In spring of 2011, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro), in partnership with the City of Los Angeles, was awarded a grant from the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) to prepare the Orange Line Bus Rapid Transit Sustainable Corridor Implementation Plan (Orange Line BRT Sustainable CIP). Metro, the City of Los Angeles, and SCAG retained Raimi + Associates and its consultant team of The Center for Transit-Oriented Development and Nelson\Nygaard to assist with the planning effort.
The Orange Line BRT Sustainable CIP identifies a range of improvements to the Orange Line and the fourteen station areas on its original alignment – such as land use changes, catalyst projects, streetscape improvements, and transit connections – that will increase transit use for commuters and discretionary riders, reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and advance Metro’s sustainable development principles. The four main goals of the Orange…
What GAO Found
U.S. bus rapid transit (BRT) projects we reviewed include features that distinguished BRT from standard bus service and improved riders’ experience. However, few of the projects (5 of 20) used dedicated or semi-dedicated lanes— a feature commonly associated with BRT and included in international systems to reduce travel time and attract riders. Project sponsors and planners explained that decisions on which features to incorporate into BRT projects were influenced by costs, community needs, and the ability to phase in additional features. For example, one project sponsor explained that well-lighted shelters with security cameras and real-time information displays were included to increase passengers’ sense of safety in the evening. Project sponsors told us they plan to incorporate additional features such as off-board fare collection over time.
The BRT projects we reviewed generally increased ridership and improved service over the previous transit service.
It is recognized that hard factors such as travel time, cost, availability of public transport services, and car ownership have a major impact when people consider the choice between using an automobile or public transport. Nevertheless, there is evidence from the literature that rail-based public transport often is considered superior to bus systems, even in cases where quantitative hard factors are equal. This attraction of passengers is known as a psychological rail factor, and it is used to express a higher attraction in terms of higher ridership of rail-based public transport in contrast to bus services (Axhausen et al. 2001; Megel 2001b; Ben-Akiva and Morikawa 2002; Vuchic 2005; Scherer 2010a). The existence of this rail factor is widely accepted among experts, but little evidence exists about the reasons for this phenomena.
The idea of a rail factor is consistent with statements that the image of a transport system has an impact on demand. Furthermore, research…
There is a growing body of evidence, including earlier Mineta Transportation Institute-sponsored research, showing that multi-destination transit systems are far more effective in attracting passengers and more efficient in use of resources to carry each passenger than central business district (CBD)-focused systems. At the same time, however, evidence is beginning to show that multi-destination transit systems appeal largely to transit-dependent riders (also called captive riders), whose demand for transit service appears to be highly elastic with respect to the shortening of transit travel time between origin and destination. Given the interest in using transit investments to lure people from their automobiles in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce congestion, it is imperative that the appeal of such systems to choice riders (also called discretionary riders) also be understood. However, this issue remains as yet relatively unexplored.
By 2013, King County Metro Transit’s bus rapid transit (BRT) service, known as RapidRide, will be expanding to six lines covering 64 miles of high-use corridors. The Bus Rapid Transit and Land Use Initiative is the product of a partnership between ULI Seattle, King County Metro Transit, the city of Seattle, the city of Shoreline, and the ULI/Curtis Regional Infrastructure Project. The partnership formed a team of ULI members and transit professionals to analyze and make recommendations about connecting RapidRide and land use opportunities. The team developed case studies of similar BRT service in other cities and analyzed three station areas in Seattle and Shoreline.
From the perspectives of multimodal corridors, neighborhood design, housing, jobs/workers, marketing, and stakeholders, the team developed specific recommendations for RapidRide and initiative partners, as well as recommendations for each station area. Three overarching themes emerged:
Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) has gained attention as a potentially cost-effective form of highcapacity public transportation. This is particularly the case in small to medium-size cities that do not have high enough densities or serious enough peak-period traffic congestion to justify fairly expensive fixed-guideway transit investments. BRT is widely embraced for providing potential rail-like services at a fraction of the cost (Wright, 2011). This study explores possibilities for advancing BRT systems and associated higher density land development in the Central Valley of California. It uses photo-simulations and stakeholder reactions to visual images to gauge public attitudes toward what would be a fairly radical transformation of urban environments in traditionally car-oriented settings. Due to the comparatively low development densities found in the Central Valley relative to California’s larger metropolitan areas, the kinds of transformations that would be needed to…
The purpose of this synthesis was to document the state of the practice for transit agencies in terms of development, deployment, and sustainability of downtown circulator systems. It was accomplished through a literature review, transportation/transit agency survey, and case studies. Seven case studies across a geographic range of locations offer additional details on innovative and successful practices, as well as other related issues. These circulator locations include downtowns in Baltimore, Maryland; Hartford, Connecticut; Louisville, Kentucky; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Washington, D.C.; Los Angeles, California; and Austin, Texas.
Over the past two decades, Germany has improved the quality of its public transport services and attracted more passengers while increasing productivity, reducing costs, and cutting subsidies. Public transport systems reduced their costs through organizational restructuring and outsourcing to newly founded subsidiaries; cutting employee benefits and freezing salaries; increasing work hours, using part-time employees, expanding job tasks, and encouraging retirement of older employees; cooperation with other agencies to share employees, vehicles, and facilities; cutting underutilized routes and services; and buying new vehicles with lower maintenance costs and greater passenger capacity per driver. Revenues were increased through fare hikes for single tickets while maintaining deep discounts for monthly, semester, and annual tickets; and raising passenger volumes by improved quality of service, and full regional coordination of timetables, fares, and services. Those efforts by…
Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) uses different combinations of techniques to improve service, such as bus-only lanes and roads, pre-boarding fare collection, transit priority at traffic signals, stylish vehicles with extra doors, bus stops that are more like light rail stations, and high frequency service. This study examines five approaches to BRT systems as implemented by public transit agencies in California, Oregon, and Ontario.
Transit preferential treatments are a key component to the provision of travel time savings and improved on-time performance for bus and rail systems operating in mixed traffic on urban streets. Rail systems operating on-street include both light rail transit and streetcar. Enhanced bus operations where transit preferential treatments are particularly critical include bus rapid transit and express bus.
Although transit preferential treatments on urban streets have been presented and reviewed with respect to their application and impact in several documents over the years there has not been a single, recent document that has addressed all of the potential treatments that have been or could be applied. This synthesis report provides such a document. Treat•ments that are addressed relate to both roadway segments and spot locations (intersections) and include the following:
Exclusive lanes outside the median area, and