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This scorecard shows the criteria and point values that make up the BRT Standard, including a description of each category. 

THE BRT BASICS (38 points)

Dedicated Right-of-Way
8 points

A dedicated right-of-way is vital to ensuring that buses can move quickly and unimpeded by congestion. Physical design is critical to the self-enforcement of the right-of-way. Dedicated lanes matter the most in heavily congested areas where it is harder to take a lane away from mixed traffic to dedicate it as a busway.

Best Practice

Rainbow BRT: Sangamwadi-Vishrantwadi
Pune/Pimpri-Chinchwad, India
Ranking: Basic BRT
Corridor length: 7.2 km
Riders per day: 26,000

The Rainbow BRT Sangamwadi-Vishrantwadi corridor uses fences to create dedicated physically separated bus lanes.

Scoring In-Depth:

TYPEPOINTSWEIGHTED BY
Physically separated, dedicated lanes
(e.g. fences, curbs, bus stations)
8


% of corridor with type of dedicated right of way
Color-differentiated, dedicated lanes with no physical separation6
Dedicated lanes separated by a painted line4
No dedicated lanes0

Busway Alignment
8 points

The busway is best located where conflicts with other traffic can be minimized, especially from turning movements from mixed-traffic lanes. In most cases, a busway in the central verge of a roadway encounters fewer conflicts with turning vehicles than those closer to the curb due to alleys, parking lots, etc. Additionally, while delivery vehicles and taxis generally require access to the curb, the central verge of the road usually remains free of such obstructions. All of the design configuration recommendations detailed below are related to minimizing the risk of delays caused by turning conflicts and curbside access.

Best Practice

Lahore, Pakistan: Metrobus Green Line

Ranking: Basic BRT

Corridor length: 8.3 km

Riders per day: 180,000

Notable strengths: The Metrobus Green Line in Lahore includes a two-way median aligned busway in the center verge of a two-way road.

Scoring In-Depth*:

CORRIDOR CONFIGURATIONSPOINTSWEIGHTED BY
TIER 1 CONFIGURATONS

% of corridor with type of dedicated right-of-way
Two-way median aligned busway in the central verge of a two-way road8
Bus-only corridor where there is a fully exclusive right-of-way and no parallel mixed traffic or a converted corridor8
Busway that runs adjacent to an edge condition like a waterfront or park where there are few intersections to cause conflicts8
*To see the rest of the configurations scoring, download The BRT Standard.

Off-board Fare Collection
8 points

Off-board fare collection is one the most important factors in reducing travel time and improving the customer experience. Presently, the two most effective approaches to off-board fare collection are “barrier-controlled” (passengers pass through a gate, turnstile, or checkpoint upon entering the station where fare is verified or deducted), and “proof-of-payment” (passengers pay at a kiosk and collect a paper ticket that is then checked on board the vehicle by an inspector). Both approaches can significantly reduce delay, however barrier-controlled is slightly preferable.

Best Practice

Jakarta, Indonesia: TransJakarta: Koridor 1
Ranking: Silver
Corridor length: 12.9 km
Riders per day: 41,600*

The TransJakarta Koridor 1 features off-board ticketing with turnstile controlled access to stations

Scoring In-Depth: 

OFF-BOARD FARE COLLECTION (DURING ALL OPERATING HOURS)POINTSWEIGHTED BY
Barrier-controlled8% stations on corridor
Proof-of-payment7% routes using corridor bus infrastructure
Onboard fare validation- all doors4% routes using corridor bus infrastructure

Intersection Treatments
7 points

There are several ways to increase bus speeds at intersections, all of which are aimed at increasing the green-signal time for the bus lane. Forbidding turns across the bus lane and minimizing the number of traffic-signal phases where possible are the most important. Traffic-signal priority, when activated by an approaching BRT vehicle, is useful in lower-frequency systems but less effective than turn prohibitions.

Best Practice

São Paulo, Brazil: Corredor Metropolitano ABD: ABD Extensão Morumbi

Ranking: Basic BRT
Corridor length: 10.8 km
Riders per day: 325,000

The system prioritizes pedestrians and bans left-turns at intersections. It was also rated the most satisfying transportation mode in the Metropolitan Region of São Paulo, with a 79% approval rate, according to the National Association for Public Transport’s (Associação Nacional de Transportes Públicos) 2011 survey.

