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BRT versus LRT: A Comprehensive Overview and Ridership Evaluation



Public transit has an important role not only in mitigating traffic congestion and improving the mobility but also contributing in land use management. Among public transit modes, semi rapid transit modes, which are BRT and LRT, offer higher mobility, reliable and comfort services. In the previous researches, long debates between BRT proponents and LRT proponents are addressed to prove the superiority of one mode to another. The objective of this paper is to discuss the main characteristics of each mode and highlight the main differences between them. In addition, a brief discussion about the ridership of each mode is presented based on some previous researches. These discussions ended with that each mode has its own characteristics and implementation circumstances; however, in some cases, BRT may be operated and upgraded latter to LRT. Generally, when considering the flexibility, BRT is superior and when considering the capacity, LRT is better. From the ridership perspective, LRT mostly has a higher ridership when compared to BRT because of many factors but mainly because the passengers link the BRT, which is a " bus " based mode, to the traditional bus service which has a bad image from the passengers' perspective.
BRT versus LRT: A Comprehensive Overview and Ridership Evaluation
Mostafa Mohammed, M.Sc.
Graduate Research and Teaching Assistant
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Alberta
Edmonton, AB,Canada
Maged Gouda, B.Sc.
M.Sc. student
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Alberta
Edmonton, AB,Canada
Tawfeek & Gouda April 2015
Public transit has an important role not only in mitigating traffic congestion and improving the
mobility but also contributing in land use management. Among public transit modes, semi rapid
transit modes, which are BRT and LRT, offer higher mobility, reliable and comfort services. In the
previous researches, long debates between BRT proponents and LRT proponents are addressed to
prove the superiority of one mode to another. The objective of this paper is to discuss the main
characteristics of each mode and highlight the main differences between them. In addition, a brief
discussion about the ridership of each mode is presented based on some previous researches. These
discussions ended with that each mode has its own characteristics and implementation
circumstances; however, in some cases, BRT may be operated and upgraded latter to LRT.
Generally, when considering the flexibility, BRT is superior and when considering the capacity,
LRT is better. From the ridership perspective, LRT mostly has a higher ridership when compared to
BRT because of many factors but mainly because the passengers link the BRT, which is a “bus
based mode, to the traditional bus service which has a bad image from the passengers perspective.
Key Words: Semi rapid transit, Bus Rapid Transit, Light Rail Transit, Ridership
Tawfeek & Gouda April 2015
Nowadays, all planners and transportation experts in all countries (i.e. developed and developing
countries) are focusing on the public transportation as an important tool to relief the traffic
congestion and to improve the mobility. Public transit can be defined as the mass transit with fixed
routes and schedules and available for all passengers who pay the fare (1). Buses, Bus Rapid Transit
(BRT), Rapid Rail Transit (RRT), Light Rail Transit (LRT), Metro, etc. are some common modes of
the public transit which provide diverse services to passengers. As the main goal of transportation is
to move people from one place to another, public transit modes were developed to provide not only
a better mobility and level of service for the passenger but also to mitigate the traffic congestion. In
addition, public transit is one of the corner stone of land use management (e.g. smart growth, transit-
oriented development, etc.). For instance, attracting more users to public transit from their private
cars is one of the principles of smart growth (2).
Among the different public transit modes, semi-rapid transit modes grew quickly in the last
decade as a step towards public transit development. Semi-rapid transit modes (i.e. BRT and LRT)
offer higher mobility services with reduction in congestion (from transportation experts point of
view) and reliable, comfort and affordable service (from the users point of view). These modes are
not mixed with the traffic to some extent, i.e. partially separated Right of Way (ROW) (3), so they
provide a better service than the regular bus. Moreover, construction costs of these modes are
relatively lower than the RRT and the Metro.
Between semi-rapid transit modes, a comparison should be studied to determine whether
BRT and LRT could work together and reinforce each other or these modes should be operated
separately. Consequently, the main objective of this report is to introduce a side of this comparison,
based on the characteristics and the ridership of each mode. In addition, this report will review some
previous BRT and LRT case studies in different cities around the world and the impact of each
mode on the ridership. The first and the second section define and describe briefly the main
characteristics of the BRT and the LRT. The third section stresses on the main differences between
the BRT and the LRT and how could they complement each other if possible. The forth section
reviews and addresses the ridership for each mode based on some previous researches results.
