TSTC Website Update: BRT Clearinghouse Now Available

TSTC’s website now includes an online clearinghouse of information on bus rapid transit, a transit mode which can combine rail’s speed and reliability with buses’ service flexibility and is being explored throughout the region. The clearinghouse explains what bus rapid transit (BRT) is, how it compares to other modes, how it can be implemented in suburban and urban contexts, and how it can anchor transit-oriented development. The clearinghouse will continue to be updated.

Tri-State has argued that BRT is the ideal transit mode for the 30-mile Tappan Zee Bridge/I-287 corridor, because its flexibility allows it to better serve suburban areas. Indeed, in the 2004 Alternatives Analysis, the Tappan Zee study team projected that full corridor (Suffern-Port Chester) BRT would attract 42,000 daily east-west riders, compared to 24,000 for full corridor commuter rail. (As MTR reported yesterday, the Tappan Zee study now includes additional BRT options.)

In Connecticut, ConnDOT has opted to run bus rapid transit in a 9.4-mile busway between Hartford and New Britain. The project is currently in the final design stage.

Bus rapid transit is also being studied in New York City, Newark, and Westchester County. These studies focus on less infrastructure-intensive measures, such as on-street lanes and traffic signal priority, that can improve inter-city and commuter bus services. In NYC, the COMM.U.T.E. coalition of community and environmental justice groups has pushed for bus rapid transit, funded with the revenues from congestion pricing, as a way to speed long commutes for outer-borough residents.

8 Comments on "TSTC Website Update: BRT Clearinghouse Now Available"

  1. Nathanael Nerode | February 23, 2008 at 11:17 am |

    “can combine rail’s speed and reliability with buses’ service flexibility”

    Except that it never actually does. Plus, it costs a lot more than trains to operate, is less fuel-efficient, and is less popular with riders.

    Don’t get suckered by the BRT promoters. Look at Pittsburgh, PA, which has had top-quality BRT (the “busways”) for decades, with very little to show for it.

    It’s possible that exclusive bus lanes on the Tappan Zee Bridge make sense, but it’s not going to be the magical BRT dream being promoted by this website.

    Frankly, building at least one set of train tracks across the bridge is a no-brainer because of the long-term benefit for *freight* traffic, which currently has to cross the Hudson at Albany — and it’s pathetic that NYS hasn’t figured this out.

  2. Great! Any chance you could repost the documents describing the five NYC pilot BRT corridors, which are currently missing in action from the MTA website?

  3. jonathan st.thomas | February 25, 2008 at 3:29 pm |

    it partly depends on how many people live in a city/towm metro area/region.wikipedia,the free online encyclopedia also has information on bus rapid transit at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bus_rapid_transit

  4. Henry Ferlauto | February 25, 2008 at 10:46 pm |

    I think BRT has it is place in the mass transit ecosystem, but NOT for the I-287 corridor. If the region is to seriously accommodate growth, there must be full commuter rail from Rockland County to Port Chester.

    Yes, it costs a heck of a lot of money, but not taking a serious amount of cars (at least 15%) off the road costs far more.

  5. Tom Marchwinski | March 2, 2008 at 5:34 pm |

    Tri-State should also look at what NJ TRANSIT is doing in the Route 1 Princeton area between Trenton and New Brunswick. A full scale study recommended BRT, and it is now slowly advancing in stages. For suburban areas like Tappen Zee to I-287 corridor, BRT is only fixed guideway transit that will work. Combine that with BRT connections to nearby commuter rail stations and you have enough of a market. We looked at Light Rail in Route 1 corridor, and only thing that will work reasonably well financially is BRT, given a many to few trip pattern.

    The post on Pittsburgh fails to mention that BRT there is doing OK, even without a priority treatment to get into the downtown area. That is what Pittsburg is missing.

  6. Steve Strauss | March 3, 2008 at 9:02 am |

    I believe the NYC BRT information is still on the NYC DOT website. Captain Transit might take a look there.

    As for Pittsburgh’s BRT and busways, part of their problem, if there is a problem, may have to do with the state of the economy in western Pennsylvania.

  7. Pittsburgh’s problem is not with its BRT system, which is great. The BRT there suffers from poor state funding and poor land use decisions that have spread development farther and farther from downtown. Plus a less than ideal economy. Steve and Capt Transit, you should go there and ride the thing before you post about its problems. The BRT is actually doing well considering.

  8. Clark Morris | March 5, 2008 at 6:40 pm |

    Given the failure of the Pittsburgh West Busway, Pittsburgh South Busway and Los Angeles Harbor Freeway Busways to come even close to the projected ridership for their respective systems, I hold the projections for the Tappan Zee Busway to be suspect. A rail line may not be that much more expensive. Look at the cost of the Harbor Freeway busway or the Pittsburgh West Busway. A lane mile of busway is roughly the same cost as a track mile before electrification and signaling. Bridges for either are about the same cost. Rail also has the advantage of being capable of single track operation. I would like to see a proposed detailed route map for the Tappan Zee BRT system and the schedules involved.

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