Bus rapid transit systems as a governance reform project

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - africa, mode - bus rapid transit, organisation - governance


Reforms, Bus rapid transit, Governance, Regime


Bus Rapid Transit systems exist in over 206 cities and 45 countries around the world. They are seen to provide a much lower cost option of mass mobility than fixed rail or underground systems which developing countries struggle to afford. Whilst BRT systems have undoubtedly been seen to be successful from a transport system perspective, they are more than a transport system innovation. They are often introduced to replace what is seen to be a failing, unsafe and poorly regulated informal transit system. This paper therefore focuses on the process of BRT introduction as a governance reform. The paper draws on African experience where adoption of BRT has been slow relative to South America and South East Asia. Using an in-depth analysis of the introduction of a new system in Ghana and data on levels of governance maturity across the African sub-continent, the paper finds that to understand BRT implementation requires an understanding of how the incumbent transport regime could and will be able to be reorganized. The success of BRT systems that result will depend at least as much on how the reforms are achieved as it will on the usual design concerns which typically occupy transport planners.


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


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