Scoring In-Depth:

INTERSECTION TREATMENTSPOINTSWEIGHTED BY
Turns prohibited across the busway7% of turns across busway prohibited
Signal priority at intersections2% of intersections on corridor

Platform-level Boarding
7 points

Having the bus-station platform level with the bus floor is one of the most important ways of reducing boarding and alighting times per passenger. Passengers climbing even relatively minor steps can mean significant delay and an increase in safety hazards, particularly for the elderly, disabled, or people with suitcases or strollers.

 “Vertical gap” refers to the difference in height between bus floors and station platforms.  Station platforms should be designed and buses selected so that the vertical distance between the platform and the bus floor is less than 1.5 centimeters (5/8 inches), although larger gaps are acceptable in The BRT Standard.

Horizontal gap” refers to the distance between the bus and the platform.  There are a range of ways to achieve horizontal gaps of less than 10 centimeters (4 inches) including Kassel curbs and boarding bridges.  The scoring does not take into account which technique is chosen.

Best Practice

Ahmedabad, India: Janmarg
Ranking: Bronze
Corridor length: 82 km
Riders per day: 130,000

With well-designed infrastructure and driver training, such as in Ahmedabad, India, a BRT systems can reduce the boarding gap to under 10 centimeters.

Scoring In-Depth: 

PLATFORM-LEVEL BOARDINGPOINTSWEIGHTED BY
Buses are platform level, having 4 centimeters (1 1/2 inches) or less of vertical gap7% of buses operating on corridor
Stations in corridor have measures for reducing the horizontal gap6% of stations on corridor

SERVICE PLANNING (19 points)

Multiple Routes
4 points

Having multiple routes operate on a single corridor is a good proxy for reduced door-to-door travel times by reducing transfer penalties. This can include:

  • Routes that operate over multiple corridors, as exists with TransMilenio in Bogotá, Colombia or Metrobús in Mexico City.
  • Multiple routes operating in a single corridor that go to different destinations once they leave the corridor, as exists with the Guangzhou, China; Cali, Colombia; and Johannesburg, South Africa BRT systems.

Best Practice

Mexico City, Mexico: Metrobus: Línea 2, Eje 4 Sur
Ranking: Silver
Corridor length: 20 km
Riders per day: 180,000

Mexico City’s Metrobus added an additional 20,000 daily passengers by incorporating a direct route connecting Corridor I (Insurgentes) with Corridor II (Eje 4), thereby eliminating the transfer between the two.

Scoring In-Depth: 

MULTIPLE ROUTESPOINTS
Two or more routes exist on the corridor, servicing at least two stations4
No multiple routes0

Express, Limited, and Local Services
3 points

One of the most important ways that BRT corridors increase operating speeds and reduce passenger travel times is by providing limited and express services. While local services stop at every station, limited services skip lower-demand stations and stop only at major stations that have higher passenger demand. Express services often collect passengers at stops at one end of the corridor, travel along much of the corridor without stopping, and drop passengers off at the other end.

Infrastructure necessary for the inclusion of express, limited, and local BRT services is captured in other scoring metrics.

Best Practice

Bogota, Columbia: Transmilenio: NQS Central
Ranking: Gold
Corridor length: 12.4 km (BRTdata.org)*
Riders per day: 192,405

Stations feature two passing lanes to allow for additional service options including local, limited and express options to accommodate a variety of trip patterns.

Scoring In-Depth: 

SERVICE TYPESPOINTS
Local services and multiple types of limited-stop and/or express services3
At least one local and one limited-stop or express service option2
No limited-stop or express services0

Control Center
3 points

Control centers for BRT systems are increasingly prevalent for a host of service improvements, such as avoiding bus bunching, monitoring bus operations, identifying problems, and rapidly responding to them.

A full-service control center monitors the locations of all buses with GPS or similar technology and can:

  • Respond to incidents in real-time
  • Control the spacing of buses
  • Determine and respond to the maintenance status of all buses in the fleet
  • Record passenger boardings and alightings for future service adjustments
  • Use Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD)/ Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) for bus tracking and performance monitoring

A full-service center should be integrated with a public transport system’s existing control center as well as the traffic signal system.

Best Practice

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: TransOeste
Ranking: Silver
Corridor length: 58 km
Riders per day: 240,000

TransOeste has a full-service control center that oversees automated dispatching of buses, active bus controls, and automatic vehicle location information.

Scoring in Depth: 

CONTROL CENTERPOINTS
Full-service control center with all three services3
Control center with two of the three services2
Control cente rwith one of the three services1
No control center or center with limited functionality0

Located in Top Ten Corridors
2 points

If the BRT corridor is located along one of the top ten corridors, in terms of aggregate bus ridership, this will help ensure that a significant proportion of passengers benefit from the improvements. Points are awarded to systems that have made a good choice for the BRT corridor, regardless of the level of total demand.

