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David A. Hensher, Richard Ellison, Chinh Q. Ho and Glen Weisbrod

Bus rapid transit (BRT) is typically a relatively more popular transport investment in developing countries in contrast to the bias observed increasingly in developed economies towards light rail transit (LRT). While there have been a number of comparative assessments of BRT and LRT (in all of its possible manifestations), with a focus on one or more elements of patronage demand, and costs of construction and operation, there has, with few exceptions, been a preference for LRT which some might describe as linked to emotional ideology rather than factual evidence on the costs, benefits and economic impact of each modal investment. In this chapter, we present a new planning tool, MetroScan, as a quick-scan tool that can be used to assess the merits of BRT and LRT. MetroScan is different to other planning systems in that it accounts for the demand implications on both passenger and freight-related activity (all in the one model system), endogenous residential and employment decisions and associated benefit-cost outcomes, as well as the wider economic impacts of transport initiatives. We use a case study setting in the Northern Beaches of Sydney to illustrate the way in which MetroScan can assess a wider suite of benefits and costs of BRT and LRT, which encompasses not only accessibility and mobility opportunities but the contribution that can be made to the productivity and value-added outcomes for the local economy. This broader set of considerations is important in suggesting other ways in which a comparison of BRT and LRT might be more informative than is typically presented.

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David A. Hensher, Camila Balbontin, Chinh Q. Ho, Corinne Mulley, Rosário Macário and Anson Stewart

This chapter builds on research from Australia, published in 2015, extended by the results of a stated choice experiment in a number of countries (USA, France, Portugal, UK, in 2015) to investigate the drivers of community preferences for bus rapid transit (BRT) and light rail transit (LRT) and whether there exist country-specific modal preferences. Each choice scenario is conditioned on a given route length for new infrastructure but with different costs, reflecting different modal investment options for the same route length. It is important to identify the nature of the preference differences since this can be used to show how to target citizens to buy in to the choice of LRT or BRT in a particular setting. The chapter uses a community preference framework to show potential gains in public support for BRT over LRT through scenario analysis on attributes assessed in the choice games, together with voter experience with specific modes and socio-economic profiles.