Finally, general discussion and conclusions are presented in the last section.
Tawfeek & Gouda April 2015
The popularity of BRT as a rapid, comfort and cost effective service is growing among developed
and developing countries. For developed countries with high population density, the extensive use of
BRT as a transportation mode in mega cities of China was justified by the need of a mass transit to
face the growing travel demand caused by the high population density, to reduce the congestion and
the environmental impact (i.e. vehicle emission problems), and to reduce the energy consumption
(4). On the other hand, for the developing countries (e.g. Nigeria) where the passengers need a safer,
affordable, and rapid service, the implementation of the BRT system satisfied these needs.
Moreover, a significant modal shift from the diverse modes of transportation to the BRT was
reported (5).
2.1 BRT definitions
A BRT service utilizes rubber-tired rapid buses, guide-ways, stations, services and intelligent
transport system (ITS) elements into an integrated system. BRT also defined as a corridor on which
buses are running on a reserved right of way such as a bus-way or an exclusive bus lane for an
arterial road or freeway (6). The BRT system combines the flexibility of the buses and the right of
way of the rail transit (7), even if the right of way is defined by pavement marking only. The
concept of the BRT can be explained as an integrated system of buses with special characteristics
(i.e. low floor buses, multi door channel, wide doors, etc.) and a dedicated right of way which allow
reliable, safe, rapid running for buses (1). Recently, The BRT standard 2014 is defining the BRT
corridor as A section of road or contiguous roads served by a bus route or multiple bus routes with
a minimum length of 3 kilometers (1.9 miles) that has dedicated bus lanes(8). It is worthy to
mention that the minimum length of the bus route is reduced from 4 kilometers (in 2013 edition) to 3
kilometers (in 2014 edition) in order to consider the downtown BRT corridors, which connect the
downtown with the regional transit system, as a BRT. Finally, one of the interesting definitions is
when defining the BRT as a rubber tired flexible LRT with low capital and operating costs (9).
From the previous discussion, it is clear that the BRT has several definitions. Briefly, BRT
can be defined as a reliable and flexible bus transit service operated mainly on exclusive bus lanes to
transport the maximum number of passengers rapidly and safely. However, that definition cannot be
considered only without the explanation of the BRT elements and components. As limiting the
definition of the BRT in buses using bus lanes or buses with special characteristics will confuse and
weak the image of the BRT (1).
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2.2 BRT elements and components
For more robust definition of the BRT as a system, the main elements of this system should be
discussed. Generally, it is agreed that the very basic elements of any BRT system are running way,
stations, and vehicles (1,4,9,10). Moreover, fare collection, ITS application, service design, and
system branding (10, 11) are also considered as BRT elements. Before discussing the basic elements
of the BRT system, it is worthy to mention that the BRT standard 2014 considers the same elements
but with different categories. For instance, dedicated right of way, busway alignment, off-board fare
collection, intersections treatment, and platform level boarding are considered as the BRT basics.
The standard evaluates the BRT system also according to the used infrastructure (e.g. passing lanes
at stations, pavement quality), stations (e.g. distance between stations, safe and comfort stations),
communications (e.g. system branding), and access and integration (e.g. pedestrian access and
integration with the other public transit modes) (8).
2.2.1 Running ways
It is clear, from the definitions mentioned before, that the most important element of BRT system is
the dedicated right of way (ROW) or the exclusive bus lane. Some studies consider BRT systems
without an exclusive bus lane (or the segments where buses are mixed with traffic) as an ordinary
street bus (12). Consequently, bus lanes are considered as the most important preferential treatment
for buses (1). At a certain point, the bus riders are much more than the private vehicles users so, in
terms of equity, the buses have to have the minimum share of the road (i.e. a dedicated lane). This
case can be observed around the world especially where the traffic is heterogeneous (13). Running
ways have many classifications but in general, from infrastructure perspective, it ranges from mixed
with traffic to fully grade separated lanes (6). Intuitively, the more the buses are separated from the
general traffic the more the BRT service is reliable and rapid.
