Bus Rapid Transit Series: The Basics

30 Jul

Bus Rapid Transit is coming to Omaha! This isn’t news for most of you, by any means, but things have been quiet on the BRT front lately so a little reminder never hurts.

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) can take a variety of forms as there are many factors that impact the quality of a BRT system. Fortunately, the Institute for Transportation & Development Policy has a handy scorecard that can be used to gauge the quality of the system Metro is planning.

In the coming weeks, we’re going to start highlighting and discussing the different aspects of a BRT system in Omaha. Here are just a few of the many BRT components that we’ll dig into:

  • Dedicated right-of-way
  • Station quality
  • Hours of operation
  • Frequency of service
  • Bike friendliness
  • Signal prioritization
  • Branding
  • Passenger information

Before we go there, however, here are the basics with respect to Omaha’s BRT. (For more information, see the links below.)

  • Owner/operator: Metro Transit
  • Timeline: launch fall 2018
  • Route: Dodge Street from 10th to Westroads
  • The eastbound BRT between 31st Street and 10th Street will operate in a transit-only contraflow lane along Dodge.
  • Stations:
    • 25 – 27 are planned with more frequent stops on the eastern portion of the route (see image below)
    • amenities such as near-level boarding, covered waiting areas, real time arrival displays, pre-boarding fare payment, bike parking, and landscaping

Untitled

  • Funding: $30.5 million total
    • $15 million from a federal TIGER grant
    • Remainder from local sources (grants, foundations, etc.)
  • Other project highlights per the TIGER application:
    • Intersects with nearly every route in the transit system to serve as the spine of the regional transit network
    • Connects members of disadvantaged and economically distressed communities with centers of employment, education, and training
    • Utilizes innovative technologies including Wi-Fi throughout the corridor and stations with solar power

As we’ve said before, this is a HUGE deal for Omaha, and we’re so excited about it. Our intention is to do what we can to ensure that the final system is well done. For now, your call to action is twofold:

  1. Begin talking about Omaha’s BRT plans with your friends and neighbors. Stress the importance of its future existence and how critical it is that it’s done well.
  2. Attend Metro’s upcoming BRT Open House on August 13, 5 – 7pm at UNO’s Thompson Alumni Center.

Additional Resources:

Metro’s BRT announcement

Metro’s Public Open House announcement

U.S. Department of Transportation’s announcement

Streetfilms 3:34 minute video on BRT

Metro’s TIGER application

Alternatives Analysis

Institute for Transportation & Development Policy: What is BRT?

National Bus Rapid Transit Institute

One Response to “Bus Rapid Transit Series: The Basics”

  1. northbethesda August 13, 2015 at 4:18 pm #

    Reblogged this on northbethesda and commented:
    Lessons from the Heartland: Bus Rapid Transit is coming to Omaha!

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