Assessing Bus Rapid Transit system performance in Australasia

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - australasia, mode - bus rapid transit, planning - service level, planning - integration, infrastructure - busway, infrastructure - right of way, infrastructure - stop, operations - reliability, ridership


Bus Rapid Transit, Transit performance, Transit ridership


This paper reviews the performance of Australasian BRT to identifying factors that can best improve performance. Between 2006 and 2013, Australasian BRT corridors increased from 4 to 10 while ridership tripled and now accounts for over 145 M boardings p.a. The Brisbane busway network dominates; it represents 70% of Australasian system ridership. Australasian BRT is characterised by a range of designs ranging from substantive busway infrastructure (e.g. Brisbane) to low order on-street BRT systems (Melbourne SmartBus). Analysis suggests both large-scale busways and the cheaper on-street BRT have characteristics which generate good ridership performance. Principle factors influencing ridership performance are high service levels, low speeds (although direction of causality is unclear), shorter stop spacing, segregated rights of way, modern accessible vehicles, lower fares, system integration and pre-boarding ticketing (the latter is not fully applied in Australasian BRT contexts). Operationally segregated rights of way act to improve BRT operating speeds and reliability compared to on-street BRT.

Evidence shows BRT ridership growth has outstripped non-BRT transit ridership changes in all cities studied. Although BRT ridership has grown at a higher rate than light rail/tram in Australia, it performs less effectively per route km and per vehicle km than light rail, primarily due to lower service levels.


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


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