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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Institutional Aspects of Bus Rapid Transit Operation

  • Author(s): Miller, Mark A.
  • Buckley, Stephen M.
  • et al.

This report presents the findings of its investigation of institutional aspects of bus rapid transit (BRT) through both a macroscopic examination, a survey of members of the U.S. Bus Rapid Transit Consortium and several Canadian transit properties, and a more focused site-specific examination of three California BRT systems. The macroscopic examination resulted from a literature review, project team brainstorming meetings, and input from the Federal Transit Administration. Several dozen issues were identified and were grouped into nine categories that formed the basis of the survey: intergovernmental and inter-organizational; intra-transit property; political; public relations and marketing; funding and finance; labor; safety and liability; planning and land use; and the physical environment. The survey was administered to members of the U.S. Bus Rapid Transit Consortium and several Canadian BRT systems. Survey responses were analyzed to discern those issues that were deemed to be the most important and most difficult to resolve overall and with respect to distinct BRT system operational settings, respondents' organizational affiliation, and professional experience. In addition, those issues for whom the respondents were most unfamiliar as well as new issues identified by respondents were also examined. Recommendations for resolving the issues based on respondents' views are also presented. Finally, a closer examination of the findings from the perspective of the three California BRT systems was conducted to assess the state's BRT systems. Overall, the following issues were deemed the most important and most difficult to resolve: Local and business community opposition to the removal of/restrictions on parking spaces for BRT use; Availability and acquisition of right-of-way or physical space; Integration of multiple priorities, objectives, and agendas; Concerns over long term funding commitments to BRT; Impacts of BRT on roadway operations; Finding political champions to support BRT; Gaining community support for transit-oriented development; Educating the public on BRT, and managing perceptions and expectations. Valuable insight has been gained into the institutional issues of bus rapid transit that are actually experienced. Key Words: bus rapid transit, institutional issues, survey

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