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Introduction to Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)

In 1910, buses began mass operation,
providing wiring flexibility and the advantages associated with urban road
development, with lower installation costs than railways. Efficient service and
door-to-door services between transport hubs have contributed to the
popularization of urban public transport systems in cities around the world, especially
in underdeveloped countries with limited resources.

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There are currently 277 dedicated bus
lanes and bus rapid transit lanes in 156 cities in 38 countries. According to
the latest data from, these systems ship more than 25 million
people in a single day. Looking forward, it is very important to adopt a
priority bus route to separate buses from private cars. Dedicated lanes enable
buses to travel at higher speeds and increase user satisfaction, as higher
efficiency and fewer changes in travel time lead to better system quality. Nowadays,
Brazil travels 25% of all trips to Brazil each year, and 85% of all travel uses
public transport. Buses on buses make up 50% even in the United States.

The Problems that China has to face on

As the most
populous country in the world, China has enjoyed remarkable economic growth in recent
decades. As income level rise, Chinese cities also experience large-scale rural
immigration and rapid maneuver, which has a profound impact on urban transport
and public transport. With more than 100 cities in more than 100 cities,
China’s urban public transport market has become very large. “The suburbanization of megacities in China has
placed many residents in locations that are far less accessible than their
prior residences, requiring motorized travel” (Cervero & Day, 2008, p.1). With the continuous development of major cities in China, the
problems of traffic congestion, air pollution, and traffic accidents have
become increasingly serious. Same as the United States, China is also worried
about meeting the transportation infrastructure and energy needs.

The National Rapid Transit Research Institute (NBRTI), representing
the Federal Transit Administration’s Research, Demonstration and Innovation
Office, took part in a public transportation mission in April 2006 to better
understand China’s urban transport problems and solutions (Darido, 2006).

During this mission, NBRTI wanted to meet with organizations engaged in BRT
planning or operation in various Chinese cities and look into the Bus Rapid
Transit (BRT) system. By establishing initial contact with such organizations,
a channel of communications would be opened to exchange information and allow
for future cooperation on common problems and programs according to BRT system
in China (Darido, 2006).

Growth of BRT in China

       The rapid growth of bus rapid transit
(BRT) in China offers an opportunity to improve the overall quality of
sustainable transport in China in the future. The debate over urban street
rights still exists, but cities can still maximize the benefits of BRT by
prioritizing the integration of BRT with other sustainable development models.

Like everything else happening in China, BRT has experienced rapid growth over
the past few years. Although China’s BRT system does not receive the same
attention as the MTR system worldwide, the development of the BRT system is
still impressive (He, 2013).

The first BRT system in China was
introduced to Kunming in 1999 and the BRT was launched in Beijing in 2004,
drawing the nation’s attention to BRT as a new transportation solution.

However, Guangzhou BRT is expected to become China’s first high-capacity BRT
system, second in the world (Fjellstrom, 2009). “For operations at the end
of 2009, passenger traffic is expected to exceed that of other BRT systems in
Asia; to replenish and replenish existing metro systems to provide city-wide
bus coverage; to save a total of 36 million passengers annually; to reduce the
demand for bus fleets and Energy Consumption “(Cervero & Day, 2008).

In 2010, the launch of Guangzhou BRT broke through the existing medium and low
speed BRT mode and transported most of the country’s subway lines (Fjellstrom,
2009). The city has adopted a direct service model that allows for the use of
dedicated BRT lanes through corridor-defined BRT routes which are not just
trunk routes. “Nowadays there are 17 bus
rapid transit systems in China, serving 2.3 million people every day and most
of these systems were built since 2008 in all the first-tier cities, most of
the second-tier cities and many small cities” (He, 2013).

