Designing the Modern Multimodal Urban Arterial: Case Study of the Webster Avenue Bus Rapid Transit Project

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - bus, mode - bus rapid transit, infrastructure - busway, land use - planning, land use - impacts, place - north america, place - urban, planning - safety/accidents, planning - service improvement, operations - coordination, land use - urban design


mobility, accessibility, public transit, pedestrian, bus rapid transit (BRT)


AASHTO’s functional classification system specifies that arterials should be designed to provide high mobility and low access; however, this narrow view does not fully represent the vitality of many urban streets, which need to maintain high access and high mobility across a variety of modes. Webster Avenue (US-1) in the Bronx, New York City, was an arterial that was focused on providing vehicular mobility but did not support the mobility and accessibility goals of public transit users and pedestrians. This paper describes results of the multimodal redesign of Webster Avenue by the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s New York City Transit (NYCT) as part of implementing bus rapid transit (BRT) in the corridor. The new arterial street design improves the organization of traffic: buses, which make frequent stops, now travel exclusively in the right travel lane, while general traffic is able to use the left travel lane. Key project results include a 19% to 23% improvement in bus speeds for the new BRT–select bus service route (compared with the former limited-stop route), 11% to 16% improvement in local bus speeds, maintenance of traffic speeds and volumes, and significant pedestrian safety improvements along the corridor. These results were achieved through extensive outreach and coordination with community stakeholders, careful use of different priority treatments on different parts of the corridor, and the strong working partnership between the New York City DOT and NYCT.


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