2.2.2 Vehicles
In order to maximize the benefits of the exclusive bus lanes or the fully grade separated lanes;
vehicles with special characteristics should be used. Vehicles will not only have impacts on the
reliability and rapidness of the service but also have impacts on the passengers attraction (i.e.
ridership) and on the environment (i.e. emissions). In brief, the following guidelines should be
considered when selecting vehicles for BRT system:
Some general guidelines should be kept in mind in order to select an appropriate vehicle for reliable
BRT service. The main guidelines may include the following (1, 10):
Tawfeek & Gouda April 2015
Selecting spacious buses to provide comfort for passengers keeping in mind the seat /standee
ratio and passengers with special needs (e.g. wheelchair passengers, seniors, etc.).
Easy board and alight buses with low floor; however, some BRT stations can be designed for
level boarding and alighting with high floor buses.
Sufficient number of doors is important for decreasing the dwell time at stations especially
when the fare is collected off-board.
Engines type (e.g. hybrid) can provide clean, quiet, and improve fuel economy.
2.2.3 Stations
Stations are the main link between the passenger and the BRT system. BRT system with well-
designed stations and multichannel vehicles provides less dwell time for passengers. Stations can
play a significant role in trip travel time reduction, the comfort of passengers, and encouraging the
adjacent land development (10). The design of BRT stations depend on the passenger demand, the
position of the station (e.g. on a median bus lane), the passengers access method, and the fare
collection method (1). Generally, stations should be permanent, weather protected, comfortable,
safe, and fully and easily accessed by all passengers (10)
Design flexibility distinguishes LRT from other rail transit modes that it can accommodate different
environments such as freeway medians, streets, underground or aerial structures, and even in the
beds of drained canals. The use of LRT in North America is becoming more and more popular.
There are two types of LRT systems in North America, First Generation systems which have
evolved from old tramway and trolley lines such as systems in Boston and Cleveland, and Second
Generation systems which were newly designed (14). It is worthy to mention that the first LRT line
built in North America was in Edmonton in 1978 (15).
3.1 LRT definition
A LRT system is a railway system that is operated within the city by electricity along dedicated
rights of way at ground level, subways, on aerial structures, or in street and to board and alight
passengers at track or car floor level (14). Moreover, LRT is considered the fastest-growing rail
transit mode which falls between streetcars and Rail Rapid Transit (RRT) based on performance and
cost characteristics (1).
Tawfeek & Gouda April 2015
3.2 LRT characteristics and component
Operated using electricity with wide range of performance characteristics and passenger capacities
and various configurations of its trackways when constructed, are all attributes that define the LRT
system characteristics. Passenger capacities that can be served by LRT systems fall between buses
and heavy rail (16). Light Rail Rapid Transit (LRRT) is the highest level of LRT which has a fully
separated ROW, and it may also encounter few grade crossings. Thus it can reach high speeds up to
110 km/hr (e.g. Scarborough Line in Toronto, Green Line in Los Angeles) (1). The main
components and characteristics of LRT system are discussed in the following subsections.
3.2.1 Trackways
Trackways are simply the two steel rail flanges that guild the LRT vehicles. Their placement is very
flexible compared to other rail transit modes. They can be placed on the ground surface with at
grade intersections that are properly controlled, and also grade separation may be used using
structures as bridges. They can be placed below the ground surface or above the ground surface on
aerial structures following the street pattern or an independent alignment (14). The different
characteristics of LRT system are the external guidance and railway technology. First, external
guidance is the physical guidance of LRT vehicles by steel rail flanges which gives LRT system
advantages, such as high performance, high quality, and strong identity. These advantages attract
more passengers to the LRT system when compared to other modes. On the other hand, external
guidance limits the movement of LRT vehicles compared with non-guided modes. Second, railway
technology is simply the system of steel rail flanges and wheels, which makes it superior to other
modes consisting of rubber tires except for cases such as high gradient (1).
3.2.2 Stations and storage yards
LRT stations may have complicated design with structures under or above the ground surface that
could be accessed by elevators and escalators. Storage yards are not complicated compared to other
bus modes like BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) because LRT vehicles operate by electricity rather than
internal combustion engines, which make it operate efficiently in any climate conditions and also no
fuel stations are needed (14).
