Annex 1 An Overview of High-Capacity BRT System (HCBRT)

Basic Components of HCBRT

All HCBRT systems, as developed in Latin America and being adopted in Indonesia, China and many other countries, share several basic concepts:

  • The designation of valuable city space for public transport in the form of bus-only streets, lanes or infrastructure for trunk routes. A busway is normally considered to be a segregated stretch of road, with a minimum width of 7m (for a 2 way busway) or 14m for a 4-lane busway. A bus-only street is restricted to bus traffic, but would normally allow access to residents and special vehicles. Bus lanes are normally 3.5m to 4m wide (per direction) and operate by road signs rather than physical segregation, and may permit access to private vehicles or to turning movements.
  • The concentration of passenger demand at integration terminal “hubs” and the rationalization of supply in terms of trunk and feeder routes. These hubs offer new travel options in order to capture potential public transport demand. This infrastructure is normally called an Integration Terminal or Interchange and should be located in relation to existing transport demand as well as the planned development structure of the city. These allow passengers in the city centre to take the first arriving trunk unit without waiting for a specific route number, which reduces waiting times and queues. The waiting/station areas needed on the central area trunk sections are therefore relatively small.
  • Full accessibility to the entire system for a single ticket – or at least to the core urban zone. This means that passengers can change from one route to another without paying an extra fare. From the 1970´s to the 90´s, this meant using a “closed” system, with physically closed interchange areas. With the current availability of smartcards allowing unlimited travel by zone and time limit, interchanges can now be designed to be fully integrated into the urban fabric.
  • Stations on the trunk routes set at longer intervals than conventional bus stops, typically 400–500 metres, preferably offering at-floor level, pre-paid boarding (as in a subway) to minimize loading times. The concept of pre-paid access implies that all passengers buy their tickets, and have them checked, before getting on the bus, thus saving valuable operating time as well as improving journey times. Stations are usually named in order to establish a closer identity with the local urban structure, as in metro systems.
  • The use of high-capacity units on the trunk routes, with high-frequency services operating at least 20kph. The unit that is now the standard for HCBRT is the 18m articulated bus, but some other types of bus can be used depending on the physical constraints of proposed corridors.
  • Electronic ticketing, the standard is now contactless smart cards.
  • Private sector investment in fleet and operation, with a professional administration and regulation of the concession contract by the Municipality.
  • System design and building associated with civic improvements for pedestrians and general traffic. High-Capacity BRT systems tend to be successful because their appeal has extended outward from the "captive" demand to a significant portion of the middle class. They look and perform much like modern metro systems and there is no stigma attached to riding in them. Adding pedestrian, cycle tracks, parks or landscaping is essential to encourage political, media and middle class support for the project. This can also be a factor in urban renovation and in adding real value to blighted urban zones.
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