High Quality Public Transport: Gaining Acceptance of Bus Rapid Transit Systems

The selection of appropriate public transport investments that will maximise the likelihood of delivering the levels of service required to provide a serious alternative to the automobile is high on the agendas of many metropolitan governments. Mindful of budget constraints, it is crucial to ensure that such investments offer the greatest value for money. This chapter promotes the view that integrated multi-modal systems that provide frequency and connectivity in a network-based framework offer the best way forward. A mix of public transport investments with buses as feeder services and bus rapid transit (BRT) as trunk services can offer a greater coverage and frequency than traditional forms of rail, even at capacity levels often claimed the domain of rail. Design features are important in order to promote good performance, and evidence is presented as to the importance of the various design elements to driving patronage. Decision-makers need to recognize implementation issues can be complex if a successful outcome of a BRT system contributing to the public transport network is to be achieved.

Drivers of Bus Rapid Transit Systems – Influences on Ridership and Service Frequency

This document reports the findings of a comparative analysis of bus rapid transit (BRT) performance using information on 121 BRT systems throughout the world, in which random effects regression is employed as the modelling framework. A number of sources of systematic variation are identified which have a statistically significant impact on BRT patronage in terms of daily passenger numbers such as fare, frequency, connectivity, pre-board fare collection, and location of with-flow bus lanes and doorways of a bus. In addition to the patronage model, a bus frequency model is estimated to identify the context within which higher levels of service frequency are delivered, notably where there exists higher population density, more trunk lines, the corridor provides bus priority facilities such as priority lanes for many bus routes, and where there is the presence of overtaking lanes at more than half of all stations along the heaviest section of the corridor. The findings offer important insights into features of BRT systems that are positive contributors to growing patronage which should be taken into account in designing and planning BRT systems.
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Identifying commuter preferences for existing modes and a proposed metro

In 2009, the New South Wales government announced that it would be proceeding with a feasibility study to identify the patronage potential of a new Metro rail system for Sydney. As part of this study, a new modal choice study was undertaken to establish the role of traditional attributes such as travel times and costs (and more recently, reliability) but also somewhat neglected influences such as crowding, where the later has a critical role in the calculation of capacity needs at railway stations. This paper focuses on the commuter segment and develops a new stated choice experiment in which travellers are able to compare the proposed new Metro with existing available modal alternatives for access, linehaul and egress trip stages, with a particular emphasis on the incorporation of crowding represented by the availability of a seat vs. standing in existing and new public transport modes. We present the error component choice model together with estimates of mode-specific willingness to pay for travel time components, service frequency and crowding, that latter expressed in terms of the probability of getting a seat and the probability of avoiding standing.

Comparing operator and users costs of light rail, heavy rail and bus rapid transit over a radial public transport network

A model to compare three alternative forms of public transport – light rail, heavy rail and bus rapid transit – is developed for an urban network with radial lines emanating from the borders to the city centre. The theoretical framework assumes an operation aimed at minimising the total cost associated with public transport service provision, which encompasses both operator and users costs. The decision variables are the number of lines (networkdensity) and the frequency per period for each mode. This approach has no prejudices a priori in respect of whether a specified delivery scenario is aligned with existing modal reputation. Rather, we establish the conditions under which a specific transit mode should be preferred to another in terms of the operator (supply) and user (demand) side offerings. The model is applied using data from Australian cities, suggesting that in most of the scenarios analysed a high standard bus service is the most cost-effective mode, because it provides lower operator costs (infrastructure, rolling stock and operating cost), access time costs (due to a larger number of lines) and waiting time cost (due to larger frequencies of operation). A railmode, such as light rail or heavy rail, may have a lower total cost only if it is able to run faster than bus rapid transit, and the difference in speed is enough to outweigh the bus advantage on operator cost and access and waiting times.