Impact of Bus Rapid Transit Construction and Infrastructure on Traffic Safety: A Case Study From Albuquerque, New Mexico

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - urban, place - north america, mode - bus rapid transit, planning - safety/accidents, land use - impacts


Bus rapid transit (BRT), traffic safety, vulnerable road users


Bus rapid transit (BRT) systems are becoming increasingly popular, yet their interaction with traffic safety in the United States has not been fully explored. How do BRT systems affect traffic safety, specifically for vulnerable road users such as pedestrians? Albuquerque, New Mexico recently installed the Albuquerque Rapid Transit (ART) system, a BRT system running along Central Avenue, a main east/west corridor through the city. Using collision data and volume counts for three snapshots in time (before, during, and after construction of the BRT), we analyzed the safety outcomes (all collisions and fatal/serious injury collisions) for all road users and pedestrians. We compared outcomes from the ART corridor to outcomes on alternative routes, on control segments of Central Avenue (those that did not see ART construction), and across the city. Collision counts saw the strongest decreases from before to after on the ART corridor (−8.2%). These benefits were more marked for fatal and serious injury collisions, with those collisions decreasing by 64.9% on ART (compared with a 5.7% decrease on control segments). Although vehicle volumes decreased an average of 28.6% after construction on Central Avenue, per-vehicle rates of fatal and serious collisions still decreased 57.1%. These results indicate that ART made the corridor safer overall (fewer total collisions), and while the risk to individual drivers increased, an individual’s chance of being fatally or seriously injured decreased significantly (−57.1%). Findings suggest that BRT systems can play an important role in the pursuit of a safe, healthy, and efficient transportation system.


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