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Bus Rapid Transit FINAL

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Bus Rapid Transit

Chris ConstantinouDiego VelascoARCH 494

IntroductionBus rapid transit (BRT) can be defined, according to wordiQ.com, as a term for urban mass transportation services utilizing buses to perform premium services on existing roadways or dedicated rights-of-way. BRT encompasses a broad variety of modes, including those known or formerly known as express buses, limited busways and rapid busways. Buses have been servicing urban population centers for decades. When a BRT system was first introduced in 1974, it created a new model for how other cities can improve transit systems. Since its 1974 implementation, around 120 cities world-wide use a BRT system. Over 90 of these systems have been created in the past 10 years alone. The system in Curitiba, Brazil, is the crown jewel of the bus rapid transit system. This paper will focus on two areas: Case studies of BRT usage: 1) Curitiba, Brazil 2) Ottawa, Canada BRT implementation in San Diego, California

Curitiba, BrazilThe Model City, the Ecological Capital of Brazil, and the Green City, are nicknames given to Curitiba which is located in the southern portion of the Brazilian state, Parana. Curitiba was founded in 1683. Today, the city boosts a population of over 1.8 million people and over 3.2 million in the metropolitan area. Curitiba ranks among the best environmentally green and eco-friendly cities around the world. In 2007, the city was ranked third out of fifteen in the world in being a Green City by Grist magazine. The citys name comes from the Tupi, one of the indigenous people of Brazil. In their language, the words kuri tyba means many pine seeds. During a military regime change in 1969, the city became the capital of Brazil for three days.Urban planning has been at the forefront in Curitiba since the 1940s. A Brazilian architect, Alfred Agache, was hired by the city to produce a master plan. He planned out major boulevards and downtown amenities. Along with that, Agache planned on an extensive sanitation system. However, the plan was too expensive and was scrapped. The population was exploding by the 1960s, as over 400,000 residents were then living in the city. Mayor Ivo Arzua chose architect Jaime Lerner in 1964 to produce the Curitiba Master Plan. The master plan created by Lerner called for control of urban sprawl, downtown traffic reduction, and a new affordable public transit system. Lerner reworked the major roadways leading into the center of the city to limit traffic. He also originated an idea of taking flood-prone areas within the city and turning them into massive and beloved city parks. As a result of the impressive and innovative work of Agache and Lerner, today the city has been highly praised world-wide for its urban planning. The city has won many awards for its city planning accomplishments. One example took place in 1996 at the Habitat II conference held in Istanbul, Turkey. At the UN-held conference, the committee claimed that Curitiba was the most innovative city in the world. The city is constantly ranked as one of the best cities to live in. In 2010, the city received the Globe Sustainable City Award for excellent Urban Development. Cities are where people live by the billions. So they're also where the planet's environmental problems need bold solutions. No one understands that better than Jaime Lerner, 72, a former mayor of Curitiba and an ex-governor of Paran, in Brazil. Over the past 40 years, Lerner has left a magnificent legacy of urban sustainability. He turned Curitiba's main downtown street into a pedestrian corridor. His decision in the early 1970s to allow only nonpolluting industries presaged modern models of green business. He pioneered the bus-rapid-transit systems now in use around the world. There is no need to be scared of simplicity, Lerner has said. The quote above was written by the mayor of Vancouver in Times 100 Influential People, 2010 edition . Jaime Lerner has been one of the most innovative urban thinkers in the 20th-21st century. Jaime Lerner graduated in 1964 from the Federal University of Parana in architecture. The following year he helped to create the Institute for Urban Planning and Research of Curitiba or IPPUC. He was the architect/city planner who created the citys third master plan in 1968. The master plan was implemented in 1971 during his first term as mayor of Curitiba. Between the years of 1971-1992, Lerner was the mayor three separate times. During the 1990s, he became the governor of the state of Parana. The main reason why Lerner promoted bus rapid transit as part of the citys master plan was for cost reasons. He stated that the construction of building and implementing subways in Curitiba would be, over my dead body. One of his famous quotes is, If you want creativity, take one zero off your budget; if you want sustainability, take two zeroes off your budget.

