4 Description of Feasibility Study Tasks

Chapter 5 – Planning the HCBRT Corridors and Basic Operating Schemes

This section should cover the planning process in the selection and pre-design of the HCBRT corridors.

5.1 Examination of the Physical Constraints and Identification of Right of Way Opportunities: In this section, an examination of the physical constraints of the city road system is presented in terms of width, continuity, turning movements, accessibility, available land, interchanges, parking, lateral access, pedestrian access etc. BRT utilizes an exclusive right of way to bypass congestion and needs full clearance on the most critical stretches. Conventional bus priority tends to be restricted to the existing road network or even the existing one-way system. Planning an BRT busway (exclusive right of way), on the other hand, requires more ‘lateral thinking’ in terms of the use of city space and other options, such as railway right of way, river valleys, private land, street markets etc. Opportunities may exist to coordinate BRT right of way needs with plans for highway and rail projects.

5.2 Examination of the Existing Public Transport Network to Identify Scope for Rationalization: The bus route data allows the route structure to be visualized for the major corridors under study. The passenger data also help to determine the flow levels on each route – preferably by corridor section. This allows for the examination of the existing bus routes to see if these can be ‘rationalized’ into trunk route sections and additional feeder routes and also permits estimates to be presented of the initial corridor passenger figures. Interchanges should be identified, showing how passengers from feeder routes can change to the trunk routes, as well as to other travel options.

5.3 Examination of Demand Constraints: A viable passenger demand envelope for a 7 metre, 2-way HCBRT busway, with stops every 400–500m, is about 30,000 (minimum) and 200,000 (maximum) passengers/day (both directions) on the most loaded section. This corresponds to a minimum peak headway for articulated units of about 6 minutes (greater headways are difficult to justify and dedicated road space difficult to enforce); and a maximum headway of about 60 seconds (below which the operation of the station platforms becomes difficult). The estimated demand envelopes should be presented for the initial year of operation (typically some 12 months ahead) and for a 10–15 year horizon, which covers the useful life of the HCBRT units.

5.4 Comparison of Physical and other Constraints with Corridor Demand: A presentation of physical constraints on the proposed BRT system should be made, highlighting any major restrictions in terms of space and demand. Other constraints such as green areas, historical (listed) buildings and other environmental factors should be presented. Part of this process should also consider problems related to urban blight, abandoned or wasteland sites, and redevelopment policy. Modern BRT planning should take a broad view of the city and consider the possibilities of: using new infrastructure, opening up new corridors, using bus-only streets or including busway infrastructure in new city redevelopment. By having a ‘holistic vision’ of the city, more creative options for BRT can often be developed.

5.5 Planning Considerations: There should be a short description at this stage as to the role of the BRT proposals within the city land use plan and its desired future growth. For example, showing how new housing areas could be serviced from an interchange by extending a feeder route without adding a new route for this development (which may overcrowd the city centre and other major destinations) nor extending an existing route and thus creating a huge oversupply of capacity on the last few kilometres. The planning should also consider how BRT can be integrated with metro and other transport modes.

5.6 Basic Proposed Operational Scheme: This section should outline the role of the different players in the operational plan. It should cover regulation, bus franchising or concessioning, rights of way, access to depots etc. Secondly, this section should outline the unique BRT branding; provide the design elements (colour, vehicle design, terminals, stations, tickets etc.) that differentiate the BRT brand from conventional buses.

5.7 Revision of Existing Bus Franchising or Contracts: It is vital to establish that the HCBRT will be operating under a legal framework that guarantees continuity and the legal rights of both users and operators. The international norm for new concessions is a minimum of 10 years, compatible with any private investment in the capital cost of units. For any private sector tendering, the international norm is again total cost by lowest price to determine the best (out of the technically feasible) bids. Implementation is based on area franchising or franchising by catchment area.

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