Best Practice

Guadalajara, Mexico: Macrobus: Linea 1
Ranking: Gold
Corridor length: 16
Riders per day: 127,000

Macrobus Linea 1 was the first BRT line in Guadalajara and the first in Mexico to include passing lanes at stations, it also offers both limited and express stop services to meet the high demand of riders along this corridor.

Scoring In-Depth: 

CORRIDOR LOCATIONPOINTS
Corridor is one of top ten demand corridors2
Corridor is not one of top ten demand corridors0

Demand Profile
3 points

Building a dedicated BRT infrastructure in the highest-demand segments of a road ensures that the greatest number of passengers benefit from the improvements. This is most significant when the decision is made whether or not to build a corridor through a downtown; however, it can also be an issue outside of a downtown on a road segment that has a varied and high demand profile.

Best Practice

Lima, Peru: El Metropolitano: COSAC 1
Ranking: Gold
Corridor length: 26.6 (26 km on BRTdata.org)*
Riders per day: 350,000

The COSAC 1 corridor of El Metropolitano BRT in Lima includes the highest demand segments which have Tier 1 trunk corridor design treatments to serve the high volumes of passengers.

Scoring In-Depth:

DEMAND PROFILEPOINTS
Corridor includes highest demand segment, which has a Tier 1 Trunk Corridor configuration3
Corridor includes highest demand segment, which has a Tier 2 Trunk Corridor configuration2
Corridor includes highest demand segment, which has a Tier 3 Trunk Corridor configuration1
Corridor does not include highest demand segment0

Hours of Operations
2 points

A viable transit service must be available to passengers for as many hours throughout the day and week as possible. Otherwise, passengers could end up stranded or may simply seek another mode of transport.  

Late night service refers to service until midnight and weekend service refers to both weekend days.

Best Practice

Guatemala City, Guatemala: Transmetro: Ramal Sur
Ranking: Gold
Corridor length: 13 km
Riders per day: 180,000

The Transmetro Eje Sur BRT offers early morning, evening and weekend service to accommodate riders. For example, Linea 12 begin service at 4:30 and ends at 22:00 during the week, and 4:30 to 22:00 on the weekends.

Scoring In-Depth:

OPERATING HOURSPOINTS
Both late-night and weekend service2
Late-night service, no weekends or weekend service, no late-nights1
No late-night or weekend service0

Multi-corridor Network
2 points

Ideally, BRT should include multiple corridors that intersect and form a network, as this expands travel options for passengers and makes the system more viable as a whole. When designing a new system, some anticipation of future corridors is useful to ensure the designs will be compatible with later developments. For this reason, a long-term plan is recognized, with an emphasis on near-term connectivity through either BRT services or infrastructure.

Curitiba, Brazil: Rede Integrada de Transporte (RIT): Linha Verde
Ranking: Gold
Corridor Length: 7 km
Riders per day: 31,000

One of the first BRT systems built in the 1970s, the RIT features 21 iconic futuristic glass tube stations throughout the multi-corridor network of 6 lines.  

 

Scoring In-Depth:

MULTI-CORRIDOR NETWORKPOINTS
BRT corridor connects to an existing BRT corridor or to the next one planned in the network2
BRT corridor connects to a future planned corridor in the BRT network1
No connected BRT network planned or built0

INFRASTRUCTURE (13 points)

Passing Lanes at Stations
3 points

Passing lanes at station stops are critical to allow both express and local services. They also allow stations to accommodate a high volume of buses without getting congested with buses backed up waiting to enter. While more difficult to justify in low-demand systems, passing lanes are a good investment, yielding considerable passenger travel-time savings and allowing for flexibility as the system grows. On high-demand corridors requiring frequent service, passing lanes at stations are particularly helpful for providing sufficient corridor capacity to maintain higher speeds.

Best Practice

Guangzhou, China: Guangzhou BRT: Zhongshan Avenue
Ranking: Gold
Corridor length: 22.5 km
Riders per day: 850,000
Zhongshan Avenue was the first BRT line put in operation in China in 2010, contains the world’s longest BRT station (260 m including bridges).

Scoring In-Depth: 

PASSING LANESPOINTS
Dedicated passing lanes3
Buses overtake in oncoming dedicated bus lanes given safe conditions2
Passing in mixed traffic given safe conditions1
No passing lanes0

Minimizing Bus Emissions
3 points

Over the past two decades, the European Union and the United States have adopted a series of progressively tighter emissions standards that are being used for this scoring system. Buses must be in compliance with Euro VI and U.S. 2010 emissions standards to receive 3 points. These standards result in extremely low emissions of both PM and NOx . For diesel vehicles, these standards require the use of PM traps, ultra-low-sulfur diesel fuel, and selective catalytic reduction. To receive 2 points, buses need to be certified to Euro IV or V with PM traps (note: 50 ppm sulfur diesel fuel or lower is required for PM traps to function effectively).

