Around the world, private car ownership is not only a growing a source of greenhouse
gas emissions, but is also leading to increased traffic congestion, air pollution, and
mounting social disparities, particularly in cities. ITDP strongly believes that safe, modern, and efficient public transport can help answer these problems. While effective rail-based public transport plays a vital role in many regions, our specific area of expertise is bus rapid transit (BRT), and we work to spread knowledge about BRT and provide high-level technical assistance to cities pursuing BRT projects in the U.S. and abroad.
BRT is an innovative mass transit system that combines the efficiencies and quality of metros with the flexibility and relative low cost of buses, while offering significant environmental benefits. World-class BRT achieves comparable levels of speed, capacity, and passenger comfort and convenience as rail-based systems, but can be built at a fraction of the cost and construction time. BRT provides cities with a pragmatic and affordable solution to ensure that their transit systems keep pace with urban growth.
Compared to a regular bus, the journey on a BRT is much quicker, because BRTs enjoy bus-only lanes, and passengers pay at the station, rather than on the bus. And since the station floor is at the same level as the bus floor, BRT is easily accessible to individuals with limited mobility.
BRT also reduces greenhouse emissions and air pollution. By increasing bus speeds, encouraging motorists to switch to buses, and often using more fuel efficient buses, BRT is an important tool in battling climate change. In fact, some BRT systems are approved by the United Nations to generate and sell carbon credits.
Over the past several years, ITDP has provided direct assistance to city governments and has been involved in the research, planning, and construction of world-class BRT systems in Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Mexico, South Africa, Tanzania, and more. ITDP is also exploring opportunities to advance full-featured BRT in the U.S.. A grant from The Rockefeller Foundation is enabling ITDP to develop a strategy for the US where the opportunities for effective implementation are most promising in terms of political leadership, institutional capacity, financial viability, and prospects for full-featured network development. ITDP further promotes the development of BRT by highlighting the successes of existing BRT systems and sharing information among city leaders.
Every day, ITDP is working on new BRT systems in cities around the world, as well as improving the operational design of existing systems.