Mark Byrnes  |  theatlanticcities.com

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. {…}