Vehicles certified to the Euro IV and V standards that do not require traps emit twice as much PM as vehicles meeting more recent standards. Therefore, these vehicles are awarded 1 point.

IV and V have been tested at levels substantially higher than certified levels. Because that is hard to verify, it is included as a recommendation, but not as a requirement, for receiving the 1 point.

Zero points are awarded for U.S. 2004 and Euro III standards and less stringent standards, because these standards allow ten times as much PM emissions as the U.S. 2010 and Euro VI standards.

Best Practice: TransOeste, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Ranking: Gold
Corridor length: 52 km (58 km on BRTdata.org)*
Riders per day: 240,000
TransOeste utilizes buses with low emissions as outlined in the standards of Euro VI or US 2010 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Stations Set Back from Intersections
2 points

Stations should be located at minimum 26 meters (85 feet), but ideally 40 meters (130 feet), from intersections to avoid delays. When stations are located just beyond an intersection, delays can occur when passengers take a long time to board or alight and the docked bus blocks others from pulling through the intersection. If stations are located just before an intersection, the traffic signal can keep buses from leaving the station and thus not allow other buses to pull in. The risk of conflict remains acute, particularly as frequency increases. Separating stations from intersections is a key way to mitigate these problems.

Best Practice

Bogota, Colombia: Transmilenio: Suba
Ranking: Silver
Corridor length: 13 km
Riders per day: 121,438

Notable strengths: Portal de Suba serves several main shopping centers and parks, stations are designed to be open but shelter from the sun and weather, platform level boarding and passing lanes are also positive aspects of the design.

Center Stations
2 points

Having a single station serving both directions of the BRT corridor makes transfers between the two directions easier and more convenient—something that becomes more important as a BRT network expands. It also tends to reduce construction costs and minimize the necessary right-of-way. In some cases, stations may be centrally aligned but split into two—called split stations, with each station housing a particular direction of the BRT corridor. If a physical connection between the two directions is not provided, fewer points are awarded.

Best Practice

Bogotá, Colombia: Transmilenio: Calle 80
Ranking: Gold
Corridor length: 7.5 km
Riders per day: 158.806

Notable strengths: Articulate buses add capacity for greater volumes of riders and dedicated bus-only lanes with physical separation from other vehicular traffic allows for increased on-time performance without traffic delays.

Pavement Quality
2 points

Good-quality pavement ensures better service and operations for a longer period by minimizing the need for maintenance on the busway. Roadways with poor-quality pavement will need to be shut down more frequently for repairs. Buses will also have to slow down to drive carefully over damaged pavement. A smooth ride is critical for creating a high-quality service that can attract and retain customers.

Best Practice

Bogota, Colombia: Transmilenio BRT: Calle 26
Ranking: Gold
Corridor length: 12.2 km
Riders per day: 104,180
Calle 26 BRT line features a pavement structure that is designed for a 30 year life over the entire corridor.

STATIONS (10 points)

Distances Between Stations
2 points

In a consistently built-up area, the distance between station stops optimizes at around 450 meters (1,476 ft.). Beyond this, more time is imposed on customers walking to stations than is saved by higher bus speeds. Below this distance, bus speeds will be reduced by more than the time saved with shorter walking distances. Thus, in keeping reasonably consistent with optimal station spacing, average distance between stations should not be below 0.3 km (0.2 mi.) or exceed 0.8 km (0.5 mi.).

Best Practice

Belo Horizonte, Brazil: MOVE: Cristiano-Machado
Ranking: Gold
Corridor length: 7.1 km
Riders per day: 185,000
Stations are spaced on average between 0.3 km (0.2 miles) and 0.8 km (0.5 miles) apart throughout the length of the corridor.

Scoring In-Depth: 

DISTANCE BETWEEN STATIONSPOINTS
Stations are spaced, on average, between 0.3 km and 0.8 km apart2

Safe and Comfortable Stations
3 points

One of the main distinguishing features of a BRT system as opposed to standard bus service is a safe and comfortable station environment. Four main elements contribute to that:

  1. Wide: Stations should have an internal width of at least 3 meters (10 ft.).
  2. Weather-protected: Stations should be weather-protected, including from wind, rain, snow, heat and/or cold, as appropriate to the conditions in a specific location.
  3. Safe: Stations should be well-lit, transparent, and have security— whether through security guards or cameras.
  4. Attractive: A clear intention to create attractive stations is also important to the image of the system and creates a sense of permanence and attractiveness that will attract not only riders but developers as well.

