There is growing demand for high quality, high capacity transit all over the world. Increasingly, cities are finding solutions with bus rapid transit (BRT), an efficient, affordable, and sustainable option that, when done right, can compete with the capacity, speed, and comfort of metro systems. The Institute for Transportation and Development Policy and The World Resources Institute are working to make BRT a more accessible choice for these cities, and are announcing a collaboration between two of the world’s best resources on bus rapid transit and bus priority systems: Global BRT Data and The BRT Standard.
All BRTs are bus priority systems, but not all bus priority systems are BRTs. A bus priority system must have some of the features of BRT, such as segregated bus lanes and pre-board fare collection, but not all. The most prolific region for these systems is Latin America, with BRTs and priority systems serving more than 19 million people per day. Asian systems are also rapidly developing, currently serving around 10 million per day, half of which are in China. While the lowest numbers are in Africa, at around half a million per day, this is a rapidly growing region, and more systems are currently in planning. The US and Canada, with less than one million passengers per day, are well behind other wealthy nations.
Global BRT Data, an online database created and maintained by the World Resources Institute and the BRT Center of Excellence, is an interactive platform that tracks the growth and evolution of high performance bus systems worldwide. The goal of the database, available at BRTData.org, is to improve the sustainable transport community’s access to reliable and current data about bus priority systems. Global BRT Data provides easily-accessible data from a variety of sources including research institutions, transit agencies, municipalities, and NGOs.
“Global BRT Data was developed as a way for the transport community to track and measure the progress of bus priority systems all over the world. With this partnership and the new indicators will be possible to easily identify on BRTData.org which corridors are BRT or not,” says Cristina Albuquerque, WRI Brasil Urban Mobility Coordinator.
The BRT Standard is a highly technical resource that scores BRT corridors in more than 30 categories, from basics, such as off-board fare collection and a dedicated right-of-way, to infrastructure quality, service planning, and communications. The BRT Standard Technical Committee, convened by ITDP, awards the highest quality systems with a gold, silver, and bronze rankings.
“The BRT Standard began as a global effort to very clearly define, from a technical perspective, what makes a world-class BRT corridor, but with Global BRT Data, it’s easier to relate to that to what’s happening the ground” says Jacob Mason, Transport Evaluation Manager for ITDP, “Having these easily-accessible examples and aggregate data aligned with the rigorous approach of the BRT Standard will help us expand the benefits of BRT to even more cities. It’s a win for everyone.”