Document: BRT CoE – Working Paper Nº5 (10/2013): Case studies and sketch modeling of incremental BRT upgrades considering demographic and network effects.
This report explores how to upgrade bus services in US cities that cannot practically implement full bus rapid transit (BRT) corridors due to demographic, land-use, political, and financial constraints. Guidelines for developing BRT corridors reveal a tension between an emphasis on comprehensive planning on the one hand, and incremental, flexible development on the other. A review of the literature discusses this tension, various BRT elements, and the impact of these elements on per- formance and ridership. Case studies of incremental BRT projects in four U.S. cities highlight the importance of considering the sociodemographic and institutional contexts surrounding bus priority projects. Longitudinal and cross-sectional sketch models, using corridors as the unit of analysis, offer some insights into the relative impact of BRT features and external factors. While BRT can be a promising mode for a range of contexts, service frequency and reliability improvements are the foundation for successful projects. Building momentum for sustained improvements in bus net- works is a challenge, and successful incremental BRT projects offer examples of how emphasizing reliability and projecting a clear, unified image across a range of applications can help meet this challenge.