Developing Bus Rapid Transit
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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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Chapter 8: How well does bus rapid transit perform in contrast to light rail transit? An Australian case study using MetroScan_TI

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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