B44 Select Bus Service on Nostrand Avenue: Bus Rapid Transit-Induced Mode Shift and Route Shift in Transit-Dense Brooklyn
This paper documents transportation network changes and user decisions resulting from implementation of the B44 Select Bus Service (SBS) in Brooklyn, New York. SBS is a joint program between MTA New York City Transit and the New York City Department of Transportation intending to improve transit service through the application of bus rapid transit concepts to New York City’s busiest bus routes. Route B44 has the third highest ridership in Brooklyn and the sixth highest overall in New York City, historically carrying about 40,000 individuals on an average weekday.
To assess the B44 SBS, and nearby traffic performance, five types of data were collected and analyzed: bus ridership data from MetroCards and on-board checks, bus speed data from on-board GPS devices, traffic volume data from automatic traffic recorders, traffic speed data from cell phone-based probes, and survey data collected from 387 B44 SBS riders. Data were collected both in 2011 before construction started (pre-implementation data) and in 2014 after service was implemented and normalized (post-implementation data).
Operational and infrastructure improvements resulted in significantly faster travel times in both directions for the AM and PM peak periods. This reduction was attributable to a 40 percent reduction in overall dwell time, a 45 percent reduction in time at red lights, and a 12 percent increase in the proportion of time spent in motion. Greater northbound travel time reductions was also attributed to rerouting onto the wider, bus-friendlier Rogers Ave. Together, these reductions in travel time amounted to 18-29 minutes saved for those traveling the majority of the route in either direction.