Public transport has the power to connect cities, or to push them apart. Quality, well-designed transport systems are fast, comfortable, affordable, and most importantly, accessible. Access to safe, modern transport provides a true alternative to private car ownership, which is a major source of socioeconomic disparity and a massive contributor to climate change in cities all over the world.
Transportation is the fastest-growing source of global climate emissions and the largest single source of black carbon, which is particularly damaging to respiratory health, from gas and diesel engines. Shifting from single-occupancy private cars to high-capacity transport corridors would drastically cut emissions, eliminate traffic congestion, better connect low-income communities to the opportunities and resources they need.
ITDP supports all high quality public transit, from bus improvements to metro rail. Our area of expertise is bus rapid transit (BRT), an innovative bus-based system that uses existing roads with segregated lanes, off-boarding fare collection, and other features to improve speed and comfort for passengers. BRT is appealing for very simple reasons: it is much faster, cheaper, and more flexible to specific city conditions than a rail system, but if designed properly, it can provide the same level of service. Today, there are BRT systems in over 100 cities on six continents.
When done right, BRT enables cities to devote less space to cars, while moving more people at a relatively low cost, and with faster implementation than rail. As the world’s populations move to cities at faster rates, the demand for sustainable transportation will only increase. BRT systems stand out as smart options for cities to meet their citizens’ needs, improve quality of life and support a thriving urban environment.
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