Smart Bus System.

 

The Cairns Transit Network, to begin construction in 2013, is the first BRT system to be implemented in a non-capital city.

 

The network will improve public transport by giving buses priority by either providing separate transit lanes or dedicated bus-only roads.

 

The ACT Government has announced a Busway system for the south of Canberra to begin construction in 2013 and is considering BRT for the Northbourne Avenue precinct rapid transit system.

 

Figure 1: A comparison of BRT Systems in operation in Australia[3]

 

 

How much does BRT cost?

 

A BRT system will typically cost 4 to 20 times less than an equivalent Light Rail system and up to 100 times less than an equivalent metro rail system. [4]

 

There are a number of ways in which BRT can save on cost:

 

  • BRT systems can save millions of dollars in cheaper initial build costs and construction times as well as reductions in traffic and neighbourhood disruption during construction.
  • BRT systems can carry the same number of people as light rail systems for a typical cost of four to twenty less times than an LRT system and 10 to 100 times less than a heavy rail system.
  • By using existing road systems BRT can be built in phases and integrated with existing road systems.
  • BRT offers almost immediate public transport solutions and comes with cost effective expansion options.
  • For the Australian urban environment the build cost of the Busways system in Brisbane is estimated to be $10million per kilometre less than the costs of an equivalent LRT system and the Adelaide North East Busway at less than $10 million per kilometre in infrastructure costs is significantly cheaper than any LRT options.[5]

 

 

Figure 2: Capital costs per mile of Light Rail versus BRT systems[6]

 



Figure 3: Total infrastructure costs per kilometre of BRT systems[7]

 


 

What are the Benefits of BRT?

 

In corridors where it has been implemented Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) has delivered well documented modal shift travel time savings and operational benefits. (See table 1)

 

There has been less documentation of the secondary and co-benefits of BRT in relation to pre-existing bus systems and in comparison with alternative modes such as light rail.

 

Secondary benefits flowing from the implementation of BRT include [8]:

 

  •  Land use – positive changes to land use including transit oriented development.
  •  Land value – impacts of BRT on land value along corridors and in relation to distance from station.
  • Accessibility – increased accessibility to public transport along BRT corridors.
  • Modal shift to walking and cycling – increased pedestrianisation of land and consequent impacts on mode share of active transport.
  • Employment – ancillary growth in employment as a result of BRT related development.
  • Time savings in bus operating times five minutes and eight to nine minutes generate secondary benefits by causing mode shift.
  • Time savings above nine minutes acting to change land use in a positive manner.

 

Figure 1: Suggested Theoretical Model of Secondary Transit Priority Impacts[9] 

This model is of course predicted on significant time travel impacts being achieved by the implementation of BRT. The following table on page 3 documents the significant time travel impacts of BRT systems including the Adelaide North East Busway, the Brisbane South East Busway and the Euclid Avenue Busway in Cleveland which features on the proposed BRT Study Tour from the BIC.

 

Table 1: Documentation of Transit Priority Mode Shift Impact Evidence[10] (Currie and Sarvi, 2011)

 

 

 

 

Positive land use impacts related to BRT development are outlined in the following table.

Table 2: Land Development Impacts Related to BRT[11] 


 

Analysis of the Beijing Southern Axis BRT line demonstrates locations near BRT projects have increased development, particularly in high-density residential construction.

The BRT line has significantly improved public transport accessibility for communities along its route and this accessibility has been capitalised into higher real estate prices.

This increase in the attractiveness of residence along the BRT corridor has, in addition to land use improvements through transit oriented development and land value increases has increased employment opportunities in BRT station areas. [12]

Figure 2 provides a comparison of property prices which fell into the catchment areas for the Beijing Southern Axis BRT line against control areas not serviced by the BRT. While both areas grew rapidly the growth in property prices in the BRT catchment area was higher. Of note, also, was the growth in property prices in the catchment area began at construction phase.

Figure 2: Comparison of Property Prices in Catchment and Control Areas.[13]


From 2003 to 2009, the average price of apartments adjacent to a BRT station gained a relatively faster increase (4.61% annually) than those not served by the BRT system: an annual increase of 59.04% in catchment areas and 54.43% in control areas. The asking prices of apartments in BRT catchment areas (500 metres radius of a BRT station) was 1.67%, 0.96% and 10.27% higher than those in control areas in 2003 (planning phase), 2004 (construction phase) and 2009 (5 years after the BRT operation) respectively.

