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Bus Rapid Transit Evaluation

Overview

An important component of the BRT Demonstration Program is to evaluate participating projects. The lessons of these evaluations can be applied to the development of other participating projects as well as new projects elsewhere. The first project to be evaluated is Honolulu's CityExpress! The U.S. Department of Transportation's Volpe Center will do this evaluation. Based on this first evaluation, detailed guidelines for subsequent evaluations of other Demonstration Projects will be developed.

Reports

Boston Silver Line BRT System Evaluation

This Boston Silver Line Evaluation (Washington Street – Phase 1) is intended to support FTA’s ongoing research on bus rapid transit (BRT) project planning, development and implementation. This report presents a comprehensive assessment of the applications of BRT elements in the Washington Street corridor, per the evaluation framework outlined in the Characteristics of Bus Rapid Transit (CBRT) report. Information is presented on a broad range of applications of key elements of BRT – running ways, stations, vehicles, fare collection, intelligent transportation systems (ITS), and service and operating plans. This evaluation also investigates system performance in several key areas, including reducing travel time, improving reliability, providing identity and a quality image, improving safety and security, and increasing capacity. The evaluation concludes with an assessment of important system benefits, including transportation system benefits (increasing ridership, and improving capital cost effectiveness and operating efficiency) and community benefits (transit-supportive development and environmental quality).

For additional information, please contact Karen Facen.

Bus Rapid Transit Vehicle Demand and Supply Analysis

The Bus Rapid Transit Vehicle Demand and Supply Analysis report was sponsored by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and released in 2003.  The FTA Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Initiative supports demonstrations of BRT in selected cities across the United States.  The report presents data from interviews with transit properties about their BRT plans from 2002 to 2012.  The “demand” portion compiles information about the quantities of vehicles, delivery timing and vehicle preferences, such as vehicle type, dimensions, floor height, population, image and appearance, as well as supporting technologies, such as automated vehicle location (AVL), signal priority, cashless fares, and other infrastructure.  The “supply” discussions with manufactures emphasize the vehicles as part of a BRT system.  An aggregate view is developed about the ability to supply vehicles for BRT now and in the near future.  Implications are drawn from combining of the community and the manufacturer study results.  The implications concentrate on the preferences for vehicle characteristics and what issues the manufacturing sector may face with these preferences.  What emerges is a perspective on the vehicle features desired to support BRT plans, the factors affecting availability of the vehicles with these features, and a set of proximate topics that overlay the availability issues important for future industry dialog. 

For further information about this report contact Karen.Facen@dot.gov.

Evaluation of Port Authority of Allegheny County’s West Busway Bus Rapid Transit Project

The Evaluation of Port Authority of Allegheny County's West Busway Bus Rapid Transit Project (PDF) evaluates one of FTA’s Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) demonstration projects, Pittsburgh, PA’s, West Busway. The Port Authority of Allegheny County had a network of busways and light rail lines in place in the northern, southern, and eastern areas of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.The West Busway consists of five miles of exclusive bus right-of-way and an exclusive interchange for buses with the Parkway West (I-279) in the Borough of Carnegie. Via direct bus service that ends beyond the busway, the West Busway connects the Pittsburgh International Airport and businesses surrounding the Airport and along Parkway West with downtown Pittsburgh and other employment and activity centers in the area. The West Busway is intended to improve mobility and transit access.

The following BRT components are demonstrated in this system: exclusive busway, enhanced stations, simplified route structure, limited stops, signal priority, high operating speed, multi-modal interfaces. The goal of the Port Authority for the West Busway is to improve mobility within the increasingly congested Parkway West corridor.

Approximately 45 buses per peak period use the busway in the peak direction.  Speeds on the busway portion of West Busway routes are approximately 30 mph, which compares with 19 mph on routes prior to the re-direction section to the busway.

The following points identify summary results of this evaluation.