3.2.3 Vehicles
Light rail vehicles have wide range of designs with different sizes and shapes and in most cases
articulated vehicles divided into a number of sections are used. The characteristic that is related to
Tawfeek & Gouda April 2015
vehicles is electric propulsion, which simply means that LRT vehicles are operated by electricity,
giving it many advantages, such as the ability to work in any climate conditions, high performance
with rapid acceleration and deceleration, air conditioning of vehicles during layovers with low fuel
consumption, low levels of noise, no air pollution, and being not harmful to the health of passengers
specially in closed stations. On the other hand, electric propulsion requires high cost of investment
in fixed facilities and in cases of power failure, it may lead to shutting down the whole LRT system
(1, 14).
3.2.4 Fixed equipment
The fixed equipment consists of operations and maintenance center where there are administrative
offices, rooms for crew to prepare for duty, control room for operations management, and
maintenance facility; electric power supply; signals for vehicles guiding, and communications
facilities connecting between operators and the operations and maintenance center (14).
As discussed earlier, the basic difference between the BRT and the LRT is that the BRT is a bus
based service operated on road and steered laterally by the driver, while the LRT is a rail based
service operated and guided by rails. Intuitively, this difference makes the construction and
investment costs of LRT more than the BRT and the flexibility (i.e. limitation to rail track) of the
BRT more than the LRT. In addition, BRT can be implemented in a shorter period when compared
to the LRT (1, 3). Moreover, BRT has less out of vehicle walking time and has less transfers than
the LRT as the stations spacing is less than the LRT. However, the previous advantages, especially
for developing countries, are enough to make the BRT service superior; many other factors should
be considered beside those advantages (e.g. cost per mile, ridership, etc.). For example, for small
growing cities, the unit cost per passenger for BRT is less than the LRT as studied at the beginning
of constructing Edmonton’s LRT (17). In contrast, when comparing the final capital cost per mile
for BRT and LRT projects, BRT has less cost than the LRT when the construction does not require
grade separation, elevated or subway alignments but LRT has less cost when grade separation is
required (12).
On the other hand, the higher investment cost for the LRT provides a better vehicle
performance, more line capacity, wider stations to fit the LRT vehicles and a stronger image to
public, due to the rail track, than the BRT. LRT also provides spacious and more comfort vehicles,
better riding quality than buses and sometimes it is acceptable in pedestrian areas than buses (1, 3).
Tawfeek & Gouda April 2015
When assessing the environmental impacts of the BRT and LRT, it was found that the LRT is more
environment friendly than the BRT (18); however, BRT standard 2014 keeps in mind the
minimization of buses emissions for better BRT service (8). From different perspective, although
LRT has positive land development impacts as a rail transit than the BRT (3), BRT has a positive
impact in revitalization of city centers by attracting economic activities and can face the urban
sprawl (19).
In many researches, it may appear that the two modes (i.e. BRT and LRT) are competing
based on the differences mentioned earlier (12). On the other hand, some suggestions and studies
showed that the benefits of implementing the mode according to the conditions of the cities or
combining these modes to maximize the benefits. For instance, BRT is suggested for small to
medium size cities and LRT is preferred in large cities as discussed earlier in this section (3, 20).
Furthermore, BRT and LRT can be combined as one mode which is called Rapid Light Transit
(RLT) which can be adopted to operate buses and upgrade latter to rails (21). In the same context,
BRT is considered a successful investment in both the developed and the developing countries and
with high BRT ridership, the conversion to LRT is suggested and buses can feed it (22, 23).
Despite, the importance of the discussed factors in BRT and LRT comparison, the public has
the upper word in the success of any transit mode. Consequently, the following section is dedicated
for a comprehensive overview on the previous BRT and LRT projects and their ridership.
As passengers attraction is an important measure of the success of any transit mode, the ridership
should be considered when evaluating an existing or a future service. In order to attract passengers
to ride a certain mode, and hence, reach a high ridership, the passengers requirements should be
fulfilled. The main transit service requirements for any passenger are the availability of stations near
the trip origin and destination, the availability during the day, frequency, reliability, speed, comfort
and convenience, security and safety, and the user cost (3). Mostly, BRT and LRT can fulfill all of
these requirements. As one of the objectives of this paper is to compare between the ridership of the
BRT and the LRT, some previous researches will be introduced here to provide an evaluation of
both services. In general, LRT lines have a greater capacity than the BRT due to multi-car trains
which will increase the ridership of the LRT especially in large cities (24).
