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April 2, 2012

New global bus rapid transit database launched

Three global organizations — EMBARQ, the World Resources Institute’s center for sustainable transport, and the Across Latitudes and Cultures- Bus Rapid Transit Centre of Excellence (ALC-BRT CoE) — in collaboration with the International Energy Agency (IEA) teamed up to launch the most comprehensive, public database of bus rapid transit (BRT) systems around the world, http://BRTdata.org.

“The new website provides reliable and up-to-date data to help researchers, transit agencies, city officials and NGOs understand and make better decisions to improve BRT and bus corridors in their cities,” said Dario Hidalgo, director of research and practice, EMBARQ. “This is the first time that all of this publicly available data has been compiled in one place, but there is still more information available. We invite transit agencies and researchers to help us improve the knowledge base by sharing additional data to fill in the gaps.”

The new website allows users to compare BRT systems and bus corridors in all 134 cities in 36 countries. The database includes 95 different indicators on system operations, design and cost, including metrics like the number of passengers per day, commercial speed and the length of corridors.

The development of an online database was a joint data-sharing effort. EMBARQ and ALC-BRT CoE collected data mostly from Latin America, and the IEA contributed data from other regions.

“Previously, there was no single point of publicly accessible information about the worldwide BRT industry, and it was especially difficult to get an assessment of the industry’s size and how it was changing over time,” ALC-BRT CoE Director Juan Carlos Munoz said. “We finally have the right tools to set standards for this dynamic industry.”

Using information from this dataset, the IEA has estimated the energy and carbon dioxide (CO2) benefits of BRT implementation and outlined several CO2-mitigation scenarios that rely in part on modal shift from light duty vehicles to public transit, including BRT. The IEA plans to recognize the extensive potential of BRT in its upcoming biennial report, “Energy Technology Perspectives 2012,” calling for the total network length of BRT systems to double by 2020.

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