Mark Byrnes  |

In an era where financial resources are sparse, public transportation projects are difficult to put together. Though less popular than subway and light rail, bus rapid transit lines can be a successful and much cheaper alternative.

A major limitation to BRTs is the stigma that comes with being a bus. That can be addressed through design. Elevated and well-designed station platforms can create a sense of exclusivity. Sleek-looking and comfortable buses help craft that image as well. Most importantly, the bus-specific traffic lane makes users feel like it is worth keeping the car in the garage.

Cleveland is a good example of an American city, adopting BRT the right way. The Health Line was settled on after the projected costs of a hypothetical subway or light rail line were deemed to high. Since its debut, it has become an important link between downtown and University Circle. One might think a rapid bus line would be a hard sell in car-dependent Cleveland but it has been a success, with increasing ridership and a regenerated demand for residential and commercial activity along Euclid Street. {…}