BRT sees success, while rail suffers assault

Posted on December 16, 2011 by Nicole Schlosser

It appears that Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is going to save the transportation budget in two cities that recently completed studies concluding that this transit option would be cheaper and cover more distance. 

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, Gov. Rick Snyder and U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood scrapped the city's $528 million light rail project and instead chose a regional BRT system, saying economics was the primary factor. Nashville, Tenn., found that a BRT system will cost half as much to build as streetcars, but still draw the same number of riders.

This news wasn’t too surprising. Every year for our April issue, when I ask transit systems across the U.S. and Canada about their BRT project plans and why they chose them over other transit options, nearly all of them say it was cheaper than light rail.

However, with last week ‘s announcement that “high-speed rail is dead in America” in Slate.com, and a recent poll that showed 59% of Californians surveyed would not vote for the state’s high-speed rail project if given another opportunity, it seems like there’s an assault on rail right now that may be in part guiding these decisions. Is this just about money? Is rail becoming outmoded? What do you think?

In case you missed it...

Read our METRO blog, "Make the season for giving last all year long," here.

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