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 14: Materiality, immateriality and the replication of bus rapid transit in South Africa

Astrid Wood

Abstract

The global reproduction of bus rapid transit (BRT) – a rapid mode of urban public transport that promises the high quality and speed of a rail system alongside the operating flexibility and low cost of a bus network – has been tremendous in recent years, and with dozens of new systems launched annually, it is one of the key urban policy models of the twenty-first century. While this impressive growth can be attributed to the achievements of its physical features and the services it provides, this chapter reflects on the replication of BRT worldwide, and specifically in 13 South African cities, to reinterpret the materiality and immateriality of policy models. The chapter redefines the BRT policy model as a power-laden product of transport provision, a policy of transit-oriented development and devolution and a symbolic, experiential and political practice. The nomenclature of ‘BRT’ encompasses both the material features of the bus and the stations as well as the immaterial features of policy and policymaking. These arguments employ the literature on policy mobilities to explain that BRT is more than just an imitation of the red busways in Bogotá but a story of comprehensive, locally driven change.

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