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  • Author or Editor: Juan Carlos Munoz x
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An international and interdisciplinary perspective

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is commonly discussed as an affordable way for cities to build sustainable rapid transport infrastructure. This book is the first to offer an in-depth analysis of BRT, examining the opportunities it presents along with the significant challenges cities face in its implementation. A wide range of contributors from both developed and developing countries bring expertise in fields ranging from engineering, planning and public policy to economics and urban design to provide a big picture assessment of BRT as part of a process for restructuring transit systems. Academically rigorous, based on five years of research conducted by the BRT Centre of Excellence in Chile, the book is written in an accessible style making it a valuable resource for academic researchers and postgraduate students as well as policy makers and practitioners.

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The promise of BRT is that it can serve as a catalyst for reshaping urban space and embedding sustainable transport into the fabric of the city. In developing cities with informal bus service sectors, BRT can be used as a method to restructure public transport provision by providing the physical infrastructure for the integrated network design and the impetus for the necessary institutional and political infrastructure. In cities with an already formalised transport network BRT can improve its quality of service and the overall functioning. This book describes the opportunities and challenges of meeting this potential and showcases the interdisciplinary research of the BRT Centre of Excellence to address them. It is divided into three sections covering the institutional relationships, the passengers and the urban context, and design and operations.

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The promise of BRT is that it can serve as a catalyst for reshaping urban space and embedding sustainable transport into the fabric of the city. In developing cities with informal bus service sectors, BRT can be used as a method to restructure public transport provision by providing the physical infrastructure for the integrated network design and the impetus for the necessary institutional and political infrastructure. In cities with an already formalised transport network BRT can improve its quality of service and the overall functioning. This book describes the opportunities and challenges of meeting this potential and showcases the interdisciplinary research of the BRT Centre of Excellence to address them. It is divided into three sections covering the institutional relationships, the passengers and the urban context, and design and operations.

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The promise of BRT is that it can serve as a catalyst for reshaping urban space and embedding sustainable transport into the fabric of the city. In developing cities with informal bus service sectors, BRT can be used as a method to restructure public transport provision by providing the physical infrastructure for the integrated network design and the impetus for the necessary institutional and political infrastructure. In cities with an already formalised transport network BRT can improve its quality of service and the overall functioning. This book describes the opportunities and challenges of meeting this potential and showcases the interdisciplinary research of the BRT Centre of Excellence to address them. It is divided into three sections covering the institutional relationships, the passengers and the urban context, and design and operations.

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Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) can play a significant role as part of integrated public transport systems and is gaining support around the world in both developing and developed cities. The promise of BRT is that it can serve as a catalyst for reshaping urban space and restructure public transport, especially in developing cities. Implementation of successful BRT projects face significant challenges, but cities around the world are innovating new ways to make BRT carry large passenger volumes and fit into unique urban contexts. This book highlights the research done by the BRT Centre of Excellence to address the opportunities and challenges of BRT.

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BRT has risen as an alternative to rail potentially offering the same level of service at a reduced cost, providing fast and frequent services, thus reducing waiting time for passengers and improving comfort. However, operations are still affected by traffic signals and demand fluctuations affecting the regularity of bus headways inducing bus bunching. Keeping regular headways in high frequency services is difficult and substantially worsens the level of service generating problems for the users, operators and the authority. To overcome this problem, different control strategies have been proposed. In this chapter we introduce a Holding in Real-Time optimization model. We compare this strategy against local holding strategies and discuss the data requirements and technology necessary for a complete implementation of the strategy. We present two case studies in order to highlight the benefits of this strategy: i) a simulation experiment and ii) a pilot program run in one service of the Transantiago system in Santiago, Chile. Results show that implementing control strategy that extensively considers its effects in time and space along the route significantly improves waiting time, comfort and reliability. Finally, we discuss the main challenges in the implementation of such a strategy in real operations.

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Reducing the operating cost of public transport systems is a critical issue in order to provide an efficient service without increasing fares and/or subsidies. To achieve this, operational research techniques can be implemented, especially in regulated transit systems where there are policies to meet a specific level of service and operational standards. In this chapter we address some elements that should be considered at tactical, strategic and operational levels regarding the following decisions: i) determining the type of buses to be used; ii) estimating the fleet size; iii) defining the trips-vehicles assignment at the operational level to reduce costs; and finally, iv) determining the duties-drivers assignment to diminish drivers’ wages and meet working regulations. In addition, we present optimisation problems, assuming more flexible characteristics not commonly considered in literature until now. The results presented here show that heterogeneous contracts for drivers and irregular timetables provide attractive potential cost savings, but require sophisticated systems to achieve them.

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Our goal for this book is to illustrate the larger context of BRT and its potential role in restructuring transportation and urban space to improve sustainability. Throughout these chapters we have highlighted the opportunities and challenges of meeting this potential. This larger vision is created by the interconnections between multiple research projects, disciplines, and methodologies. It is also formed by the collaboration of academics and practitioners working to solve on the ground problems. From this experience we offer an assessment of the current and future roles of BRT and steps for moving forward.

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Integration is one important element to advance higher quality service delivery, but advancing transit integration has proven difficult, especially in developing countries. BRT is one tool to use as a stepping stone to build citywide transit networks. Using the cases of Santiago and Bogotá, we discuss the advantages and disadvantages faced by two citywide transit integration pathways: sudden (or “big-bang”) and gradual. Then, with the help of a financial simulation, we show results of different scenarios involving sudden and gradual integration. We also develop an alternative approach: an optimized scenario in which fare integration is applied first without changing routes and bus fleet, and then services are rapidly adjusted according to the actual usage (routes reorganized and bus fleet reduced). The financial analysis shows advantages of the optimized process over the realistic big-bang and gradual approaches. While particular applications may require a customized analysis according to the local characteristics, we suggest considering the optimized process as a valid alternative for citywide transit integration, particularly in a context where regulation is insufficient and multiple private operators are involved. We found that this context is quite common in developing countries.

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To design a public transport system and effectively be able to promote its use, it is important to understand the traveller’s decision making process, which is based on their preferences and perceptions. This chapter presents an empirical analysis of the problem looking at different variables, both tangible and intangible, that help to explain mode and route choices on a public transport system. It is shown that travellers appear to consider a wide variety of attributes, such as different travel time components, fares, the transfer experience involved, vehicle crowding levels, the network topology, and that they weight these differently according to their socio-economic characteristics.

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