Bus Rapid Transit

What is BRT?
Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is a high-quality bus-based transit system that delivers fast, comfortable, and cost-effective services at metro-level capacities. It does this through the provision of dedicated lanes, with busways and iconic stations typically aligned to the center of the road, off-board fare collection, and fast and frequent operations.

Because BRT contains features similar to a light rail or metro system, it is much more reliable, convenient and faster than regular bus services. With the right features, BRT is able to avoid the causes of delay that typically slow regular bus services, like being stuck in traffic and queuing to pay on board.

What is a BRT Corridor?

A BRT corridor is a section of road or contiguous roads served by a bus route or multiple bus routes with a minimum length of 3 kilometers (1.9 miles) that has dedicated bus lanes. The BRT Standard is to be applied to specific BRT corridors rather than to a BRT system as a whole, because the quality of BRT in cities with multiple corridors can vary significantly*.

To be considered BRT, a corridor must:

  • be at least 2 miles in length with dedicated lanes,
  • score 4 or more points in dedicated right-of-way element,
  • score 4 or more points in busway alignment element; and
  • score 20 or more points across all five BRT Basics element.

The BRT Basics
There are 5 essential features that define BRT. These features most significantly result in a faster trip for passengers and make traveling on transit more reliable and more convenient.

Dedicated Right-of-Way
Bus-only lanes make for faster travel and ensure that buses are never delayed due to mixed traffic congestion.

Busway alignment
Center of roadway or bus-only corridor keeps buses away from the busy curbside where cars are parking, standing, and turning

Off-board Fare Collection
Fare payment at the station, instead of on the bus, eliminates the delay caused by passengers waiting to pay on board

Intersection Treatments
Prohibiting turns for traffic across the bus lane reduces delays caused to buses by turning traffic. Prohibiting such turns is the most important measure for moving buses through intersections – more important even than signal priority.

Platform-level Boarding
The station should be at level with the bus for quick and easy boarding. This also makes it fully accessible for wheelchairs, disabled passengers, strollers and carts with minimal delays.


  • Feasibility study for a bus rapid transit lane on 1960 from humble to willowbrook
  • Feasibility study for a bus rapid transit from IAH airport to the light rail system


City Lab – Why More U.S. Cities Need to Embrace Bus-Rapid Transit

City Lab – Does Transit Always Increase Land Value?

World Resources Institute – 4 Ways Cities Benefit from Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)

World Resources Institute – Latin America’s Bus Rapid Transit Boom–Lessons for U.S. Public Transportation

World Bank – Mexico City Insurgentes Bus Rapid Transit System Carbon Finance Project

World Economic Forum – Why Latin America’s urban transport is on track

Lincoln Institute of Land Policy – Bus Rapid Transit and Urban Development in Latin America (Land Lines Article)

Forbes – Bus Rapid Transit Spurs Development Better Than Light Rail Or Streetcars: Study

U.S. GAO – Projects Improve Transit Service and Can Contribute to Economic Development

Next City – Can Fast Buses Really Trump Rail?

Next City – Tijuana’s Getting a $61 Million Transit Makeover

Next City – Baltimore Transit Union Promotes BRT Plan

Next City – San Francisco’s Bus Rapid Transit Future Is Taking Shape

U.S. Dept of Transportation – Applicability of Bogota’s TransMilenio BRT System to the United States

The Guardian – Buses are the future of urban transport. No, really

What Chicago can learn from Mexico City’s bus rapid transit

MIT – Public Transport Politices in Europe: Implementing Bus Rapid Transit Systems in Major European Cities

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