A map of the RIT

One of Lerners main accomplishments as mayor was the creation of the Rede Integrada de Transporte (Integrated Transportation Network ) or RIT, created in 1974. Various sources estimate the use of the RIT by the citys residents as ranging from 70% to 85%. This widely utilized bus system spreads from downtown to the suburbs of the city. The bus lines are in the form of a star and have five different routes out of the downtown core. The buses used in the RIT are bi-articulated, or referred to as bendy buses because it has an accordion-like fold in the middle, and can hold 270 passengers. Because of excellent planning the bus system was an instant success and remains extremely popular. Citizens refer to this transit system as SpeedyBus because it gets people to where they want to go in a quick and efficient way. Unfortunately, the system has been plagued by problems recently. The bus system, used by tens of thousands of residents, tends to be overcrowded. A majority of residents live within walking distance of bus stops. Curitiba has the most automobiles per capita in Brazil which has led to increased traffic in the citys downtown area which hasnt occurred since the Master Plan was implemented. RIT faces a new problem because people are starting to view the car as a status symbol and are opting for different modes of transport to get from place to place.Nevertheless, with brilliant leaders such as Jaime Lerner, currently 75, Curitiba will find a way to solve the problems currently facing its highly praised transportation network. Ottawa, CanadaOttawa was founded in 1826 and made the capital of Canada on December 31, 1857. Ottawa comes from the word adawe which means to trade in the Algonquin language. Urban planning has been a vital part of the citys history. In the late 1940s, French city planner Jacques Greber was chosen to create a master plan for the National Capital Region. He was influenced by the City Beautiful Movement that took place in North America between the 1890s-1900s. The Greber Plan, implemented between 1946-1950, created a Greenbelt around the city to control urban sprawl. The greenbelt surrounds the city with 205 square miles of parks. Another implementation of the plan was the improvement of transportation in the city. The plan removed downtown railroad tracks and established a train station outside of downtown. The Greber Plan has made Ottawa one of the greenest capital cities in the world.

A typical transitway in Ottawa. Buses are separated from traffic.

Transportation within the city was initially under the control of the Ottawa Transportation Commission. In 1973, the transit organization was renamed OC Transpo. OC comes from the words Ottawa and Carleton, the former name of the historic county name no longer in use. In the 1980s, Ottawa had a population of over 500,000 people and currently has over 880,000. In 1983, the first transitway was implemented in the city. A transit way is defined as a network of mostly grade-separated (above or below) dedicated bus lanes within their own right-of-way and having full stations with Park & Ride facilities further supported by on-road reserved bus lanes and priority traffic signal controls. These transitways differ from the Curitiba model yet they have similar applications. The similarity is that a separate bus lane is utilized. The difference is that in Ottawa, buses follow routes on a bus-only elevated or sub-level section of a separate road free from public traffic. Emergency vehicles are allowed to use the transitway when needed. There are nine lines operated by OC Transpo. The use of transitways makes getting from one part of the city to the other quick and a cheap for many citizens. The buses are not only limited to transitways but serve major streets. In 2001, the city implemented a light rail line. The O-Train runs from the suburbs to downtown. A second line is being constructed and will be completed by 2018. Bus transportation in Ottawa has seen success and is used by many residents.BRT in San DiegoSan Diego has had a long history of public transit since the 1880s. The city of San Diego was incorporated in 1850. Since its incorporation the city has grown to over 1.3 million residents and over 3 million in the county. It is estimated that by 2050, the region will have over 4.3 million residents. Many new transport options are being planned or constructed. One of the main problems that San Diego faces unlike Curitiba and Ottawa is that California has always been very auto-oriented. Cars are seen as a status symbol for many. Californian culture was and is built around the automobile with cities spreading in all directions. Public transportation in San Diego does not see the same ridership levels as other cities around the world. The Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) oversees the transportation in San Diego. The San Diego Association of Governments or SANDAG is responsible for regional transit planning. MTS was established in 1975 and has 93 bus routes and th

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