BRT Case Study: Las Vegas, Nevada - Metropolitan Planning Council

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BRT Case Study: Las Vegas, Nevada

Photo By: Annie Weinstock, ITDP

SDX station in Las Vegas

MPC is highlighting true BRT practices in the United States with a series of case studies based on ITDP’s report, Recapturing Global Leadership in Bus Rapid Transit. On Aug. 17, 2011, MPC will release its own report Bus Rapid Transit: Chicago’s New Route to Opportunity. Register for the event today.

MPC Research Assistant James Szczybor contributed to this post.

Las Vegas, Nevada

Name: Metropolitan Area Express ( MAX )

Managing Entity: Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada ( RTC )

Opening Year: 2004

System Length:
7.5 miles / 4.5 miles with dedicated running way

Key characteristics: Off-board fare collection, unique branding, specialized buses, stations, at-level boarding, 4.5 miles of dedicated curbside lanes ( shared with right-turning traffic )

Name: Strip & Downtown Express ( SDX )

Managing Entity: Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada ( RTC )

Opening Year: 2010

System Length:
9 miles / 2.25 miles with dedicated running way

Key characteristics: Off-board fare collection, unique branding, specialized buses, stations, at-level boarding, central median aligned dedicated right-of-way and left turn restrictions at intersections.

Average bus speeds along corridor before:
45.5 mins ( MAX ) / SDX — routing change makes before/after comparison impossible

Average bus speeds along corridor after:
38 mins ( MAX ) / SDX — routing change makes before/after comparison impossible

Speed increase:
20% ( MAX ) / SDX

Ridership increases:
25% ( MAX ) / 11% ( SDX )

Project Cost (not including rolling stock):
$20.3 million ( MAX ) / $47.3 million (SDX)

Cost per mile:
$2.6 million per mile ( MAX ) / $6 million per mile ( SDX )

Weekday Ridership:
MAX:
2300
SDX: 14,000

Las Vegas developed two BRT systems: the Metropolitan Area Express (MAX) and the Strip & Downtown Express (SDX) lines. MAX opened in 2004 and SDX opened in 2010, building off of MAX’s success. A 9 mile system, SDX helps transport visitors in the desert oasis. Ridership increased by 25% over the course of BRT’s implementation. Even facing opposition from casino owners, BRT proves to be an effective mode of transportation for a large portion of downtown Las Vegas.

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