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Old 03-01-2011, 08:54 AM
 
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This is from the Montgomery county Maryland presentation about planned BRT routes in the county with 5 located in Gaithersburg Maryland. These BRT routes with the CCT Light Rail line and Marc Commuter stations will form a rapid mass transit network in Gaithersburg. Gaithersburg is already saturated with regular bus routes. I don't have experience with BRT. How does it work? My question is, can a BRT network move people around a city as well as heavy rail or light rail?


Three routes running from West Gaithersburg to East Gaithersburg
1. Light Blue Route
2. Red Route
3. Brown Route

One route running through Gaithersburg north and south
1. Orange Route

One route beginning in West Gaithersburg and going southeast
1. Dark Purple

Light rail line (CCT=Corridor Cities Transit way) 8 stops in Gaithersburg
1. Royal Blue north-south

Marc Commuter Train (Not Shown)
1. 3 Marc Commuter Train stops north-south


Dr. Gridlock - Montgomery Co. forms transit task force
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Old 03-01-2011, 09:21 AM
 
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It can, but generally you have to spend as much money on BRT as one would on Light Rail in order to get the same benefits: dedicated controlled-access lanes, similar stations and physical plant, similar frequency. Some cities have instituted what they call "BRT" but is really just a slightly bigger bus that operates on regular traffic lanes. It is cheaper but lacks the capacity and stability of rail transit--it is not BRT, it is a bus. Buses on city streets have their own advantages (being able to quickly reprogram routes) but BRT deliberately avoids that "advantage" in favor of dedicated lanes that won't get clogged with other surface traffic and a more clearly identifiable route.

Matching heavy rail is a different story--if you're talking about regional commuter rail, no, because buses can't come close to matching commuter rail's capacity, unless you add so many operators (one per bus vs. one per train) that you are spending just as much.

Streetcars are another option and might represent a better middle ground--cheaper to install than light rail, can operate in streets where needed, but with the fixed-path benefits of light rail.
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Old 03-01-2011, 09:29 AM
 
Location: The Port City is rising.
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not exactly the same things - can't do the frequent stops as easily as LRT, and can't match the high capacity of heavy rail. But it can provide heavy rail like travel times, for lower costs, and makes sense in some corridors.
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Old 03-01-2011, 05:57 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brooklynborndad View Post
not exactly the same things - can't do the frequent stops as easily as LRT, and can't match the high capacity of heavy rail. But it can provide heavy rail like travel times, for lower costs, and makes sense in some corridors.
I have looked at some numbers and BRT routes have produced similar ridership to light rail in high density routes. I think it also has to do with how dense the population centers are it serves. This area is expected to have a density at the core over 9,000 person per sq. mile in 15-20 years with over 100,000 residents in 10 sq. miles. The BRT routes will service the surrounding Gaithersburg suburbs like Montgomery village and North Potomac feeding into the urban core. I'm not familiar with the technology for BRT but I would assume the high density routes should foster high ridership.
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Old 03-06-2011, 10:47 AM
 
Location: Seattle, WA
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Light rail has a distinct advantage over BRT that can't be put in terms of daily ridership. LRT capacity can be adjusted by adding more/less cars without increasing the number of operators, and meanwhile keeping the frequency consistent. The only way to adjust frequency on a BRT is to increase/decrease frequency (and bus operators). Decrease the frequency and it will take away from the usefulness of the system in off-peak hours, and also be confusing to riders. With LRT you can keep the headway at every 10 or 15 minutes consistently throughout the day and just adjust the numbers of cars on each train. Consistency and reliability are vital for any transit system.

Finally, I wonder how much additional cost there is to laying the actual rails, since with both BRT and LRT you are talking about massive road work in either case. Seems like most of the construction cost for the transit system is actually the roadwork you need to make space for the system.
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Old 04-02-2014, 03:30 PM
 