Impact of BRT on Region Development in Beijing

to Deng and Nelson (2010), South Axis BRT Line 1 commenced commercial operation
in December 2004 with a pilot phase of 5.5 km long in the first phase. In
December 2005, the BRT Line 1 began operation across the board, extending to
16.5 kilometers. The route starts at Qianmen (city center) and ends at
Demaozhuang which is in the southern neighborhood, passing 17 stations. It
incorporates many features of the Light Rail Transit, dedicated bus lanes,
modern vehicles, enhanced stations, off-board charges and various ITS tools
(Deng & Nelson, 2010). The specific goal of the BRT system is to meet the
growing demand for travel and to provide faster and more reliable options for
passengers from downtown to the south. This rubber tire transport system has
achieved nearly 40% reduction in travel time.

rapid growth of the previously owned apartment market in Beijing marked the
period from 2003 to 2009. In spite of this, the proximity of BRT seems to have
an additional positive impact on housing prices. Statistical analysis according
to Deng and Nelson (2013) shows that the transport convenience provided by BRT
is capitalized into higher real estate prices. The capitalization effect, which
occurred mainly after the BRT was fully operational, became more pronounced
over time, especially in areas where the subway system lacks mobility. The
result also means that the positive impact of BRT on the rise in real estate
values is more pronounced over time. From 2004 to 2009, the average value of
residential properties in the vicinity of express bus stations grew faster which
was up to 2.3% per annum than the average of non-bus services. These findings
support the view that an increase in accessibility, rather than the type of
transit system, is a more important reason for land development (Deng, Ma &
Nelson, 2016).

Challenges on BRT

In spite of its
rapid growth and good performance, BRT faces challenges in its dispute over
public transport rights in urban streets and in combination with other modes of
transport. As in many other countries, the challenge of BRT’s right to use in
China has not stopped. BRT’s concerns stem from the lack of familiarity with
the concept of BRT and the fact that private cars have the right route in the
city. Early BRT systems like Hangzhou, when it came to dedicated two-lane
buses, aroused suspicion among residents that such criticism ceased only when
quick and easy system effects were gradually emerging. Similarly, in Guangzhou,
locals refer to it as “denying access to traffic” (BRT), meaning
“not allowing (cars) to pass.” In Chongqing, public opposition to the
2008 dedicated bus lanes, which is believed to have caused traffic congestion
and prompted the Chongqing municipal government to allow other buses to use
lanes – could neither prevent private car drivers from filing complaints nor
ultimately save the corridors tear down (Cervero
& Day, 2008). Chongqing is also the first BRT
system to be demolished in China.

Despite the
well-functioning BRT system, cities can still maximize their impact through
better integration with other modes of public transport such as metros,
traditional buses and non-motorized vehicles. Currently in this area, most BRT
systems are inadequate. Few BRT systems provide a clear map of BRT associated
with other modes of public transport in terms of information integration – a
feature that will assist passengers in multimodal travel. Urumqi BRT has
created a new website that provides real-time information on each BRT line, but
users find it difficult to find a map of the BRT system and how it connects
with other bus lines. In terms of physical integration, the 100-kilometer BRT
system in Hangzhou has not yet been integrated with the subway system, while
the BRT line in Beijing is only connected to the Metro Line 2. Some cities in
China are pioneering the paradigm of model integration such as Guangzhou
integrating bike sharing stations next to the BRT station while also providing
a direct link between the BRT and the metro station (Fjellstrom,
2009). This design is also considered to be the best in
the world.

development for BRT

Bus Rapid
Transit System in China is steadily continuing rapid growth. According to data
shared by China’s Sustainable Transport Center, China is planning about 1,500
km of express buses. The State Council recently issued the relevant policy
directive also recommended that BRT be sustainable development as one of the
most important components of China’s ground transportation system. In second
and third tier cities, as a pillar of Changzhou, BRT can still serve as a
supplement to the metro and rail system in metro areas such as Beijing and
Guangzhou, which have limited rail conditions.

In China, there
is no doubt about the fact that the debate on the development of BRT will
continue. The shift from public to “people-centered” street design
thinking requires public education and time, and some awakened Chinese urban
transport professionals are trying to tackle traffic planning issues (He,
2013). The integration of information and design of BRT with other systems will
increase the practical value of sustainable urban transport and will leverage
the new BRT project in China. Given these developments and opportunities,
taking these factors into consideration, the BRT system will play the greatest
role in making better and greater changes take place in China’s urban transport

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