Buses with High Level of Service in Nantes, France: Characteristics and Results of the BusWay Compared with Light Rail Transit

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

infrastructure - busway, infrastructure - vehicle, mode - bus, mode - bus rapid transit, mode - tram/light rail, operations - frequency, operations - reliability, place - europe, ridership - demand, planning - service level


bus with high level of service (BHLS), infrastructure, vehicles, design of transit service operations, complementary facilities and services, branding, level of service


This study identified and analyzed the reasons that have led the BusWay of Nantes, France, to be one of the most, if not the most outstanding and successful case of setting up a bus with high level of service (BHLS) system in European cities. The lessons and the conclusions from the study may be applicable to and useful for other sites with similar conditions. The analysis examined the measures that were implemented (infrastructure, vehicles, design of transit service operations, complementary facilities and services, and branding) and the results (level of service in frequencies and operating speed, reliability of schedules, ridership, and traffic safety). Furthermore, as BHLS and light rail transit (LRT) are integrated in the same level of the trunk network in Nantes, the city provided a relatively level playing field to develop an equitable comparison of the two systems. Through the case study of Nantes, the study found that the BHLS system was suitable for meeting demand volumes in the range from 1,000 to 2,500 passengers per hour in one of both directions during peak hours with a level and quality of service very near the LRT, but with more moderate investment costs and higher flexibility.


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