Best Practice

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: BRT Rio: TransCarioca
Ranking: Gold
Corridor length: 39 km
Riders per day: 216,000
TransCarioca was the second BRT line to open in Rio; establishing new connections to the airport. Stations are wide, weather protected, safe, and attractive.

Scoring In-Depth: 

STATIONSPOINTSWEIGHTED BY
Stations have four elements3

% of stations
Stations have three elements2
Stations have two elements1
Stations have one element0

Number of Doors on Bus
3 points

The speed of boarding and alighting is partially a function of the number of bus doors. Much like a subway in which a car has multiple wide doors, buses need the same to let higher volumes of people on and off the buses. One door or narrow doorways become bottlenecks that delay the bus.

Best Practice

Nantes, France: Ligne 4
Ranking: Bronze
Corridor length: 6.9 km
Riders per day: 25,000
Buses have at least three doors (for articulated buses) or two wide doors (for non-articulated buses) on the station side. System allows boarding at all doors.

Scoring In-Depth: 

STATIONSPOINTSWEIGHTED BY
Buses have at least three doors (for articulated buses*) or two wide doors (for non-articulated buses) on the station side. System allows boarding at all doors.3% of buses using corridor infrastructure meeting criteria

Docking Bays and Sub-stops
1 point

Multiple docking bays and sub-stops not only increase the capacity of a station, they help stations provide multiple services at the station as well.

A station is composed of sub-stops that can connect to one another but should be separated by a walkway long enough to allow buses to pass one sub-stop to dock at another. This reduces the risk of congestion by allowing a bus to pass a full sub-stop where buses can let passengers on and off. They are usually adjacent to each other and allow a second bus to pull up behind another bus already at the station. A station may be composed of only one sub-stop.

Best Practice

Curitiba, Brazil: Rede Integrada de Transporte (RIT): Leste
Ranking: Silver
Corridor length: 12.39 km
Riders per day: 90,500

The Leste corridor features at least two substops or docking bays at the highest demand stations to increase capacity and provide multiple service types.

Scoring In-Depth:

DOCKING BAYS AND SUBSTOPSPOINTS
At least two substops or docking bays at the highest demand stations1
Less than two substops or docking bays at the highest demand stations0

Sliding Doors in BRT Stations
1 point

Sliding station doors where passengers get on and off the buses improve the quality of the station environment, reduce the risk of accidents, protect passengers from the weather, and prevent pedestrians from entering the station in unauthorized locations. 

Best Practice

Johannesburg, South Africa: Rea Vaya: 1A

Ranking: Silver

Corridor length: 25.5 km

Riders per day: 42,000

Notable strengths: All stations have sliding doors which improve the quality of the station environment, reduce the risk of accidents, protect passengers from the weather, and prevent pedestrians from entering the stations in unauthorized locations.

Scoring In-Depth:

SLIDING DOORSPOINTS
All stations have sliding doors1
Otherwise0

COMMUNICATIONS (5 points)

Branding
3 points

BRT promises a high quality of service, which is reinforced by having a unique brand and identity. 

Best Practice

Cleveland, Ohio, USA: Healthline
Ranking: Silver
Corridor length: 11.4 km
Riders per day: 15,000

All buses, routes, and stations in corridor follow single unified brand of entire system which communicates uniformity and consistency to riders. The name also suggests connections to the Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals of Cleveland.

Scoring In-Depth:

BRANDINGPOINTS
All buses, routes, and stations in corridor follow single unifying brand of entire BRT system3
All buses, routes, and stations in corridor follow single unifying brand, but differ from rest of system2
Some buses, routes, and stations in corridor follow single unifying brand, regardless of rest of system1
No corridor brand0

Passenger Information
2 points

Numerous studies have shown that passenger satisfaction is linked to knowing when the next bus will arrive. Giving passengers information is critical to a positive overall experience. Real-time passenger information includes electronic panels, digital audio messaging (“Next bus” at stations, “Next stop” on buses), and/or dynamic information on handheld devices. Static passenger information refers to station and vehicle signage, including network maps, route maps, local area maps, emergency indications, and other user information.

Best Practice

Hartford, Connecticut, USA: CTFastrak
Ranking: Silver
Corridor length: 15.1 km
Riders per day: 9,674

CTFastrak stations feature functioning real-time and up to date passenger information corridor wide.