The asking price of properties (single-family and units in multi-family apartments) in the catchment area was between 13% and 14% higher than that in the control area, using price changes of residential properties between 2001 and 2006.

This result is comparable with the finding by Rodríguez and Mojica (2009), examining the property value uplift resulting from Bogotá`s BRT system extension.

Quantitative modelling for the US urban environment indicates that a property 1,000 feet away from a BRT station is valued approximately $9,745 less than a property 100 feet away, all else constant (this figure is determined by summing the marginal effects for each foot of distance), a relatively high figure in comparison to light rail systems.[14]

Analysis of the Transmilenio system in Bogota also demonstrates the access benefits of transport investment, in this case investment into BRT, is capitalised into increased property values and that this capitalisation of accessibility benefits stimulates growth by making land parcels more attractive. [15]

This has flow on benefits in making land not previously considered for development attractive and making attracting redevelopment. This is the basis for transit oriented development along these corridors. [16]

Figure 3: Flow chart of transport investment and property development.[17]

 

Transit oriented development (TOD) relating to BRT corridors is well documented and Currie (2006) examined the strengths and challenges of BRT in TOD relative to rail. BRT TODs can provide an important complementary function in supporting both rail TOD and BRT-based TOD programs by expanding the benefits of TOD on a more comprehensive scale. [18]

In measuring land use impacts of BRT the employment generation benefits of BRT has been investigated, in a limited capacity.

The predominant focus of research into the employment impacts of BRT is in spatial planning for employment dispersion and the maintenance of low density housing in city areas.

In Ottawa, Ontario, decision makers and planners have developed a multi-centered regional structure for the area.

Ottawa, the dominant center, is surrounded by primary and secondary employment centers. Under the Official Plan, downtown Ottawa is to remain the dominant employment center for the region. (Today, the downtown accounts for 28 percent of regional employment.) Nine primary employment centers will incorporate 5,000 or more jobs; each of these employment centers must be within 400 m of existing or future transitway stations.

Secondary employment centers will provide 2,000 to 5,000 jobs. These centers can be off the transitway but must have access to efficient transit services. The cornerstone for achieving this vision is Ottawa's exclusive busway system—the most extensive in North America—which captures 70 percent of CBD work-related trips. [19]

The most comprehensive examination of the employment generation impacts of BRT presents an analysis of construction phase and operational phase of systems and the quality of employment stemming from the project.  

A new BRT system will likely represent a dramatic transformation of the proposed corri­dors. As with any project of this magnitude, the system will generate a considerable amount of employment through the construction process. [20]

Due to the emphasis on high-quality infrastruc­ture and services, BRT employment can range from artisan work on stations to the direct labour applied to road work.  A BRT system also generally brings with it significant improvements in the quality of the employment as well. The improved efficiency and lower operating costs in the new system will improve overall profitability. A primary difference between the BRT and non-BRT scenario in congested corridors would be that for the non-BRT scenario, after a certain number of years, population and employment growth in the corridor would stop, whereas in the BRT corridor it would continue at historical growth rates. [21]

How does BRT Perform as Mass Transit

  • BRT has been very successful in attracting ridership growth on operating corridors throughout the world and has demonstrated great success in moving existing public transport users and motor vehicle users on to mass transit in Brisbane and Adelaide.
  • High performance BRT systems have the capacity to move around 40,000 passengers per hour in one direction.
  • BRT offers operational flexibility by giving operators the opportunity to offer all-stop and express services in urban corridors.
  • BRT roadways can be shared with high occupancy vehicles, taxis, off-peak freight vehicles and emergency vehicles to help ease urban congestion and improve road safety.
  • By presenting the opportunity for a “Rail- Like” look and feel at a significantly lower vehicle cost BRT can attract users who normally avoid bus-based public transport.

