Friday, May 28, 2010

Did    you know?
Bogota’s Transmilenio BRT ridership averages 1.6 million trips each day, equaling the whole CTA bus and rail network.

Bus Rapid Transit: Advancing Livable Cities

In 1974, Curitiba, Brazil, introduced the world’s first ever bus rapid transit (BRT) system.  It offers the rapidly growing city a reliable, high-quality transportation option that provides accessibility and reduces congestion.  The innovative bus service offers many features similar to rail transportation - dedicated right-of-ways unimpeded by traffic signals and congestion, fare collection prior to boarding, quick passenger loading and unloading - but built at a fraction of the cost.  Today, the Curitiba BRT system not only serves 1.3 million passengers every day, including 70 percent of city commuters, but is also the international model for BRT. 

Cities across the world have built their own BRT systems by using the Curitiba blueprint.  In the process, however, they have included other features to improve upon the original design.  Bogota’s Transmilenio system was built along with an extensive, 70-mile bike network to offer connectivity between stations and a viable alternative to automobile travel.  The Seoul, South Korea, transit system uses a universal smart card, T-money, which enables riders to seamlessly transfer between all BRT, conventional bus, and rail services in the city.  The York region of Canada’s system, Viva, provides real-time arrival information on displays at every stop, to improve the dissemination of information to passengers.  BRT is constantly evolving and adjusting to the differing characteristics of cities around the world to provide the best transit service possible.

BRT has proven benefits and increased mobility in other parts of the world, creating burgeoning interest throughout the United States.  Some cities, such as Los Angeles, Cleveland, and Boston, have already introduced elements of BRT on smaller scales with the possibility for expansion.  BRT is also recognized by the federal government as a viable transportation option.  The Federal Transit Administration is allocating $280 million in discretionary grants towards Bus and Urban Circulator projects, which includes BRT, streetcars, and other fixed guideways. 

To learn more about bus rapid transit in the U.S., and the current proposals for BRT in the Chicago region, please check out MPC’s “Our Ticket to Livable Cities: Bus Rapid Transit” roundtable discussion on June 15.  For more information, visit

Curitiba BRT
Photo courtesy of Bibiana Antoniacomi Schappel

For Additional Information:



Local News

Chicago has top 2 truck bottlenecks in nation, study findsChicago Tribune “The Federal Highway Administration released a roster of 100 locations for the most severe trucking bottlenecks, and three of the 10 most congested corridors are in Chicago, including the top two.”

Daley: All CTA stations to have cameras by end of monthChicago Tribune “The Chicago Transit Authority will have at least one surveillance camera installed at each of its 144 ‘L’ stations by the end of this month, officials announced.”

RDA to direct land use after Cline demolitionGary Post-Tribune “The Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority will lead efforts in determining the best use for land around the Cline Avenue bridge once the structure is demolished.”

Speed thrills, but delays matterChicago Sun-Times “Upgrades in equipment and tracks will make a huge difference in the average time for a trip -- and increase the viability of train travel.”

Bill to study 'Illiana' expressway connecting I-55, 65 advances to govChicago Sun-Times “A $1 billion, 53-mile expressway linking Illinois and Indiana is still a long way away, but a bid to at least get the ball rolling advanced in the Legislature.”

World News

Senate Bill Would Provide $2 Billion for Transit AgenciesWall Street Journal “The bill, introduced with the support of seven Democratic co-sponsors including lawmakers from New Jersey, Ohio and Illinois, would allow transit agencies nationwide to use federal money to reduce fares and restore service cuts made after January of last year.”

Airport planners look to a futuristic transit solution: 'pod cars'
Mercury News “Someday in the not too distant future, passengers may be getting to and from the San Jose airport on a curious-looking, driverless shuttle the size of a Smart car.”

Olympic commuters sticking with public transit
Vancouver Sun “Commuters who took public transit to get around Metro Vancouver during the 2010 Winter Olympics have stayed with it for their post-Games commutes, according to newly released TransLink ridership numbers.”  

Commercial property owners may be asked to pay for part of streetcar costs
Washington Post “Commercial property owners along 37 miles of planned routes for a D.C. streetcar system may be asked to foot the bill for a quarter or more of the $1.5 billion system proposed by Mayor Adrian M. Fenty.”

China is pulling ahead in worldwide race for high-speed rail transportation
Washington Post “In recent years, with little outside notice, China made another great leap forward in transportation: It now leads the world in high-speed rail.”  

City planners track cyclists, pedestrians to measure trail needs
USA Today  “Transportation planners in states and municipalities across the USA are increasingly deploying high-tech sensors along bicycle and pedestrian paths to map trail, sidewalk and bike-lane use and assess future needs.”

Thinking Outside Rails and Runways, and Taking the Bus
New York Times “Last year, as commercial airline traffic and rail ridership dipped, intercity bus service grew 5.1 percent.”


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Contact Information
For comments, suggestions or submissions, please contact Emily Tapia Lopez, Manager, at or 312-863-6047.

Metropolitan Planning Council
Talking Transit is sponsored by Bombardier

Upcoming events

Jun 16 MPC Roundtable
Bus Rapid Transit: Our Ticket to Livable Cities
12:00 PM–1:30 PM
Jun 21 2010 Annual Luncheon
Illinois: Is there a cure?
11:00 AM–1:45 PM

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