The design choices made in the planning of a new Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) or Busway corridor –using a center-lane or a curbside configuration, counterflow lanes, and the choice between open or closed stations – impact not only the operational performance of the system, but also the risks of crashes, injuries, and fatalities occurring on the facility over its lifetime. Using data from nine BRT systems and Busways around the world (including Bogotá, Curitiba, Mexico City, and Delhi, among others) we illustrate some of the road safety impacts of major BRT / Busway corridor design characteristics. Our approach includes a combination of crash frequency modeling, road safety inspections, and interviews with transit agency staff and safety experts. We found that center-lane systems generally tend to be safer than curbside systems, and that counterflow lanes are the most dangerous possible configuration. We also found that some of the features that provide higher capacity (such as multiple bus lanes and multiple docking bays at stations) may introduce new types of conflicts and crashes. We conclude that in the planning of any bus system, trade-offs often need to be made between capacity, safety, and pedestrian accessibility along the corridors, and we provide here the necessary elements for better integrating road safety considerations into the design and operation of future BRTs and Busways.
Keywords: Road Safety, BRT, Busways, Crash Frequency Modeling