What is BRT?
BRT Policy Center -- Transportation Choices for the 21st Century
"BRT is Better Rapid Transit!"

BRT is a complete rapid transit system that combines many of the features people like about rail systems with the flexibility and cost savings of using over-the-road vehicles.  There are seven major components to a BRT system.  Communites may choose among these component groups to assemble systems that best meet their needs.

Running Ways: Vehicles operate on their own roadways or lanes, or in HOV lanes, thus maximizing speed and service.  Vehicles also can run on city streets, providing flexibility to serve changing community needs.  Communities can use signal prioritization, queue jumping, and other technologies to increase speed and enhance service when vehicles are operating in general traffic. 

Stations:  Like rail systems, stations are the link between the community and the system.  They are designed to integrate into the community, promote economic development, enhance travel time, and encourage intermodal connectivity.  They also minimize boarding and "dwell" times, thus helping people reach their destination more quickly.

Vehicles: Vehicles are clean, quiet, comfortable, modern, and efficient.  Although they can operate on a range of fuels, priority should be given to vehicles that reduce pollution.  Priority also should be given to vehicles that minimize boarding times and that provide easier access for the disabled and others with special needs.  This will make the system more efficient for everyone.

Service:  Service is frequent enough that passengers do not need a schedule.  Moreover, service is integrated with other regional transportation systems, enhancing mobility and promoting intermodal connectivity. 

Route Structure:  Routes are logically laid out and depicted in an easy-to-read map, like a subway map.  "Feeder" lines can be used to link into "express" service, combining the convenience of close-to-home stops with the speed of express service.

Fare Collection: Smart card and other advanced technologies allow fares to be collected quickly and efficiently, often before the boarding process. This speeds the trip for everyone.

Intelligent Transportation Systems:  Technology keeps track of vehicles, provides passengers with updated travel information, and improves safety.

Are all of these features really necessary to have a true BRT system?

BRT is an integrated system, with each of the components working together to optimize performance.  If certain features are left out of the design, performance will decrease. 

The same is true of other transit systems, like rail.  For example, it would be inconceivable to build a light rail or heavy rail system with the farebox located by the train operator, requiring all passengers to board single-file through one door.   The delays would be significant, capacity would be reduced, and travel speeds would be much slower. 
Thus, to make informed decisions about whether to invest in BRT, it is important to distinguish between full-featured BRT and innovative bus projects that borrow various components of BRT.  At the same time, however, it is important to recognize that unlike rail, BRT can be built in stages, with various features added over time.  As each of these features are added, performance will increase.
Station along a dedicated BRT lane.  Brisbane, Australia
Examples of clean and modern indoor stations and dedicated lanes
Automatic Fare Collection Machine Los Angeles, CA
No more steps!  Easy boarding improves travel time and mobility for all.
BRT Concept Vehicle.  BRT is Better Rapid Transit!.
Why Choose BRT?

BRT is an idea whose time has arrived.  It has many advantages that all communities should consider as part of their planning process:

BRT systems can operate at speeds nearly twice as fast as conventional buses and roughly equivalent to light rail, getting people quickly to       their destination.
BRT systems are flexible vehicles can operate on neighborhood streets and on designated roadways.
BRT systems have capital and operating costs substantially lower than rail.  In fact, as noted by a recent
Transportation Research Board study, full-featured BRT can perform as well if not better than most rail systems in the world, and this performance can be achieved at a fraction of the cost.
BRT can promote positive changes in local land use, encouraging appropriate development and enhancing property values.
BRT can be more accessible to seniors and people with disabilities than traditional bus              service.
BRT can take advantage of compressed natural gas (CNG) and other clean technologies, helping to improve our environment.
BRT can be developed incrementally, allowing systems to be installed over-time as community needs and demands change.
Easy to understand maps and signs make using BRT a snap!
Clean, modern, comfortable interior that is comparable to a modern subway system (from Civis Bus).
Are you interested in learning more about federal funding for BRT?  Click here.
Proposed BRT system operating in Eugene, Oregon.  This could be your community!