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It was concluded from a previous study that the LRT has a higher ridership than the BRT and
the LRT ridership in Europe is higher than North America and Australia. One of the techniques used
in this study is multiple regression to examine the impact of some factors such as the type of transit
mode (i.e. BRT or LRT), vehicle capacity, service level, employment/residential density, car
ownership, speed, stop spacing, right-of-way, vehicle accessibility, and integrated fares on ridership.
It was found through the concluded model that the transit mode will not affect the ridership
significantly, keeping in mind that the ridership is measured by boardings per vehicle kilometre;
however, the vehicle capacity has a significant impact on the ridership. Besides the vehicle capacity,
being in Europe, the average speed, employment density, service level, and integrated ticketing have
a significant impact on BRT/LRT ridership (25).
In another study, it was found that the BRT service in Latin America is very successful
because of the high ridership which is interpreted by the high population density and the lower car
ownership. On the other hand, for the Asian BRT systems, although the population is high, the BRT
systems are relatively new and have lower capacity when compared with the Latin America BRT
systems. Generally, system capacity (i.e. number of BRT corridors and the length of the network),
fare collection method, service frequency, reducing the distance between stations, and the
integration with the other public transit modes are concluded as the factors which can affect the
ridership of a BRT system (26).
From another perspective, based on cognitive approaches and rational choices, the first factor
which impacts a higher LRT ridership is how a passenger perceive and store information about LRT
(i.e. new, modern, and special design vehicles, running way visibility, and positive media presence)
(27). In the same context, when investigating the modal image of BRT and LRT, BRT is suffering
from the bad impression the passengers had from buses. On the other hand, the passengers used to
link the LRT to the rail service which is more reliable than buses, and hence, the LRT has a
preference on the BRT through the modal image (21, 28). The other factors which impact the LRT
ridership are qualitative factors (i.e. reliability and comfort), the surrounding area where the LRT is
operated (usually operated in more attractive areas like shopping streets), and the LRT capacity. In
order to increase the attraction of the BRT system, clearly dedicated bus lanes, specially designed
transit attributes, newly introduced vehicles, and positively media presentation should be used (27).
Tawfeek & Gouda April 2015
Many cities around the world are suffering from traffic congestion and its high cost. Due to
the rapid growth in the economic and social activities associated with cities expansion, public transit
appears as a key solution for the congestion problem maintaining a high level of mobility for riders.
Moreover, many planning ideas (e.g. transit oriented development and smart growth) are based on
the public transit to far extent. Due to the high intensity of the activities in the cities, semi rapid
transit became in the last decades an important player in the public transit team to relief the
congestion. From the literature, it is noteworthy that the cities with the semi rapid transit (i.e. BRT
and LRT) have a smaller modal shift from public transit to private autos than the cities with street
transit only (1).
The knowledge of passengers towards the BRT is distorted, when compared to LRT, as the
passengers link the BRT to the traditional bus service. Moreover, many previous researches are
trying to prove the superiority of one mode to the other; however, these trails should be taken with
caution as mostly the characteristics of each mode are different and the implementation
circumstances are not the same. Consequently, this paper focuses on the characteristics of each
mode (especially the BRT as it has a very wide range of definitions and characteristics in the
literature) and the major differences between them. In addition, this paper addresses how each mode
attracts passengers as reported from some previous researches which are based on real implemented
case studies.
The main conclusion of this paper is that the BRT and the LRT are successful public transit
modes. Based on the characteristics of both the passengers and the cities where these modes are
implemented, the ridership will vary. In addition, the main difference between BRT and LRT is the
right of way which has a great impact on the construction cost; however, the cost per passenger of
the LRT is less than the BRT. From the ridership evaluation for both modes, the ridership depends
on the model image and the marketing of the mode, vehicle capacity, stations locations and spacing,
speed, fare collection method, reliability and comfort. Generally, it can be said that the main
advantage of the BRT is the flexibility and the main advantage of the LRT is the capacity, thus the
BRT is preferable in small and medium size cities and LRT for large cities with high expected
ridership. However, BRT may be an initial stage in order to construct LRT keeping in mind the
design aspects of LRT.
Tawfeek & Gouda April 2015
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BRT and LRT. Transportation, Volume: 42, Issue: 1, pp. 7-23, January, 2015.
