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Multi-million dollar grant allows investigation into Rapid Bus Transport

29 Apr 2010

BRT is a term applied to different types of public transport using buses to provide faster, more efficient service than ordinary bus lines on dedicated infrastructure, along similar lines as light and heavy rail.

The primary goal of this CoE will be to develop a new framework for the planning, design, financing, implementation and operation of bus rapid transit in different urban areas, offering clear guidelines to decision makers on when and how such projects can enhance mobility and meet accessibility needs.

The consortium is headed by Juan Carlos Muñoz of the Department of Transport Engineering and Logistics at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (DTEL-PUC). Collaborators in the CoE at ITLS will be Professor David Hensher, Professor Corinne Mulley and Adjunct Professor John Stanley.

In addition to PUC and ITLS, the CoE consortium involves researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Instituto Técnico Superior de la Universidad Técnica de Lisboa, and EMBARQ (The World Resources Institute Center for Sustainable Transport) Network.

An essential goal is to make the knowledge developed through the Center widely available to support more successful BRT deployment, and in particular to identify elements which are transferable between existing and prospective systems. The focus will be not only at the project level, but also on how such projects interact with other elements of the urban system so that the total urban mobility system is transformed.

The CoE in BRT will provide research and analysis to support the successful deployment of existing and proposed BRT systems. It includes five programs: a BRT Observatory, which will produce case studies of BRT planning and implementation; a BRT Laboratory, which will analyze BRT system performance; a BRT Educational program, which will distribute knowledge gained from the Observatory and Laboratory to educate transport practitioners; and, finally, support in BRT Implementation and Dissemination, which will be provided via the worldwide network of CoE partners.

The Center of Excellence in BRT was selected among many applicants worldwide. It is the eighth center funded by VREF. Others include: China Urban Sustainable Transport Research Center in Beijing, China; Sustainable Urban Transport in Less Motorized Countries: Research & Training in New Delhi, India; The Center for Sustainable Urban Development in New York, USA; UC Berkeley Center for Future Urban Transport in Berkeley, USA; The African Centre of Excellence in Public and Non-Motorised Transport in Cape Town, South Africa; The OMEGA Centre for the Study of Mega Projects in Transport and Development in London, UK; and the Australasian Centre for Governance and Management of Urban Transport in Melbourne, Australia.