  • Buses using the busway are more reliable (68%) in adherence to schedule than busesoperating on city and county roads;
  • Operation on the West Busway has reduced passenger wait time by 78%;
  • Accidents occur less frequently on the busway;
  • Drivers reported vehicle breakdown area easier to deal with on the West Busway, and
  • A comparison of the average speed of routes before and after the West Busway indicates an average increase of 2.4 mph (13%) after routes were diverted onto the busway, counting the entire route not just the portion of the busway.

For additional information, please contact Karen.Facen@dot.gov.

Honolulu Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Project Evaluation

The Honolulu Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Project Evaluation Final Report is intended to support FTA’s ongoing research on bus rapid transit (BRT) project planning, development and implementation. This report presents a comprehensive assessment of the applications of BRT elements in Honolulu, per the evaluation framework outlined in the Characteristics of Bus Rapid Transit (CBRT) report. Information is presented on a broad range of applications of key elements of BRT – running ways, stations, vehicles, fare collection, intelligent transportation systems (ITS), and service and operating plans. This evaluation also investigates system performance in several key areas, including reducing travel time, improving reliability, providing identity and a quality image, improving safety and security, and increasing capacity. The evaluation concludes with an assessment of important system benefits, including transportation system benefits (increasing ridership, and improving capital cost effectiveness and operating efficiency) and community benefits (transit-supportive development and environmental quality).

For additional information, please contact Karen Facen.

ITS Enhanced Bus Rapid Transit

This report was sponsored by the Federal Transit Administration and released in 2003.  The research effort was prepared to explore the relationships between Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) technologies in order to determine the best set of ITS enhancements to optimize overall BRT performance.  Specifically, this research attempts to articulate appropriate sets of ITS technologies for various BRT operational configurations.  There are three objectives:  research and document ITS technologies applicable to BRT; identify the ITS technologies utilized in current BRT projects; and examine opportunities to enhance specified BRT projects.

For additional information, please contact Karen Facen.

Las Vegas Metropolitan Area Express (MAX) BRT Demonstration Project Evaluation

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Area Express (MAX) BRT Demonstration Project Evaluation Report is intended to support FTA’s ongoing research on bus rapid transit project planning, development and implementation. This report presents a comprehensive assessment of the applications of BRT elements on the MAX system, per the evaluation framework outlined in the Characteristics of Bus Rapid Transit (CBRT) report. Information is presented on a broad range of applications of key elements of BRT – running ways, stations, vehicles, fare collection, intelligent transportation systems (ITS), and service and operating plans. This evaluation also investigates MAX system performance in several key areas, including travel times savings, improving reliability, providing identity and a quality image, improving safety and security, and increasing capacity. The evaluation concludes with an assessment of important system benefits, including transportation system benefits (increasing ridership, and improving capital cost effectiveness and operating efficiency) and community benefits (transit-supportive development and environmental quality).

For additional information, please contact Karen Facen.

Lynx LYMMO Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Evaluation

The Lynx LYMMO Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Evaluation Report was sponsored by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and released in 2003.  The objective of the evaluation was to document and assess the Lynx LYMMO BRT service in downtown Orlando, Florida as one of the newest and innovative applications of BRT service in Florida and the U.S.  In partnership with the Lynx (transit operator), Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), and the FTA, the National Bus Rapid Transit Institute (NBRTI) conducted an objective evaluation of the LYMMO BRT service. 

The final report contains a comprehensive profile of the LYMMO system from inception to operation including a historical narrative, engineering and construction, communications, and institutional documentation.   In addition, the final report provides an evaluation of the performance of the LYMMO by identifying current performance strengths and weaknesses, customer satisfaction, effectiveness of technology in meeting original project goals, and the benefits of the LYMMO to the downtown Orlando and Central Florida community.  Finally, the report concludes with an overall assessment of the LYMMO’s various technology applications, financial feasibility compared to alternate public transit modes considered for downtown Orlando, the LYMMO’s operational performance, and overall performance of the LYMMO in meeting the original goals of the project.

