Edited by Robin Hickman, Moshe Givoni, David Bonilla and David Banister
Chapter 23: Bus rapid transit and buses with high levels of service: a global overview
Traditional public transport planning textbooks and guidelines indicate a hierarchy of transport modes according to capacity and speed (Vuchic, 2007; UN-Habitat, 2013). Buses are usually recommended for low-capacity applications; while rail, in the form of light rail transit, Metro, and regional rail are generally recommended for medium-and high-capacity applications. Nevertheless, thanks to the introduction of high-capacity bus systems, especially in Latin America and Asia, there has been a challenge to the customary approach. This chapter describes the recent history and current status of bus systems known as bus rapid transit (BRT) and buses with high level of service (BHLS), highlighting their characteristics and potential. BRT is a flexible, rubber-tired form of rapid transit that combines stations, vehicles, services, running ways, and information technologies into an integrated system with strong identity (Levinson et al., 2003a; Hidalgo, 2012). The definition, developed in the US and extensively used in developing countries in Latin America, Africa, and Asia, is focused on the system components. Its European counterpart, BHLS, also includes simpler priority measures to enhance operations and customer experience. BHLS is defined as an urban transport system integrating a bus or a coach and providing an increase in performance thanks to a triple optimization of: the internal characteristics of the technical and commercial offer; the integration of this offer into the whole public transport network; and the integration of this network into the urban area (Finn et al., 2011).
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