Showcase Vehicle and Station Prototype Technology To Help Agencies and Communities Better Envision Planned Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Systems.

A Peer Exchange Event Shared Recommendations and Best Practices for BRT Systems in Four States.

Date Posted

City of Fresno Peer Exchange on Bus Rapid Transit - A TPCB Peer Exchange

Summary Information

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is a technology that combines the efficiency of light rail systems with the flexibility and affordability of bus systems, thereby offering an alternative to traditional, urban public transportation. 

This study presented key recommendations and best practices identified at the peer exchange event on BRT, held on May 21 and May 22, 2013, in Fresno, California. This event was sponsored by the Transportation Planning Capacity Building (TPCB) Peer Program, jointly funded by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and developed with support from the National Bus Rapid Transit Institute (NBRTI). Peers included representatives from four public transportation agencies from Washington, Ohio, Oregon and California, engaging discussions on a variety of topics such as BRT system design and operation, regulatory and funding environment, population and area characteristics of BRT service area(s), travel behavior within BRT service area(s), economics of BRT service area(s), and community characteristics of BRT service area(s).

Recommendations and best practices for BRT planning and implementation:

  • Conduct targeted outreach to business owners along the planned BRT corridor prior to any construction work. Peers have recommended specific outreach strategies for these business owners including visiting them in advance to provide updates on potential construction impacts, patronizing their businesses during construction, and assisting in crafting marketing strategies to attract BRT users.
  • Establish clear communication channels with the public to prevent frustration and misunderstandings about project status. As revealed by this study, the peers stressed the importance of explaining the motivation behind introducing the BRT and the associated process in public outreach, preferably through a designated spokesperson, utilizing the power of all media, including social media, to keep all the stakeholders informed at every step of the process, even if only to confirm no new updates.
  • Beware of any language barriers and potential misinterpretations. In this study, one of the peers stated that using proper terminology to describe some station features was essential to avoid making any negative connotations inadvertently and misleading the parties involved.
  • Showcase vehicle and station prototypes to internal and external stakeholders to help better envision the planned BRT system. Peers stated that a key strategy to endorsing a new BRT system would be to showcase the vehicle and station prototypes to all the stakeholders, providing concrete proof that the BRT is imminent.
  • Have clear lines of communication with the bus manufacturers to convey the desired design specifications. This study revealed the importance of determining vehicle specifications in a timely manner, thinking strategically and working with the bus manufacturers when considering design innovations.
  • Determine operational and maintenance requirements for BRT vehicles early on. This study mentioned that it is crucial to solicit input early in the process from operations and maintenance personnel in determining the vehicle specifications, since modifications to existing facilities may be required to accommodate new BRT vehicles.
  • Carefully consider the warranty periods in establishing contract terms with contractors and manufacturers for their BRT vehicles and stations. This study emphasized the importance of properly selected warranty periods, especially if there is a gap between delivery and operation times.

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