For additional information, please contact Karen Facen.

San Pablo BRT Project Evaluation (PDF)

South Miami-Dade Busway System Summary Evaluation

The South Miami-Dade Busway System Evaluation provides an initial record and analysis of the newly implemented Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system.  Information compiled and presented in this document acts as an historical summary, including details of system characteristics, ridership data, marketing efforts and the use of technologies.  Results extracted through an on-board survey distributed among Busway users serve as a review of the system.  The National Bus Rapid Transit Institute (NBRTI) completed the assessment of the Busway system with assistance from the Miami-Dade Transit Authority and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA).

The FTA has determined the South Miami-Dade Busway as one of its BRT demonstration projects.  The demonstration projects, located throughout the United States, were selected based on a solicitation published in the Federal Register and are to be evaluated by the FTA.  The aim of the BRT Demonstration Initiative is to implement features of successful BRT systems located throughout the world in a manner that will be compatible with conditions in the U.S.  The purpose of the evaluation of each site is to determine what specifications are the most effective among BRT systems and the types of features that benefit and hinder the operation of the system in order to develop an approach to BRT that is suitable within the U.S.

The objectives of the FTA’s Demonstration efforts are to improve bus service, operations and ridership through improved bus speeds and schedule adherence.  The FTA specifically aims to minimize the effect on other traffic and local businesses, determine the benefits of Intelligent Transportation Systems/Automated Public Transportation Systems and evaluate the effect BRT systems have on land use and development.

For additional information, please contact Karen Facen.

TCRP Report 90, Volume 1: Case Studies in Bus Rapid Transit

TCRP Report 90:  Bus Rapid Transit, Volume 1:  Case studies in Bus Rapid Transit, identifies the potential range of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) applications through 26 case studies.  It also provides information on BRT applications, planning and implementation backgrounds, and system descriptions, including the operations and performance elements of BRT.

BRT systems are found in cities throughout the world.  Their operating flexibility and their ability to be built quickly, incrementally, and economically underlie their growing popularity.  The systems vary in design, operations, usage, and effectiveness.  Collectively, the case studies on BRT provided on the CD-ROM accompanying this volume, provide a wealth of information on BRT and how it should be planned and implemented.  This report draws on the experienced of 26 urban areas in North America, Australia, Europe, and South America.  Most of the BRT systems reviewed are in revenue services, and a few are under constructions or development.  Information was assembled for each case study on institutional arrangements, system design, operating practices, usage, costs, and benefits.

The Federal Transit Administration, in cooperation with the Transit Development Corporation, sponsored this research.  TCRP Report 90:  Volume 1 is a published report from the Transit Cooperative Research Program and is available from the Transportation Research Board (TRB), Business Office, 500 Fifth Street, NW, Washington D.C.  2001 and can be ordered through the Internet at http:www.national-academies.org/trb/bookstore.  This report is accompanied by a CD ROM.

TCRP Report 90:  Volume 1 can be found at www.trb.org

Vehicle Catalog, A Compendium of Vehicles for Bus Rapid Transit Service

Vehicle Catalog, A Compendium of Vehicles for Bus Rapid Transit Service, contains a summary of information of vehicles offered for Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) service by various manufacturers.  An overview of key contact links are also included to provide a convenient research tool or to request additional information directly from the various organizations.   The intent of this document is to disseminate information on clean transportation vehicles for potential use in BRT systems.  This document was developed with WestStart-CALSTART in partnership with the FTA.

Together FTA and WestStart-CALSTART are playing a vital role in the mainstreaming of BRT in the United States, with a strong focus on cleaner, quieter and fuel-efficient vehicles, new vehicle concepts, and vehicle development strategies.

You may download the Vehicle Catalog report at http://www.calstart.org/programs/brt/vehiclecatalog.php

For more information about the report, please contact Karen Facen.

Updated: Thursday, March 17, 2016
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