... A LRT system is a railway system that is operated within the city by electricity along dedicated rights of way at ground level, subways, on aerial structures, or in street and to board and alight passengers at track or car floor level [1]. The construction of LRT is also expected to minimize the congestion in Jakarta-CIkampek (Japek) and Jagorawi toll road. ...
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It is very important for Indonesia to catch up to the infrastructure development of the world. One of the way the country intends to tackle this problem is by the development of its LRT project. In order to minimize the cost overrun on the concourse project of the LRT station, BIM based quantity take off is used. To acquire the most influential factors on the implementation of BIM based quantity take off on the concourse project of the LRT station, a statistical analysis method of Relative Importance Index (RII) was used. The most influential factor affecting the BIM based quantity take off is drawings, bill of quantity, work plan, specification, cost database, BIM modeling, quantity take off, individual model selection, operator experience, calculation process, and operator education.
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A major research gap is the relative ridership performance of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), Light Rail Transit (LRT), and streetcar (SC). This paper assesses ridership influences of 101 routes in Australia, Europe, and North America using multiple regression examining the influence of transit mode, vehicle capacity, service level, employment/residential density, car ownership, speed, stop spacing, right-of-way, vehicle accessibility, and integrated fares on ridership (boardings/vehicle km; BVK). Average ridership is higher for LRT/SC routes than for BRT routes, and although service levels vary greatly, they are lower on BRT systems. Residential/employment density is higher for LRT/SC routes compared to BRT. A regression model predicting BVK was significant (R2 = 0.83) with six predictors: being in Europe, speed, vehicle capacity, employment density, service level, and integrated ticketing. Results suggest that the transit mode does not directly impact ridership but rather acts through vehicle size and service levels. Limitations and opportunities for future research are identified.
The selection of appropriate public transport investments that will maximise the likelihood of delivering the levels of service required to provide a serious alternative to the car is high on the agendas of many metropolitan governments. Mindful of budget constraints, it is crucial to ensure that such investments offer the greatest value for money. We promote the view that integrated multi-modal systems that provide frequency and connectivity in a network-based framework offer the best way forward. A mix of public transport investments with buses as feeder services and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) as trunk services can offer a greater coverage and frequency than traditional forms of rail, even at capacity levels often claimed of rail. Design features are important in order to promote good performance, and evidence is presented as to the importance of the various design elements to driving patronage. Decision-makers need to recognize that implementation issues can be complex to achieve a successful outcome of a BRT system contributing to the public transport network.
A brief review of the Light Rail Transit (LRT) and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) modes, based on facts and experiences, is presented. The concept of LRT developed from the modernization of the traditional tramways, including the features of upgrading of street operations to separate ways, construction of tunnels on short sections in city centers, and introduction of articulated cars with capacity up to 250 spaces, among others. Bus Rapid Transits have been introduced and proposed in many cities to provide services, much better than the regular buses. BRT and LRT represent higher steps in investment/cost performance relationships.
The physical image of transport systems, as perceived by users and non users, has long been put forward as a powerful influence on the formation of preferences. One setting for this is in the choice between bus rapid transit (BRT) and light rail transit (LRT) where there appears to be a strong preference in favour of LRT in developed countries and the reverse in developing countries. Using data collected in six capital cities in Australia in 2013, in which individuals rated two BRT and two LRT designs presented as physical images, we develop a full rank mixed logit model to identify candidate sources of influence on image preferences. These provide signals to assist in preparing the ground for a segmented profile for policy makers and politicians to understand how to underpin building a rational debate for modal options in our cities.
Decision making for a new light rail system is based on a demand forecast and the additional benefits expected to come along with rail transit. Recent light rail implementations have shown that the demand forecast was often inaccurate. The supposition is that the attraction of light rail, compared with bus systems, has been misjudged. This paper presents arguments on this bias based on a literature review of cognitive approaches and rational choices, with a focus on Europe and North America. The higher attraction of light rail for users is most likely because of four impact groups. The first of these is the attention-capturing factors, such as new and modern vehicles, special design, visibility of route (e.g., tracks, bus lanes), and media presence during the evaluation and construction process; these factors contribute to the memory representation and perception of transit systems. The second is the perceived attributes of transit systems, especially qualitative factors of reliability and ride comfort, which are highly associated with light rail systems. The third, neighborhood characteristics of areas served with a specific transit mode, were found to contribute to the perception and valuation of this transit mode. And last, following the theory of induced demand, the higher capacity provided by light rail vehicles compared with buses can affect ridership. It was found that cognitive approaches contributed to the explanation of the potential preference for light rail. These approaches help to clarify why demand is expected to differ, especially in situations in which light rail and buses provide similar service characteristics in regard to availability.