Scoring In-Depth:

PASSENGER INFORMATION (AT STATION AND ON VEHICLES)POINTS
Functioning real-time and up-to-date static passenger information corridor-wide2
Up-to-date static passenger information1

ACCESS AND INTEGRATION (15 points)

Universal Access
3 points

A BRT system should be accessible to all special-needs customers, including those who are physically, visually, and/or hearing-impaired, as well as those with temporary disabilities, the elderly, children, parents with strollers, and other load-carrying passengers.

Best Practice

Rouen, France: TEOR (Transport Est-Ouest Rouennais)
Ranking: Silver
Corridor length: 9.9 km
Notable strengths: Accessibility includes both physical design characteristics that allow for people using wheelchairs and otherwise to move through stations unimpeded, as well as audiovisual information communicated via Braille and tactile ground surface indicators.

Scoring In-Depth:

UNIVERSAL ACCESSIBILITYPOINTS
Full accessibility provided3
Physical accessibility provided2
Audiovisual accessibility provided1

Integration with Other Public Transport
3 points

When a BRT system is built in a city, a functioning public transport network often already exists, be it rail, bus, or minibus. The BRT corridor should integrate into the rest of the public transport network, saving time and providing a seamless, high-quality experience. There are two components to BRT integration:

  • Physical transfer points: Physical transfer points should minimize walking between modes, be well-sized, and not require passengers to exit one system and enter another;
  • Fare payment: The fare system should be integrated so that one fare card may be used for all modes.

Best Practice

Caracas, Venezuela: BusCaracas: Linea 7
Ranking: Silver
Corridor length: 5.2 km
Riders per day: 77,948

Linea 7 has several transfer points to other public transit lines throughout the city of Caracas, with minimal walking distances & fare payment integration.  

Scoring In-Depth:

INTEGRATION WITH OTHER PUBLIC TRANSPORTPOINTS
Integration of both physical design and fare payment3
Integration of both physical design or fare payment only2
No integration0

Pedestrian Access and Safety
4 points

A BRT system could be extremely well-designed and functioning but if passengers cannot access it safely, it cannot achieve its goals. Good pedestrian access is imperative in BRT corridor design. Additionally, as a new BRT corridor is a good opportunity to improve the pedestrian environment on the streets, public spaces along the corridor, and on side streets leading to stations. 

Best Practice

Buenos Aires, Argentina: Metrobus: 9 de Julio
Ranking: Silver
Corridor length: 3 km
Riders per day: 255,000

Notable strengths: 9 de Julio includes at-grade pedestrian crossings with signals, markings and bollards to protect pedestrians from vehicular traffic when accessing the BRT stations.  

Scoring In-Depth:

PEDESTRIAN ACCESSPOINTS
Good, safe pedestrian access at every station and many improvements along corridor4
Good, safe pedestrian access at every station and modest improvements along corridor3
Good, safe pedestrian access at every station and no other improvements along corridor2
Good, safe pedestrian access at most stations and no other improvements along corridor1
Stations lack good, safe pedestrian access0

Secure Bicycle Parking
2 points

Bicycle parking at stations allows customers to use bicycles as feeders to the BRT corridor, increasing system coverage.  More options for accessing the BRT corridor can save users time and create a higher quality experience.  Formal bicycle parking facilities that are secure (either monitored by an attendant or observed by security cameras) and weather-protected are more likely to be used by customers.

Best Practice

Xiamen, China: Xiamen BRTL Line 2
Ranking: Silver
Corridor length: 10 km
Riders per day: 113,300
Xiamen has installed bicycle parking racks near BRT stations, some are double-decker to conserve space more efficiently.

Scoring In-Depth:

BICYCLE PARKINGPOINTS
Secure bicycle parking at least in higher-demand stations and standard bicycle racks elsewhere2
Standard bicycle racks in most stations1
Little or no bicycle parking0

Bicycle Lanes
2 points

Bicycle-lane networks integrated with the BRT corridor improve customer access, provide a full set of sustainable travel options, and enhance road safety.  Bicycle lanes should ideally connect major residential areas, commercial centers, schools, and business centers to nearby BRT stations within 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) to provide the widest access. 

Moreover, in most cities, the best BRT corridors are also the most desirable bicycle routes, as they are often the routes with the greatest travel demand. Yet there is a shortage of safe cycling infrastructure on those same corridors. If some accommodation for cyclists is not made, it is possible that cyclists may use the busway. If the busway has not been designed for dual bike and bus use, it is a safety risk for cyclists. Bicycle lanes should be built either within the same corridor or on a nearby parallel street and should be at least 2 meters, for each direction, of unimpeded width.