900 posts, read 794,538 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MDAllstar View Post
I have looked at some numbers and BRT routes have produced similar ridership to light rail in high density routes. I think it also has to do with how dense the population centers are it serves. This area is expected to have a density at the core over 9,000 person per sq. mile in 15-20 years with over 100,000 residents in 10 sq. miles. The BRT routes will service the surrounding Gaithersburg suburbs like Montgomery village and North Potomac feeding into the urban core. I'm not familiar with the technology for BRT but I would assume the high density routes should foster high ridership.
I don't see how this can be possible unless the potential ridership of the routes in question was modest to begin with. L.A.'s Orange Line often runs at or near its engineered capacity, but an LRT line could undoubtedly handle many more passengers.
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Old 04-02-2014, 04:48 PM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
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I think BRT works best when incorporated with light rail. Having BRT and light rail share space, and it allows a metro to use the BRT to create additional transportation lines outside of the light rail lines.
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Old 04-03-2014, 06:45 AM
 
2,388 posts, read 2,954,341 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MDAllstar View Post
I have looked at some numbers and BRT routes have produced similar ridership to light rail in high density routes. I think it also has to do with how dense the population centers are it serves.
BRT only gets to light rail numbers by having 30 second to 1 minute headways and having the same infrastructure as light rail.

Even running articulated buses you need 4 of them to carry the same number of people as one light rail train so you're operating costs for BRT in that case are actually higher than if you were running light rail.

The benefits of BRT aren't in high density places. They're in medium-density places where you can get the infra on the cheap and where you have a lot of individual, non BRT routes feeding into it. Think Pittsburgh busways.
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Old 04-03-2014, 08:52 PM
 
Location: Vallejo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drive carephilly View Post
BRT only gets to light rail numbers by having 30 second to 1 minute headways and having the same infrastructure as light rail.

Even running articulated buses you need 4 of them to carry the same number of people as one light rail train so you're operating costs for BRT in that case are actually higher than if you were running light rail.

The benefits of BRT aren't in high density places. They're in medium-density places where you can get the infra on the cheap and where you have a lot of individual, non BRT routes feeding into it. Think Pittsburgh busways.
Not true. Orange line in LA would be in the top 20 light rail systems in the US by ridership. It does not have 30 second headways.

Latin America, especially Brazil, is where you go for high BRT ridership.
http://www.brtdata.org/#/location/latin_america/brazil

3 million riders per day in Sao Paulo. Not bad. It has higher ridership per km than the NYC Subway does.

Last edited by Malloric; 04-03-2014 at 09:07 PM..
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Old 04-04-2014, 08:19 AM
 
2,388 posts, read 2,954,341 times
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Originally Posted by Malloric View Post
Not true. Orange line in LA would be in the top 20 light rail systems in the US by ridership. It does not have 30 second headways.

Latin America, especially Brazil, is where you go for high BRT ridership.
Embarq

3 million riders per day in Sao Paulo. Not bad. It has higher ridership per km than the NYC Subway does.
I don't really understand this. You make it sound like the Orange Line BRT has really high ridership (it doesn't, the 23 bus in Philly is non-BRT and posts similar numbers) by pointing to 20 of the 32 light rail systems in the US, many of which are not light rail but actually streetcar/tram systems.

. . . and then you point to actually busy BRT lines in Brazil and elsewhere that have high ridership that use light rail type infrastructure with crazy short headways.

But the LA orange line is, by all accounts, bursting at the seams for a good portion of the day and if it was a light rail line in LA it would be the weakest performing one . . . or maybe ridership on the Orange line would be much higher if it had the capacity of say, the gold or blue line, but it doesn't because it's BRT.

3 million riders per day in Sao Paulo is for their entire bus system. Not just BRT. The 5 line metro system that they've really just started building posts similar ridership numbers. Combine the two and you get about half the daily ridership of the metro New York transit services. And I don't see why it wouldn't have higher ridership per km than NYC - the city is more diffuse yet still incredibly dense so you have more riders coming and going at each stop and lots of people commuting in both directions as opposed to NYC where most riders are heading to 3 or 4 basic job centers. Or it could just be that the surface bus system in Sao Paulo is basically useless if you're trying to go anywhere in a hurry because of their notorious traffic so people switch to trains and BRT wherever they can. Sao Paulo also has no added benefit of a PATH system, LIRR, Metro North, NJTransit, etc. to alleviate pressure on it's fledgling rapid transit network.

And if you actually look at the Sao Paulo numbers the max pax per hour they can post on their busways is ~26,000 and that's running 229! buses per hour per direction. That's a bus every 16 seconds. Like I said, you don't get to light rail numbers without running 1-2 buses per minute
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