The Rapid Transit Database (RTDB) is a collection of all rapid transit corridors worldwide that relies on data collected from government sources and publically available news sources. The RTDB was developed by ITDP and is updated annually.
Total kilometers of rapid transit (BRT and/or LRT and/or Metro).
Rapid Transit to Resident
The ratio of the length (km) of rapid transit to the urban population
The total number of people who live in cities with populations above 500,000.
Bus Rapid Transit
BRT is rapid transit using dedicated busways for fast, cost-effective, and high-capacity service.
Light Rail Transit
LRT is rail-based rapid transit that runs on its own tracks, often aboveground.
Metro is rail-based rapid transit that uses heavier vehicles than LRT, often underground.
All Rapid Transit
Rapid transit includes Bus Rapid Transit, Light Rail Transit, and/or Metro.
How to Use
Select up to four cities or countries to display current data on the map. To de-select a location, click a second time on the location or bubble. Information selected on the map is shown in the below graph.
Color scheme: RTR for All Modes
0.1 - 10
10 - 20
20 - 30
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The Rapid Transit Database (RTDB) presents all publically available data about every rapid transit line in the world. ITDP maintains the RTDB and updates it annually. You can view or download the full database here.
Rapid transit is the backbone of public transportation, especially in large cities, because it allows people to travel quickly between different neighborhoods. It functions best as part of a larger urban mobility system that includes walking and cycling.
Rapid transit is public transportation that is separated from other traffic. It may use buses or railways, but those vehicles must operate on dedicated, separated infrastructure. Rapid transit is the backbone of a city’s public transportation system because it allows people to travel quickly between different neighborhoods.
For a corridor to qualify as ‘rapid transit’ in the RTDB, it must meet the following criteria:
Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and Light Rail Transit (LRT) must meet the “BRT Basics” definition in The BRT Standard:
BRT and LRT corridors must have five essential elements:
Metro is defined as any rail-based transit mode that features:
The RTDB might exclude corridors, even within the same system, that seem like rapid transit but do not meet the above essential characteristics.
The RTDB uses population estimates for urban areas from the United Nation’s 2018 Revision of World Urbanization Prospects. These reflect urban agglomerations, rather than municipalities as they may be legally understood.
Rapid Transit to Resident Ratio
The Rapid Transit to Resident Ratio (RTR) is a small statistic with a lot of information. The metric compares the length of rapid transit lines (including rail, metro, and BRT) with a city or country’s urban population (cities with over 500,000 people). This metric offers a snapshot of how transit infrastructure compares to population. Because RTR considers the population of a city or country, it shows a more meaningful picture of transit quality than a simple measurement of transit length.
RTR is a useful metric, but it must be considered critically and in context, especially at the city level. Some cities with high RTR numbers do not have transit systems that serve all residents equitably and effectively. For example, a city may have a high RTR, but if the rapid transit corridors are relegated only to wealthy enclaves, low-density districts, or fail to travel to important destinations like job centers, then the high RTR number can conceal the poor quality of actual service. RTR should always be supplemented with an understanding of the geographical relationship between transit and population within a city.
1. The BRT Standard
2. The BRT Planning Guide
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