Best Practice

Los Angeles, California, USA: Orange Line
Ranking: Bronze
Corridor length: 20 km
Riders per day: 26,179
The LA Orange Line BRT includes a protected separated bicycle paths that runs along the length of the corridor right of way. Buses also includes loading racks for bikes.

Scoring In-Depth:

BICYCLE LANESPOINTS
Bicycle lanes on or parallel to entire corridor2
Bicycle lanes do not span entire corridor1
Poorly-designed or no bicycle infrastructure0

Bicycle-Sharing Integration
1 point

Having the option to make short trips from the BRT corridor by a shared bicycle is important to providing connectivity to some destinations. Operating costs of providing bus service to the last mile (i.e., feeder buses) are often the highest cost of maintaining a BRT network; thus, providing a low-cost bicycle-sharing alternative to feeders is generally seen as best practice.

Best Practice

Mexico City, Mexico: Metrobús: Línea 1, Av. de los Insurgentes
Ranking: Silver
Corridor length: 30 km
Riders per day: 480,000

Metrobús Linea 1 integrates Ecobici bike share stations along the corridor, particularly in the Downtown city center areas where there is greater density and more protected bicycle lanes.

Scoring In-Depth:

BICYCLE-SHARING INTEGRATIONPOINTS
Bicycle-sharing at minimum of 50% of stations on corridor1
Bicycle-sharing at <50% of stations on corridor0

POINT DEDUCTIONS*

-63 (Total)

Commercial Speeds

Most of the design features included in the scoring system will always result in higher speeds. However, there is an exception: higher-demand systems in which too many buses carrying too many passengers have been concentrated into a single lane. In this case, bus speeds could be lower than in mixed-traffic conditions. This penalty was imposed to mitigate the risk of rewarding such a system with a quality standard.

Deduction In-Depth: 

COMMERCIAL SPEEDSPOINTS
Minimum average commercial speed is 20 km per hour (12mph) and above0
Minimum average commercial speed is 16 km per hour - 19 km per hour (10-12mph) and above-3
Minimum average commercial speed is 13 km per hour - 16 km per hour (8-10mph) and above-6
Minimum average commercial speed is 13 km per hour (8 mph) and below-10

-10

Minimum Peak Passengers per Hour per Direction Below 1,000

BRT systems with ridership levels below 1,000 passengers per hour per direction (pphpd) during the peak hour are carrying fewer passengers than a normal mixed-traffic lane. Very low ridership can be an indication that other bus services continue to operate in the corridor alongside and in competition with the BRT services. Alternatively, it indicates that a corridor was poorly selected.

Almost all cities have corridors carrying at least 1,000 pphpd during the peak hour. Many cities, however, have corridors where transit demand is very low, even below this level. While many Gold- Standard BRT features would still bring benefits in these conditions, it is unlikely that such levels would justify the cost and dedicated right-of-way intrinsic to BRT. This penalty has been created to penalize systems that have done a poor job of service planning or corridor selection, while not overly penalizing smaller, car-oriented cities with low transit demand. If PPHPD is below 1000, a deduction of -5 should be made. 

-5

Lack of Enforcement of Right-of-Way

A BRT corridor may have a good alignment and physical separation, but if the right-of-way is not enforced, bus speeds will decline. This penalty addresses systems that do not adequately enforce the busway to prevent encroachment from other vehicles. There are multiple and somewhat context-specific means of enforcing the exclusive right-of-way. The committee generally recommends on-board camera enforcement and regular policing at points of frequent encroachment, coupled with high fines for violators, to minimize invasions of the lanes by non-authorized vehicles. Solely relying on camera enforcement deployed at high-risk locations is somewhat less effective.

Deductions In-Depth: 

LACK OF ENFORCEMENTPOINTS
Regular encroachment of BRT right-of-way-5
Some encroachment on BRT right-of-way-3
Occasional encroachment on BRT right-of-way-1

-5

Significant Gap Between Bus Floor and Station Platform

Even corridors that have been designed to accommodate platform-level boarding could have gaps if the buses do not dock properly. A significant gap between the platform and the bus floor undermines the time-savings benefits of platform-level boarding and introduces a significant safety risk for passengers. Such gaps could occur for a variety of reasons, from poor basic design to poor driver training and technical opinion varies on the best way to minimize the gap. 

Note: If a system does not have platform-level boarding by design, no penalty points should be given.

