Bus Rapid Transit Systems: A Comparative Assessment

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - bus, mode - bus rapid transit


Under developed countries, Trade off analysis, Third world, Level of service, Less developed countries, Infrastructure, Industrialized countries, Developing countries, Developed countries, Costs, Comparison studies, Bus rapid transit, Alternatives analysis


Bus rapid transit (BRT) is a system operating on its own right-of-way, either as a full BRT with high quality interchanges, integrated smart card fare payment and efficient throughput of passengers alighting and boarding at bus stations; or as a system with some amount of dedicated right-of-way (light BRT) and lesser integration of service and fares. This paper evaluates the status of 44 BRT systems in operation throughout the world in order to identify BRT's capability of moving substantial numbers of passengers, using infrastructure whose costs overall and per kilometer are low. The cost of constructing the BRT infrastructure and the range of design and service specifications offered through BRT are examined. The findings indicate that most of the systems, with all manner of variation and in both developed and developing nations, cost less than $10 million per kilometer. Substantial variations in total costs can be attributed in part to data limitations and the context in which costs were negotiated.