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Developing Bus Rapid Transit

The Value of BRT in Urban Spaces

Edited by Fiona Ferbrache

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is a popular mode of sustainable public urban transit given dedicated focus in this timely collection. The effects of BRT are examined in-depth through a range of case studies from cities across six continents, including analysis of BRT planning, implementation, operation, performance and impacts. The contributions from academics and non-academic experts on BRT are framed more broadly within the concept of value and how urban transport investment has and can be valued by and for society.
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C. Erik Vergel-Tovar and William Camargo

More than 200 cities in the world are implementing bus rapid transit (BRT) systems nowadays but empirical evidence on urban development impacts of this type of mass transit system is still limited. The study of land-use and development impacts of BRT requires a time frame that allows changes on the built environment as a result of accessibility benefits introduced by BRT systems. Since the implementation of the BRT system in Bogotá in 2000, the national government of Colombia has been promoting this type of mass transit system in large and medium-size cities, but few studies have examined urban development impacts of BRT systems in the country through a systematic approach. This chapter examines land-use and development impacts of BRT in five cities by looking at planning, implementation and operation stages and the role played by public and private actors in the urban development outcomes related to BRT investments. The analysis examines changes on land use and built-up areas along BRT corridors in Bogotá, Pereira, Cali, Barranquilla and Bucaramanga in order to determine the capacity of BRT systems to promote transit-oriented development and the factors that explain these urban development outcomes in terms of challenges and opportunities.

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Myung-Jin Jun

This chapter applied Rosen’s two-stage hedonic price estimation to derive a demand function for proximity to the bus rapid transit (BRT) system in Seoul, South Korea. Welfare changes from improved BRT accessibility were estimated for illustrative purposes. The major findings of this study can be summarized as follows. First, estimation of spatial hedonic price models presents a statistically significant price premium for BRT proximity, with average marginal implicit prices of $4550–$8208 for a decrease in the distance to a BRT stop. Second, estimation of the inverse demand function shows a downward sloping demand curve for accessibility of the BRT system, implying that people prefer living closer to the BRT system, but that they have a diminishing marginal willingness to pay for this increased proximity. Lastly, residents living in the southern part of the Seoul metropolitan area (cluster 3), including several new-town residents, are likely to receive more benefits from improved BRT accessibility than those living in other areas.

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Pui-yin Ho

Hong Kong’s planning in 1979 was at first a response to the implementation of the reform and opening-up policy in China, adjusting Hong Kong’s economic structure from manufacturing industry to the enhancement of entrepôt trade and financial activities. China and Britain began talks on the return of Hong Kong’s sovereignty to China in 1997 in the early 1980s. As Britain’s hope for the right to rule in exchange for sovereignty did not come to fruition, the colonial government promptly cancelled plans to build a new airport and opted instead to expand Kai Tak Airport to address short-term needs. Hong Kong’s economy plunged following the democracy movement incidents in May and June of 1989. The government launched the 100 billion Hong Kong dollar Airport Core Programme to boost the economy. With a sizeable transportation network, the city was able to expand considerably.

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Pui-yin Ho

Urban planning and development are important elements in enhancing the competitiveness of Hong Kong. In the 1990s, West Kowloon and South East Kowloon were the focus areas to alleviate congestion in Central and Tsim Sha Tsui. North West and North East New Territories were given development priority. Great importance was attached to the living quality of residents. Consideration was given to population density, green space ratio, air quality, and the protection of traditional agricultural practices and the natural environment. As an economic powerhouse in southern China, Hong Kong has to take into account the needs of neighbouring regions in the expansion of its urban territory and trade activities. Transport facilities for sea and land networks and a boundary control point connecting Hong Kong to eastern Guangdong Province will be added to strengthen ties between Hong Kong and the Mainland. This represented a major change in Hong Kong’s development strategy after its return to China.

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Pui-yin Ho

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Pui-yin Ho

In 1843, the British colonial government in Hong Kong designated the northern coast of Hong Kong Island as the City of Victoria. Hindered by natural resource shortages and a poor natural environment, the government had to make use of new construction techniques and infrastructure to solve daily life problems, which included housing, transport facilities, water supply, law and order and public hygiene. The city was managed with two completely differently strategies. The Central District was mainly modelled on what was practised in the West. Commercial activities and trade were conducted in a systematic manner, and the enactment and strict enforcement of laws were key to the implementation of policies. However, the densely populated area of Sheung Wan, located in the western part of the city and inhabited by the Chinese community, was blighted by poor housing and hygiene conditions as well as high crime rates.

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Pui-yin Ho

Under the Convention for the Extension of Hong Kong Territory signed in 1898, the land north of Boundary Street and south of the Shenzhen River was leased for a period of 99 years. Long-term urban planning in New Kowloon was implemented to manage rapid population growth and land use. The establishment of the Town Planning Committee in 1922 and promulgation of the Town Planning Ordinance in 1939 enabled the formulation of the long-term development of Hong Kong as Britain’s bridgehead in the Asia-Pacific region. The various proposals by three governors – Clementi, Peel and Northcote – since the late 1920s, which included the extension of land leases without reaching agreement with China and the purchase of the New Territories for 20 million pounds sterling, reflected Britain’s anxiety on the return of Hong Kong’s sovereignty to China in 1997. Faced with a choice between politics and economic interests, Britain chose national prestige over economic development.

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Pui-yin Ho

The Japanese rejected Hong Kong’s pre-war development experience and made drastic changes to the city by turning Hong Kong into Japan’s transport hub in the Pacific region, as well as a resource supply station for its Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere. Using Hong Kong’s advantageous geographical location to develop trade was no longer the focus of the city. As opening up the city to foreign trade would make the situation difficult to control, commercial activities were completely banned. However, significant investment was made on Kai Tak Airport in Kowloon City to facilitate the transport of military equipment. To make the city self-sufficient in resources, an evacuation policy was implemented to forcibly repatriate Chinese residents to their home towns, and the forestry and agriculture industry was vigorously promoted. Those who survived the war were left destitute and homeless. The city was scarred by many indelible and painful memories of this period of history.

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Ling Kar-kan