Because of its efficient service and relatively low investment requirements, bus rapid transit (BRT) is growing in popularity in many cities around the world. The development of BRT in nine cities in China, including design, implementation, operation, and management of the systems, is summarized. Substantial data, including infrastructure design, service performance, and passenger flow, have been collected from the BRT systems in the nine cities. The cities' population, size, importance, and social and economical backgrounds have also been provided. On the basis of the data, five BRT development modes are summarized and compared. Recommendations about China's BRT decision making, planning, systems designs, and operational management are also provided.
The results of a real-world study comparing bus rail transit (BRT) with light rail transit (LRT) in the same corridor are highlighted. A major investment study (MIS)--environmental impact study (EIS) process was used, including community perspectives obtained from a significant outreach effort. In effect, this study represents a "plan-off" competition between the two modes, including ridership, cost-effectiveness, environmental impact, and community and political response. In 1994 the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission, predecessor agency to the current Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, environmentally cleared an Exposition Park Branch Line, which was an LRT branch line to the Los Angeles--Long Beach Blue Line. Because of financial constraints, the project languished until last year, when it was reconsidered through an MIS process for the Mid-City--Westside Transit Corridor Study. The MIS also called for a side-by-side comparison with BRT in the EIS--environmental impact review, which was publicly released on April 13, 2001. The findings to date indicate that LRT is environmentally superior to BRT (especially in relation to noise and traffic impacts) and has more new daily transit riders, whereas BRT is somewhat more cost-effective. From a community standpoint, LRT has generated more positive and negative reactions, perhaps because of the novelty of BRT to the general public in the western United States.
This study investigates the redistributive effects of Seoul's bus rapid transit (BRT) system on development patterns and property values using an urban simulation model. The Seoul Metropolitan Integrated Urban Model (SMIUM) combines the Seoul metropolitan input–output model with random utility-based location choice models and endogenous real estate markets. The major findings of this study can be highlighted as follows. First, Seoul's BRT contributes to increased development density in urban centers, acting as a centripetal force to attract firms from the suburbs into urban cores and supporting arguments for Smart Growth proponents. Second, unlike its redistributive effects on nonresidential activities, the BRT has a limited effect on the redistribution of residential activities, implying that residential locations are less sensitive to accessibility improvements made by the BRT than are nonresidential locations. Third, reflecting the transferred space demands from the suburbs to the urban cores, the CBD reaps the highest property value gains, while all of the outer ring zones suffer from reduced property values
Africa's first bus rapid transit (BRT) scheme became operational in March 2008 in Lagos, Nigeria. Termed "BRT-Lite," this new form of BRT focuses on the delivery of improved quality of life within a modest budget. The implementation program, from conception to operation, was collapsed into a 15-month time frame; that together with its delivery cost of $1.7m/km made its development unique and its experience relevant to cities throughout the world seeking to develop BRT. BRT-Lite's success cannot be explained by its infrastructure; it is also the result of a holistic approach. That approach involved reorganization of the bus industry, the financing of new buses, the creation of a new institutional structure and regulatory framework of support, and the training of personnel to drive, maintain, enforce, and manage the BRT. While these challenges were being met, the public was engaged and informed about a transportation system of which it had no previous knowledge. Public reception of the concept was immediate and positive. An assessment of BRT-Lite, which followed its inception, found the scheme to be an unprecedented success. The critical success factors were defined as significant and consistent political commitment, the presence and capabilities of a strategic public transport authority, a scheme definition that concentrated on essential user needs and deliverability within a budget and program, engagement of key stakeholders, assurances that the benefits would be widespread, and a community engagement program to ensure that BRT-Lite was seen as a community project created, owned, and used by Lagosians. The future challenge is to meet high demand through rollout of the BRT network.