 

Figure 4: Market data for existing Australian BRT Systems[22]


Figure 5: The capacity capability of various modes of mass transit[23] 

 


Figure 6: Passengers per hour in one direction of BRT systems[24] 

 

The Environmental Performance of BRT

 

  • BRT can produce significantly greater Carbon Dioxide (CO2) reductions than LRT systems
  • The electricity used in LRT generated from fossil fuels produces a large amount of CO2 and because BRT costs significantly less to build than LRT more services can be provided, thereby reducing motor vehicle use across a wider geographical area and amongst a higher number of commuters
  • Recent studies have shown only medium and high investment BRT systems can reduce transport related CO2 emissions
  • Using the right combinations of vehicle capacity and fuel technology BRT systems can achieve significantly higher reductions in emissions than LRT systems over a 20 year life of the project
  • BRT systems have been shown to be quieter and more energy efficient than equivalent LRT systems. 

Figure 7: Comparative analysis of the environmental performance of LRT and BRT systems with different fuel technologies[25]

 

 

[1] Wright, L. and Hook, W (eds).  2007, Bus Rapid Transit  Planning Guide, Institute for Transportation and Development Policy, New York.

 

[2] Ibid.,

[3] Currie, G. 2006, Bus Rapid Transit in Australasia: Performance, Lessons Learned and Futures, Journal of Public Transportation, 2006 Special Edition.  

[4] Wright, L. and Hook, W (eds).  2007, Bus Rapid Transit  Planning Guide, Institute for Transportation and Development Policy, New York.

[5] Currie, G. 2006, Bus Rapid Transit in Australasia: Performance, Lessons Learned and Futures, Journal of Public Transportation, 2006 Special Edition

[6] Ibid.,

[7] Hensher, D. 2008, Frequency and Connectivity: the Key Drivers of Reform in Urban Public Transport Provision, Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies, University of Sydney.

[8] Currie, G., and M. Sarvi. 2012. A New Model for the Secondary Benefits of Transit Priority, Paper Number 12-0720, submitted for publication and presentation, Transport Research Record.

[9] Ibid.,

[10] Currie, G., and M. Sarvi. 2012. A New Model for the Secondary Benefits of Transit Priority, Paper Number 12-0720, submitted for publication and presentation, Transport Research Record. 

[11] Deng, T, and J.Nelson. 2010. The Impact of Bus Rapid Transit on Land Development: A Case Study of Beijing, China. World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology 66. 

[12] Ibid., 

[13] Deng, T., and J.Nelson. 2010. The Impact of Bus Rapid Transit on Land Development: A Case Study of Beijing, China. World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology 66. 

[14] US Department of Transportation. 2009. Land Use Impacts of Bus Rapid Transit: Effects of BRT Station Proximity on Property Values along the Martin Luther King, Jr East Busway. Federal Transit Administration.

[15] Rodriguez, A.D., and C.H. Mojica. 2008. Land Value Impacts of Bus: the Case of Bogota’s Transmilenio, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.

[16] Rodriguez, A.D., and C.H. Mojica. 2008. Land Value Impacts of Bus: the Case of Bogota’s Transmilenio, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.

[17] Ibid., 

[18] Currie, G. 2006. Bus Transit Oriented Development: Strengths and Challenges Related to Rail. Monash University.

[19] Transportation Research Board. 1996. Transit and Urban Form, Part IV: Public Policy and Transit Oriented Development, Six Case Studies. National Research Council.

[20] Wright, L. and Hook, W (eds).  2007, Bus Rapid Transit  Planning Guide, Institute for Transportation and Development Policy, New York.

[21] Ibid.,

[22] Currie, G. 2006, Bus Rapid Transit in Australasia: Performance, Lessons Learned and Futures, Journal of Public Transportation, 2006 Special Edition 

[23] Hensher, D. 2008, Frequency and Connectivity: the Key Drivers of Reform in Urban Public Transport Provision, Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies, University of Sydney. 

[24] Hensher, D. 2008, Frequency and Connectivity: the Key Drivers of Reform in Urban Public Transport Provision, Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies, University of Sydney. 

[25] Vincent, W., and Jerram, L.C., 2006, The Potential for Bus Rapid Transit to Reduce Transportation Related CO2 Emissions,  Journal of Public Transportation, 2006 Special Edition 








 

By visiting this website, viewing, accessing or otherwise using any of the services or information created, collected, compiled or submitted you agree to be bound by the following the full terms of the OzeBusDisclaimer.
If you do not want to be bound by our the terms of our Disclaimer your only option is not to visit, view or otherwise use the services of the OzeBus website. Read the full OzebusDisclaimer.



Copyright © 2014 Bus Industry Confederation Inc. All rights reserved Terms | Contact Us