Improving services and sustainability through better jobs and democracy


The bus is the most important mode of urban public transport: around 80 per cent of all public transport journeys worldwide are made by bus, according to the International Public Transport Association (IATP).

In smaller, less congested cities, conventional bus services can provide high quality services. However, increased urban congestion greatly reduces commercial speed and reliability, as well as increasing energy consumption.

Therefore a major trend in cities is segregation of bus lanes, the most advanced and complete form of which is Bus Rapid Transit (BRT).

The BRT model developed in the 1970s in south America. The idea is to combine the speed and reliability of rail services with the much lower costs and operational flexibility of bus services.

The model was pioneered in the Brazilian city of Curitiba, which launched its BRT in 1974. A second generation of development also originated in south America following the launch of Transmilenio — the most high density BRT in the world — in Bogotá, the capital of Colombia.

According to one study: “The emergence of BRT has improved the overall image and performance of bus services. Case studies … have demonstrated BRT can be a cost-effective way of providing high-quality service. It can significantly reduce journey times, increase ridership, provide sufficient capacity and induce transit-oriented development.” (‘Recent developments in Bus Rapid Transit’, T. Deng and J.D. Nelson, Transport Reviews, Vol 31 No. 1 2011.)

Online resources

Service quality

System quality

Employment quality

Trends in Urban Public Transport — Quality Public Transport Briefing 4

Desafíos para los trabajadores en el Transmilenio de Bogotá
Challenges for workers in Bogotá’s Transmilenio, Public World
International Association of Public Transport website
Bus Rapid Transit Planning Guide, Institute for Transportation and Development Policy
Status of the BRT Industry, EMBARQ — slideshow

Offline resources

‘Recent developments in Bus Rapid Transit’, T. Deng and J.D. Nelson, Transport Reviews, Vol 31 No. 1 2011.

‘Bus Rapid Transit Systems in Latin America and Asia: Results and Difficulties in 11 Cities’, Dario Hidalgo and Pierre Graftieaux, in Transportation Research Record, Transportation Research Board, Washington, D.C.