Deduction In-Depth*: 

GAPS WHEN DOCKINGPOINTSWEIGHTED BY
Major horizontal gap-5% of observed dockings
Minor horizontal gap-3

*For more information on the definitions for minor and major horizontal gaps, see The BRT Standard.

-5

Overcrowding

This was included because many corridors that are generally well-designed are so overcrowded that they become alienating to passengers. While average “passenger standing density” is a reasonable indicator, getting this information is not easy, so a more subjective measure is allowed in cases of obvious overcrowding.

Deduction In-Depth: 

OVERCROWDINGPOINTS
Passenger density during peak hour on more than 25% of buses on critical link in peak direction is >5 meters squared

-5
Passenger density during peak hour at one or more stations is >3 meters squared
Passengers unable to board buses or enter stations

-5

Poorly Maintained Infrastructure

Even a BRT system that is well built and attractive can fall into disrepair. It is important that the busway, buses, stations, and technology systems be regularly maintained. A corridor can be penalized for a lack of maintenance of the busway, buses, stations, or technology systems for a total of -14 points.

Deductions In-Depth: 

MAINTENANCE OF BUSWAYPOINTS
Busway has significant wear, including potholes or warping, or debris such as trash or snow-4
MAINTENANCE OF BUSESPOINTS
Buses have graffiti, litter, seats in disrepair, bus mechanisms (e.g. doors) not functioning property-2
MAINTENANCE OF STATIONSPOINTS
Stations have graffiti, litter, occupancy by vagrants or vendors, or structural damage-2
MAINTENANCE OF TECHNOLOGY SYSTEMSPOINTS
Technology systems, including fare collection machines, are not functional, up-to-date, and/or accurate-2
MAINTENANCE OF SIDEWALKS ON CORRIDORPOINTS
Sidewalks in disrepair-2
MAINTENANCE OF BICYCLE LANES ON CORRIDORPOINTS
Bike lanes in disrepair-2

-14

Low Peak Frequency

How often the bus comes during peak travel times such as rush hour is a good proxy for quality of service. For BRT to be truly competitive with alternative modes, like the private automobile, passengers need to be confident that their wait times will be short and the next bus will arrive soon.

Deductions In-Depth: 

% ROUTES WITH AT LEAST 8 BUSES PER HOURPOINTS
100% have at least 8 buses per hour0
75% have at least 8 buses per hour-1
50% have at least 8 buses per hour-2
<50% have at least 8 buses per hour-3

-3

Low Off-Peak Frequency

As with peak frequency, how often the bus comes during off-peak travel times is a good proxy for quality of service.

Deductions In-Depth:

% ROUTES WITH AT LEAST 4 BUSES PER HOURPOINTS
100% of all routes have at least 4 buses per hour0
60% of all routes have at least 4 buses per hour-1
< 60% of all routes have at least 4 buses per hour-2

-2

Permitting Unsafe Bicycle Use

Bicycle use in busways is generally not encouraged, and is particularly dangerous in bus lanes with speed limits greater than 25 kilometers per hour (15 miles per hour) and/or bus lanes with widths less than 3.8 meters (12 feet).  If cycling is observed in these conditions, a deduction of 2 points should be made.

-2

Lack of Traffic Safety Data

Traffic safety data is vital to ensuring that transportation systems operate safely and to evaluating efforts to improve safety. All cities should collect traffic safety data and make this information public so that progress can be tracked.  If traffic safety data is not collected, a deduction of 2 points should be made. 

-2

Buses Running Parallel to BRT Corridor

Bus corridors should be designed to capture as much of the public transportation demand on a corridor to maximize the utility of dedicated transit infrastructure.  A significant number of full-sized public buses operating outside the busway results in difficult transfers, undermines the financial sustainability of the BRT corridor, and leads to less frequent service on the corridor.

Deductions In-Depth:

BUSES RUNNING PARALLEL TO BRT CORRIDORPOINTS
<60% of buses operating on corridor use busway-2
<40% of buses operating on corridor use busway-4
<20% of buses operating on corridor use busway-6

-6

Bus Bunching

Bus reliability is critical to improving BRT performance. Bus bunching- when the distance between buses becomes highly uneven-reduces reliability, increases wait times, and contributes to crowding conditions, deteriorating the quality and speed of service.

Deductions In-Depth:

BUS BUNCHINGPOINTS
Bus bunching observed on corridor-2
Multiple instances of bus bunching are observed on corridor within an hour-4

-4

*Point deductions are only relevant to systems already in operation. They have been introduced as a way of mitigating the risk of recognizing a system as high quality that has made significant design errors or has significant management and performance weaknesses not readily observable during the design phase.

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