Webinar: The flexibility of the bus is both a strength and a weakness in providing access to opportunity in metropolitan areas, does BRT help or hurt?

04 / 24 / 2014

The Across Latitudes and Cultures BRT Centre of Excellence is pleased to announce a monthly webinar series to share timely public transit research and encourage ongoing collaboration. The series is open to anyone and will address issues relevant to researchers and practitioners. Please share this announcement with your extended network.

The last webinar was:

The flexibility of the bus is both a strength and a weakness in providing access to opportunity in metropolitan areas, does BRT help or hurt?
Presented by Fred Salvucci of the MIT Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Thursday, April 24th at 11am Eastern Daily Time (Boston)
Register here
See summary, presentation and video below.

Please email Laurel at lpaget@uc.cl with any questions or future topic suggestions.

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The flexibility of the bus is both a strength and a weakness in providing access to opportunity in metropolitan areas, does BRT help or hurt?

The word “bus” comes from the Latin “omnibus”– for all. This is reflected in the bus’s flexibility to serve small markets with adaptability to local conditions, accessibility needs of less mobile populations, as essential feeder service to rail at higher urban densities, and to expand to serve wider areas over time. However, flexibility is a main weakness of bus, as the ability to modify service also provides the ability to reduce service. Rising labor costs lead to a need for subsidy and political aversion to subsidy can lead to chronic under serving the access needs of the regional population.
BRT offers the potential for relatively quick, high quality service to more extensive areas of the metropolitan area, and can be a building block for rail. But it can generate a form of “one size fits all” fanaticism that undermines the very flexibility that makes the bus such a useful and essential element of comprehensive public transportation access. The question remains how to take advantage of the strengths of BRT, where it is temporarily or permanently useful, while retaining a clear view of the universally accessible metropolitan area as the objective of public transportation.

Photo: flickr.com