Sunday, August 20, 2006

Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) in Leeds

I’ve uploaded a recently released document from the Department for Transport (dft) at which is a consultants report on a proposed Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) in Leeds.

I’ve also uploaded images of Bus Rapid Transit vehicles at

The report is 122 pages long. It is well written and gives lots of statistics on bus showcases, trams and generally how to get people back onto public transport.

It’s importance to Birmingham is as follows:
1) we are in the middle of a Scrutiny Review on how to increase the number of people on buses.
2) The report shows how some cities, eg Brighton, have managed to increase bus use.
3) The report talks about Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) or, as it is described in the West Midlands, Super Showcase. BRT is the intermediate stage between Bus Showcase and Trams – in the West Midlands we haven’t really discussed this possible form of transport. BRT is an express bus route, which has all the advantages of a tram eg buses shaped like trams, running on a separated road surface between limited stops. However, a BRT differs from a tram in that it has rubber wheels and using diesel, instead of electricity, as it fuel.
4) The report clearly discussing the advantages and disadvantages on Light Rail systems or Trams, or as it is described in the West Midlands, Metro.

Pages of interest:
Page 15 – paragraph 2.23 – this explains why trams can safely run along pedestrianised areas, whilst buses cannot

Page 15 – paragraph 2.24 – this explains why trams do not get held up with parked cars or unloading vehicles, whereas buses will

Page 15 – paragraph 2.25 – this gives an initially indication of the problems of having too many buses or trams with traffic light priority – ie it causes traffic jams on the non-priority routes. In Birmingham, we know that there may be similar problems where the forthcoming Metro extension crosses Paradise Circus by the Town Hall.

Page 17 – paragraph 2.31 – this shows that in calculating the journey time in public transport you need to also consider the time it takes to walk to and from the bus stop AND the time waiting at the bus stop.

Page 22 – paragraph 3.9 – this shows a table indicating the advantages of high quality buses against tram.

Page 23 – paragraph 3.13 – this shows the necessary ingredients to a successful BRT.

Page 25 – paragraph 3.17 – table showing the success and failures of tram systems installed in Britain over the last 16 years. It shows that few have ever managed to meet their forecast passenger figures.
Page 25 – paragraph 3.19 – tries to explain why so many tram systems never met their predicted passenger figures.

Page 27 – paragraph 3.25 – this shows that trams are able to carry a higher volume of passengers than a bus equivalent.

Page 29 – paragraph 3.42 – this shows how Brighton have managed to increase bus patronage by 50% over 10years, whilst in the rest of Britain bus patronage has gone down.

Page 30 – paragraph 3.44 – this shows how Perth managed a 56% increase in bus patronage over 2 years on a poorly performing route, with a high percentage of car owners.

Page 37 – paragraph 3.81 – this shows the different types of BRT buses on the market at the moment – these buses look like trams!

Page 43 – paragraph 4.14 – this shows the quality features of a BRT bus eg air conditioning

Page 47 – tables 5.2 and 5.3 – statistical data on the various trams in Britain, showing their effectiveness.


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