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What is ‘Bus Rapid Transit’?

Richard Whittaker | The Austin Chronicle 

Capital Metro calls the new MetroRapid service a bus rapid transit system (BRT), but that term is about more than just fast buses. In fact, there’s no international or even national consensus on exactly what is and isn’t BRT, nor are all BRT systems created equal: The Institute for Transportation & Development Policy grades systems according to its BRT standard from “Gold” to “Bronze.” Here’s how the Federal Transit Authority defines BRT, and how MetroRapid measures up:

Improved Vehicle Design: MetroRapid vehicles are more spacious than traditional buses, while the 330-horsepower engines are surprisingly quiet. They’re also wi-fi equipped.

Reduced Fare Collection Time: MetroRapid accommodates mobile ticketing, and allows card swipe and mobile passes to be used at all three doors.

Improved and Distinctive Stops and Shelters: MetroRapid features new stations, many standing clear of the sidewalk, reducing any holdups for other road users and pedestrians. Also, some will have raised platforms for easier loading and unloading.

Dedicated Bus Lanes, Busways or Expressways: Initially there will be express bus-only lanes on the Guadalupe/Lavaca corridor, but these may be extended, and future routes could use the high occupancy vehicle lanes on MoPac.

Signal Priority: MetroRapid vehicles communicate with traffic lights, keeping them green slightly longer without overly impacting other traffic.

Automatic Vehicle Location: MetroRapid vehicles use cell-phone systems to send real-time arrival information to station displays.

Land Use: The FTA proposes that BRT be sited to both serve high-demand populations, such as apartment complexes and big employers (which MetroRapid backers argue it does), and to encourage desirable transit-oriented development over time.

2014 AIA Institute Honor Awards for Regional & Urban Design

Karissa Rosenfield | ArchDaily
Six US projects have been selected by the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) for honorably expanding the role of the architect beyond the building and into the realms of urban design, regional and city planning, and community development. These projects will be honored with the AIA’s Institute Honor Awards for Regional and Urban Design at the 2014 National Convention and Design Exposition in Chicago. {….}

Denver Union Station Neighborhood Transformation / Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP © Sponge Production

Using the MBTA saves commuters $13,000 a year

mbta

Winter is upon us, and that means slushy, icy and dangerous roadways. You can alleviate the stress of dealing with road conditions while saving money by letting public transit get you where you need to go. Consider the facts from the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) December Transit Savings Report, individuals who ride public transportation instead of driving can save, on average, more than $825 this month, and $9,901 annually. That’s not just in the winter, the savings extend all year round.

These savings are based on the cost of commuting by public transportation compared to the cost of owning and driving a vehicle which includes the December 17, 2013 average national gas price ($3.22 per gallon- reported by AAA), and the national unreserved monthly parking rate.

APTA releases this monthly Transit Savings Report to examine how an individual in a two-person household can save money by taking public transportation and living with one less car.

The national average for a monthly unreserved parking space in a downtown business district is $166.26, according to the 2012 Colliers International Parking Rate Study. Over the course of a year, parking costs for a vehicle can amount to an average of $1,995.

The top 20 cities with the highest public transit ridership are ranked in order of their transit savings based on the purchase of a monthly public transit pass. The savings also factor in local gas prices for December 17, 2013 and the local monthly unreserved parking rate. {….}

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