Africa's First Bus Rapid Transit System

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

economics - benefits, economics - finance, mode - bus rapid transit, place - africa, planning - education, planning - marketing/promotion


Nigeria, Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)


Africa's first bus rapid transit (BRT) scheme became operational in March 2008 in Lagos, Nigeria. Termed "BRT-Lite," this new form of BRT focuses on the delivery of improved quality of life within a modest budget. The implementation program, from conception to operation, was collapsed into a 15-month time frame; that together with its delivery cost of $1.7m/km made its development unique and its experience relevant to cities throughout the world seeking to develop BRT. BRT-Lite's success cannot be explained by its infrastructure; it is also the result of a holistic approach. That approach involved reorganization of the bus industry, the financing of new buses, the creation of a new institutional structure and regulatory framework of support, and the training of personnel to drive, maintain, enforce, and manage the BRT. While these challenges were being met, the public was engaged and informed about a transportation system of which it had no previous knowledge. Public reception of the concept was immediate and positive. An assessment of BRT-Lite, which followed its inception, found the scheme to be an unprecedented success. The critical success factors were defined as significant and consistent political commitment, the presence and capabilities of a strategic public transport authority, a scheme definition that concentrated on essential user needs and deliverability within a budget and program, engagement of key stakeholders, assurances that the benefits would be widespread, and a community engagement program to ensure that BRT-Lite was seen as a community project created, owned, and used by Lagosians. The future challenge is to meet high demand through rollout of the BRT network.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Transportation Research Board, copyright remains with them.