In the last few decades, Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) systems have emerged as a cost-effective, flexible, and environmentally sustainable form of public transportation. The world’s first BRT system was developed in Curitiba, Brazil, which was followed by the development of many other BRTs across Latin America, notably the TransMilenio BRT in Bogotá, Colombia. Encouraged by the success of these systems, many cities around the world began to develop BRTs, providing faster, convenient, and more efficient transit systems for millions of urban dwellers.
In India, BRTs have received considerable interest, and a number of cities are presently developing or augmenting their BRT systems. At the same time, these systems have also met with scepticism in some Indian cities, due to their perceived shortcomings, especially with regard to road safety.
Typically, a BRT system improves road safety because it segregates the movement of buses from all other transport modes, and introduces other changes in the road infrastructure that are associated with safety. These include shorter pedestrian crossings, and refuge islands. In particular, a central lane BRT system places the buses away from the paths of pedestrians and bicyclists, who are the most vulnerable road users. A well executed BRT system can significantly reduce road accidents. However, poorly designed infrastructure could have the opposite impact on road safety if it fails to consider the negative impact on local accessibility and vehicular capacity.
EMBARQ has developed significant expertise in conducting road safety audits on a number of BRT systems in India and abroad, including those in Ahmedabad, New Delhi, Indore, Bogotá, Arequipa, Mexico City, and Rio de Janeiro. These guidelines have been developed out of these experiences, aimed at providing bus agencies, and transport planning organisations with a set of suggested design, planning, and operational criteria for bus systems, including BRT corridors. The guidelines include recommendations for street design, intersections, stations and station access, as well as transfers and terminals.