A new report, “Modernizing Public Transportation,” presents the first comprehensive review of major bus improvements in 13 Latin America and Asia cities.
These include reductions in air pollutants, greenhouse gas emissions, noise and traffic accidents, as well as increased efficiency by bus rapid transit (BRT) corridors compared with traditional bus services. Corridors in the selected bus systems exhibit very high usage levels (up to 45,000 passengers per hour in each direction), with comparatively low capital investments (less than $12.5 million per kilometer) and small operational subsidies.
“Modern buses are a key component of public transportation which has a major impact on the quality of life—including the environment, air pollution and public health—for millions of people,” EMBARQ Senior Transport Engineer Dario Hidalgo said in a press release. “Increasingly, these cities are upgrading or even transforming their public transport systems to better serve the needs of their populations and the environment.”
The report confirms that BRT can be implemented quickly and provide high-capacity transportation for urban residents. There was a big diversity in the cities in terms of covering the needs of diverse communities. The systems grew in complexity as the cities grew, but there were commonalities as well. The most interesting fact was that all the systems were rushed in implementation. The systems were commissioned before they were complete so the city leaders could show results within political windows. Rushing implementation resulted in similar problems for the different cities: the infrastructure was incomplete and there were issues like limited training for bus drivers.
Despite initial problems, the bus systems proved to be very resilient.