Webinar: Built environment supports for BRT ridership: Evidence from Latin America

12 / 11 / 2015

The Across Latitudes and Cultures BRT Centre of Excellence invites to its monthly webinar series to share timely public transit research and encourage ongoing collaboration. Our December webinar will be:

“Built environment supports for BRT ridership: Evidence from Latin America”

Presented by Daniel A. Rodriguez & Erik Vergel, on Friday December 18th, 10:00am (East Coast USA). Daniel is Distinguished Professor of Sustainable Community Design and Adjunct Professor of the Department of Epidemiology of The University of North Carolina of Chapel Hill, and Erik Vergel is a PhD candidate.

See summary, presentation and video below.


Background and objectives

Although bus rapid transit (BRT) has flourished as a transportation innovation worldwide, little is known about the built environment around BRT stops and how it can facilitate intermodal transfers and support overall BRT demand. The objective of this presentation is to examine the built environment around BRT stops and associate specific environmental features with BRT demand.

Data and methods

To describe the built environment around BRT stops, we developed a typology of urban development using 120 BRT stops in seven Latin American cities -Bogotá (Colombia), Ciudad de Guatemala (Guatemala), Curitiba (Brazil), Goiania (Brazil), Guayaquil (Ecuador), Quito (Ecuador), and the Sao Paulo Metro Region (Brazil). Using factor and cluster analysis we examined primary and secondary data collected using a customized environmental audit for all street segments within 250m of each intermediate stop and 500m of each BRT terminus.

We then estimated direct demand models to examine the association between observed weekday boardings per stop and the BRT station typology and discrete environmental features associated with intermodal transfers.


Of the thirteen BRT stop types identified, only few contained attributes consistent with a transit friendly orientation. Other stops were burdened by incompatible land uses and barriers to station access, while others captured conditions prevalent in many cities in Latin America: mixed land uses, informal housing distant from activity nodes, large commercial developments, and a relative absence of green spaces open to the public.

The regression models of demand suggested that six of the thirteen stop types, including BRT terminals, stops with high-rise multifamily developments with mixed land uses, stops in historic centers, stops with affordable housing but with a pedestrian-friendly scale, and higher density developments with mixed uses and high street connectivity, were associated with higher ridership.

Examining individual variables, for Bogotá, Curitiba, and Goainia, density was positively associated with demand (average 0.2 elasticity), but not associated in other cities. However, the presence of mixed land uses, high-rise developments in peripheral locations, and active transport facilities was positively associated with ridership.  Furthermore, active transport facilities interacted positively with the presence of mixed land uses in boosting ridership. The higher ridership in terminals, and their role as collectors from feeders and shared-ride systems, is discussed in the context of BRT integration with other shared transportation modes.



The Lee Schipper Scholarship report mentioned can be found at the Lee Schipper Scholarship Website