Development of a Mode Choice Model for Bus Rapid Transit in Santa Clara County, CA

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - bus rapid transit, place - north america, ridership - forecasting, ridership - modelling


Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), ridership forecasts, BRT boardings


Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is an enhanced bus service that offers many of the same service attributes as rail transit, such as specialized vehicles, large stations, real-time passenger information, and more frequent and reliable operations. The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) intends to develop an integrated BRT network throughout Santa Clara County, California, to provide high quality service to areas not well served by the VTA Light Rail (LRT) system. Past research showed that many transit agencies in North America considered BRT the same as LRT in their demand models, and a few agencies treated BRT and local bus identically. Realistic BRT ridership forecasts are essential for selecting and sizing facilities, preparing service plans, estimating capital and operating costs, and assessing cost-effectiveness. This study applied the results of the transit preference survey in a Market Research Model prepared for the VTA and built the improved mode choice model that explicitly included the BRT mode in the VTA demand model. Instead of considering BRT the same as either LRT or local bus, the improved VTA model with an explicit BRT mode is expected to forecast more reasonable future BRT boardings. Eleven scenarios in the BRT strategic plan for Santa Clara County were developed using the BRT forecast results from the improved VTA model.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by the Journal of Public Transportation NCTR