Organisational structures and functions in Bus Rapid Transit, and opportunities for private sector participation


Brendan Finn

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - bus rapid transit, organisation - contracting, organisation - regulation, organisation - structures


Bus Rapid Transit, Institutional frameworks, Organisational structures


Over the past two decades, Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) has become an established transportation technology, which delivers high quality, high capacity transit at much lower cost than rail-based modes. Although initially associated with South America, it is now global with a wide array of implementations in Asia, Africa, North America, Australia, and Europe.

In most cases, implementation of BRT challenges institutional, organisational, operational, ownership, procurement and financing structures. Private sector involvement occurs at multiple layers – operation of transport services, provision of support services, financing of assets. It is necessary to develop structures whereby the public interest is maintained while harnessing and incentivising private sector participation. To date, BRT systems have not been implemented by the private sector or through PPP mechanisms, although the investment finance required is an order of magnitude less than for rail systems, with far lower engineering and fiscal risk.

This paper reviews global BRT systems and their institutional and organisational diversity, and the participation opportunities and roles of the private sector. It sets out a framework of the BRT System Owner, BRT System Manager, and BRT Asset Owner(s) and the relationship among them. It presents a functional model of the foreground and background transportation, customer-facing and support services for BRT, and considers the contractual arrangements under which these services are provided. Throughout, it considers the opportunities, practice and challenges for private sector participation. The paper draws from case studies in South America, South Africa, UK and USA and emerging BRT schemes in Africa and Asia.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.


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