BRT on the Move

Bus rapid transit (BRT) is gaining momentum as a sustainable public transportation solution for cities around the world. Today, the energy trade publication ClimateWire published an article highlighting the rapid expansion of BRT networks, which now operate in approximately 134 global cities and serve 22 million passengers each day.

Just last week, EMBARQ, the Across Latitudes and Cultures – Bus Rapid Transit Centre of Excellence and the International Energy Agency (IEA) launched a new, global database at BRTdata.org to encourage data-sharing on the different BRT innovations that cities are testing, as well as how these are being implemented as integrated systems. According to ClimateWire:

Creators of BRTdata.org sought to improve the quality and impact of the BRT industry by providing city planners with accessible data on the design, functionality and cost of these systems.

The ClimateWire article highlighted the success of BRT across geographies and economies. Latin American cities move nearly 12 million passengers per day (that’s more than half of BRT passengers globally). Cities in developing nations, particularly in Asia, have followed suit; while those in Europe and North America have adopted BRT as well. In fact, Austin, Texas was just awarded a $38 million grant by the Federal Transit Administration to help build a new 37.5 mile bus system.

Taken together, the expansion of BRT around the world can result in major reductions in carbon emissions. According to ClimateWire:

Increased bus usage, and BRT specifically, can significantly increase mobility, reduce transportation costs and cut carbon emissions, [Tali] Trigg [energy analyst with the IEA] said.

In a new analysis, the IEA found that if BRT were established in the world's 1,000 largest cities, it would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by up to 0.5 metric gigatons between 2010 and 2050, which is equivalent to one-sixth of all carbon dioxide reductions that can be achieved in the transportation sector, he said.

ClimateWire is subscription only, but subscribers can read the full text here.