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The revival of buses as Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) in urban and regional planning: retrospect and prospects
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Transport Science, Traffic and Logistics.
2013 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In contrast to the conventional bus systems that operate predominantly on streets, in mixed traffic or on dedicated lanes, bus rapid transit (BRT) achieves high capacity by channeling passenger flows in a system of segregated busways, partially or fully separated from other traffic. We are in the midst of an emergence of a new multimodality paradigm in urban and region planning and within the new paradigm there is priority on environmental friendly and more energy effective transports like public transport, cycling and walking in multimodal systems. European commission (EC) advocates for balance between transport modes and more sustainable transports. In the emerging planning paradigm there is much advocacy for BRT and its integration in cities through the ‘compact city’ model.

In this article I trace buses and BRT in the history of urban and regional planning and urban planning and design and I look at European cases of ‘compact city’ neighborhoods developed along busways. The motorbus with the emergence of the car was preferred and widespread alternative to the 19th century tramways and railways. But in the same time the bus was profoundly patronized. It was more an excuse for urban planners and designers not to plan public transport than a mobility solution. The flexible bus like the car could reach anywhere. What is the perception and position of bus and BRT today? Did BRT made a change in urban and regional planning? What is happening on the historical, today abandoned industrial urban fringe of the cities in Northern Europe? How is BRT included? How BRT can help? Today we see a wide replication of the ‘compact city’ urban model in the abandoned industrial zones in Europe and BRT is in the heart of many ‘compact city’ neighborhoods. The urban model includes partially separated or light busways integrated in multimodal streets alongside sidewalks, bicycle and car lanes. BRT is conceived as a future public transport system, a sophisticated high speed system integrated in cities. BRT has inflexible busways and it is driver for urban new developments. There are many finished and ongoing busway projects in Europe. But there are too few debates and too little reflections on the replication of the ‘compact city’ model. The partially separated busways integrated with cities do not allow high speeds. Thus they cannot compete with the private car on regional scale because they are slower (20-25km/h) than the typical regional public transport systems. Secondly, the ‘sophisticated vehicles’ are often the plain old buses that run on busways. They are as austere and uncomfortable as the other buses in every city. There are some new concept buses, but they are still prototypes. The emergence of the stereotypical compact city neighborhoods opens new questions: How attractive is to live in there? Should we replicate more ‘compact city’ neighborhoods like in Gothenbourg, Eindhoven, Douai, Paris and Cambridge? How creatively BRT is used and how creatively can it be used?

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. , 28 p.
Keyword [sv]
bus, Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), urban and regional planning, retrospect, prospects, history future
National Category
Transport Systems and Logistics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-116014OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-116014DiVA: diva2:588596
Conference
European Transport Conference 2013; Frankfurt, Germany, 30 September, 2013
Projects
BRT-TOD – Vilka krav ställer attraktiv busstrafik av BRT-typ på bebyggelsen?
Funder
Vinnova, 2009-01233
Note

QC 20140528

Available from: 2013-01-15 Created: 2013-01-15 Last updated: 2017-08-10Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Bus rapid transit (BRT) and transitoriented development (TOD): How to transform and adjust the Swedish cities for attractive bus systems like BRT? What demands BRT?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Bus rapid transit (BRT) and transitoriented development (TOD): How to transform and adjust the Swedish cities for attractive bus systems like BRT? What demands BRT?
2013 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Bus rapid transit (BRT) is an innovative bus system with sophisticated vehicles and inflexible busways integrated in the cities, high capacity and high quality, high speed and frequency, distinctive image and comfort. Many in Sweden believe that is impossible to introduce BRT, even though the Swedish towns and cities can benefit from the image, speed and frequency that BRT symbolizes. The archipelago-like urbanization, urban sprawl and the uncompetitive journey times of public transportation compared with the private car are identified as main obstacles. New questions emerged: Is it possible to transform and adjust the Swedish towns and cities for BRT? What demands BRT? How is transit-oriented development (TOD) applicable in a Swedish context as a policy to integrate cities and BRT?

In this licentiate thesis I investigate the interrelationship between bus transportation and neighborhoods, between BRT and urban form as well as the possibilities to introduce busways and BRT, to trigger TOD and to transform the Swedish towns and cities for BRT. Much has been written about BRT, but seldom by architects or urban planners and designers. BRT and TOD are seen though urban form and processes of urbanization within a morphological tradition established by Kevin Lynch. BRT is represented by paths and nodes that disperse distinctive attractiveness pattern of desirability cores that shape neighborhoods as districts. TOD is about synchronizing the everyday urban life with public transportation systems. BRT-TOD is defined as a policy to recognize desirability cores spread by the different infrastructures of BRT and promote development of urban form within their attractiveness pattern at urban and regional scale. BRT-TOD is discussed as a concept of BRT metropolis in context of the urbanization of Swedish towns and cities.

 TOD is defined morphologically as public transport cities. A public transport city is a city that in its development adapted to specific public transportation systems. TOD is nothing new in Europe or Sweden. To find regularities of the effect of public transportation systems on cities I do a historical overview of the Swedish towns and cities. In the end the position of bus and BRT, public transport cities and TOD and possibilities of future urban transformation of the smaller and larger Swedish cities towards BRT metropolises are discussed in context of today’s “‘system’ of automobility” and widespread car society and the emerging knowledge society and its postmodern fringes of urbanization.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2013. xvi, 89 p.
Series
TRITA-TEC-LIC, ISSN 1653-445X ; 13:007
Keyword
bus rapid transit (BRT), transit-oriented development (TOD), bus transportation, neighborhood, urban form, urban morphology, urbanization
National Category
Transport Systems and Logistics
Research subject
Transport Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-128526 (URN)978-91-87353-16-1 (ISBN)
Presentation
2013-09-11, L1, Drottning Kristinas väg 30, KTH, Stockholm, 13:30 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
VINNOVA, 2009-01233
Note

QC 20130917

Available from: 2013-09-17 Created: 2013-09-12 Last updated: 2017-08-10Bibliographically approved

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