Understanding Road Safety Impact of High-Performance Bus Rapid Transit and Busway Design Features

03 / 18 / 2013

The design choices made in the planning of a new bus rapid transit (BRT) or busway corridor (e.g., use of a center-lane or curbside configuration, counterflow lanes, and open or closed stations) affect not only the operational performance of the system but also the risks of crashes, injuries, and fatalities on the facility over its lifetime. With data from nine BRT systems and busways around the world (including Bogotá, Colombia; Curitiba, Brazil; Mexico City, Mexico; and Delhi, India), some of the road safety impacts of major BRT-busway corridor design characteristics are illustrated. The approach included a combination of crash frequency modeling, road safety inspections, and interviews with transit agency staff and safety experts. Center-lane systems tended generally to be safer than were curbside systems, and counterflow lanes were the most dangerous possible configuration. Some of the features that provide higher passenger capacity (such as multiple bus lanes and multiple docking bays at stations) may introduce new types of conflicts and crashes. In the planning of any bus system, trade-offs often need to be made between capacity, safety, and pedestrian accessibility along the corridor. This study provides the necessary elements for successfully integrating road safety considerations into the design and operation of future BRT systems and busways.