Land Use-Based Transit Planning

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

infrastructure - station, planning - route design, land use - planning, policy - sustainable, mode - bus, mode - bus rapid transit


Transportation planning, Sustainable development, Sustainability, San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento (California), Ridership, Placer County (California), Patronage (Transit ridership), Land use, Implementation, Guidelines, Bus terminals, Bus stations, Bus routes, Bus rapid transit


Bus rapid transit (BRT) is gaining greater interest by transportation planners and decision makers in the United States because of concerns about growing traffic congestion and a desire for improved environmental quality and sustainable land use development patterns. To help planners and decision makers, FTA developed the BRT implementation guidelines based on the 26 case studies located in North America, Australia, Europe, and South America. The FTA guidelines serve as a valuable source for the basic BRT concepts including the main system components and their types, general planning principles, and general design guidelines. However, the detailed implementation process, such as BRT station selection and route alignment determination, as one of the primary and practical concerns by transportation planners and decision makers, has not been studied in detail. A conceptual planning approach used to quickly evaluate potential BRT stations and alignments based on a case study in Placer County, California, is presented. The approach relies on land use development criteria and an analogous station-matching process to determine an initial range of potential ridership for future stations based on existing stations with similar land use development patterns. This information is combined to help gauge station feasibility and alignment options. The criteria used in this planning process were developed from a comprehensive literature review of the relationship between land use development and transit station ridership, as well as a unique database of transit ridership and land use development intensity for more than 80 existing transit stations in the San Francisco Bay Area and the Sacramento, California, region.