Designing Bus Rapid Transit Facilities for Constrained Urban Arterials Case Study of the Selection Process for the Webster Avenue Bus Rapid Transit Running Way Design in New York City

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

infrastructure - bus/tram lane, mode - bus rapid transit, place - north america, place - urban, planning - safety/accidents, planning - service quality


Bus Rapid Transit, Pedestrian Activity, Traffic Flow, On street parking, Safety


Providing bus rapid transit (BRT) service on urban arterials can be a challenge for transportation agencies as they try to provide transit benefits within an existing street infrastructure. Projects must deliver high-quality transit service while supporting other needs, such as pedestrian activity, traffic flow, on-street parking, and crash safety. Transportation agencies must make trade-offs in designs to achieve a project's goals without miring the early project planning in costs and delays. This paper describes the selection by the New York City Department of Transportation and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority New York City Transit of the most appropriate on-street BRT running way design for Webster Avenue (US-1), a key north-south arterial in the central Bronx. The selection was based on a balanced, multimodal set of criteria. Three BRT running way alternatives—curbside, offset, and median bus lanes—were considered for Webster Avenue's 70-ft-wide right-of-way during the screening process. The four primary screening categories were transit operations, traffic operations, on-street parking and delivery curb space supply, and pedestrian benefits. Each design alternative was evaluated at two sample intersections that represented typical corridor conditions, and the results were expanded for a complete corridor evaluation. The evaluation found that the offset bus lane most effectively balanced the transit and traffic needs along the Webster Avenue corridor while maintaining on-street parking and supporting pedestrian activity; thus, it is the preferred corridor design.


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