Bus rapid transit (BRT) is a high-frequency limited-stop transit system that offers faster, more direct service using larger vehicles to transport more riders. BRT’s features include frequent all-day service, direct routes with fewer stops, traffic signal priority, dedicated bus lanes where feasible, stations with off-board fare payment, and larger (articulated) buses.
Adding BRT into the Metro Transit system will help alleviate overcrowding, improve travel times throughout the city, simplify the system making it easier to navigate, and prepare for the expected increase in public transit demand over time.
BRT Features and Benefits
* BRT Only Lanes separate buses from other vehicles, resulting in faster, more efficient transportation.
* Traffic Signal Priority systems hold green lights longer for approaching BRT vehicles.
* High Capacity, Specialized Vehicles feature onboard Wi-Fi and comfortable seating.
* Enhanced Transit Stations feature covered seating, pre-pay ticket machines, improved pedestrian crossings, cyclist access and real-time schedule information.
* Reduced Environmental Pollution for cleaner air quality.
City staff estimate that an initial East-West BRT line could have a capital cost of $50-85 million. The new service would also have additional annual operating costs, which would depend on the frequency of service, how early or late the buses run and the geographic coverage. The BRT study beginning this fall will develop more refined capital and operating costs for the service.
Funding is a major challenge, given the lack of a dedicated funding source for transit, flat state operating assistance, limited federal capital funding and tight local budgets. However, many local transit studies have all noted that a new funding source, such as provided by a regional transit authority (RTA), would be beneficial to help maintain, improve and expand transit in the Madison region.
The pursuit of an RTA was strongly encouraged in a Transit Development Plan (accepted by the Madison Common Council) and has also been mentioned as a priority in a recent study released by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. However, other funding sources will be evaluated as part of the BRT study.
A Madison BRT would be eligible to receive 50% of its start-up funding, including the construction of a new bus garage that would serve the entire BRT fleet, through a federal grant.
This 50% start-up funding for vehicles and a garage would not be available if Metro chose to address the problem by simply adding additional buses to its fleet.
The BRT line along the East-West corridor and new transit stations will complement downtown business locations and provide opportunities for increased customer traffic. BRT will expand the labor pool (people can go farther faster) and increase the timeliness of employees who rely on transit. Businesses along the corridor will be engaged throughout the design phase to ensure business needs, such as efficient loading and unloading, are met and that construction does not impact business.
One of the key benefits of BRT is that buses travel on dedicated lanes where possible, which will improve traffic flow for drivers. Increased BRT and bus ridership will also decrease the number of drivers in the corridor, helping to mitigate increasing roadway congestion.
To be analyzed as part of this study.
To be analyzed as part of this study, however it is anticipated they would run every 10 minutes during weekday peak periods, every 15 minutes midday and every 30 minutes in the evening
Yes, the specifics will be determined as part of this study
Bike paths and pedestrian walkways will be enhanced along the corridor to improve and support safe access to BRT stations. Details of these enhancements (sharrows, bike lanes, multi-use paths) will be advanced during this study.
To be determined as part of this study and future project phases.
To be determined as part of this study and future project phases, however it is not anticipated that a special fare will be charged for BRT.