Management & Operations

Study: BRT is best transit option to cut emissions

Posted on August 10, 2006

Bus rapid transit (BRT) is a better option to fight global warming than rail transit powered by electricity generated from fossil fuels, according to a new study released Thursday. The study by Breakthrough Technologies Institute (BTI), a Washington D.C.-based non-profit, was published in the Journal for Public Transportation. BRT can achieve nearly three times the greenhouse gas emissions reductions than would be possible with rail in a typical U.S. city, reported the analysis. "BRT ought to be a serious option for any city that wants to promote public transportation and reduce global warming emissions," said Bill Vincent, BTI chief counsel and lead author of the study. Because transportation accounts for nearly one-third of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, public transit is often an important part of the strategy to reduce emissions. Electric rail systems generally fail to maximize greenhouse gas reductions, because they typically rely upon electricity from coal and natural-gas fired power plants, the nation's leading greenhouse gasses emitters, said a BTI statement. BRT does not require electricity for propulsion, and modern BRT systems have lower emissions per passenger mile than typical city bus systems. For more information on the study, "The Potential for Bus Rapid Transit to Reduce Transportation-Related CO2 Emissions," log on to

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