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The Source for Public Transportation News and Analysis April 6, 2012
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New Database Gives Global Perspective on BRT

Three global organizations have teamed up to launch a comprehensive, public database of bus rapid transit (BRT) systems around the world. The organizations are EMBARQ, the World Resources Institute’s center for sustainable transport; the Across Latitudes and Cultures-Bus Rapid Transit Centre of Excellence (ALC-BRT CoE); and the International Energy Agency (IEA).

The new website allows users to compare BRT systems and bus corridors in 134 cities in 36 countries around the world, which together provide 22 million daily passenger trips. The database includes 95 different indicators on system operations, design, and cost, including such metrics as number of passengers per day, commercial speed, and length of corridors.

“The new website provides reliable and up-to-date data to help researchers, transit agencies, city officials, and NGOs [non-governmental organizations] understand and make better decisions to improve BRT and bus corridors in their cities,” said Dario Hidalgo, director of research and practice, EMBARQ. “This is the first time that all of this publicly available data has been compiled in one place, but there is still more information available. We invite transit agencies and researchers to help us improve the knowledge base by sharing additional data to fill in the gaps.”

The three partners created this online database through a joint data-sharing effort: EMBARQ and ALC-BRT CoE collected data mostly from Latin America, while IEA contributed data from other regions.

Here are a few examples of the data available:

* Systems in 13 U.S. cities together carry nearly 600,000 passenger trips each day;

* Since 2000, 129 new BRT corridors have been implemented worldwide, and another 37 since 2010;

* Latin American systems move more than 50 percent of global BRT daily passenger trips;

* 25 Brazilian cities have 87 bus corridors, totaling more than 560 kilometers [348 miles]—more than any other country; and

* 18 of Asia’s 24 BRT systems began operations since 2006.

“Previously, there was no single point of publicly accessible information about the worldwide BRT industry, and it was especially difficult to get an assessment of the industry’s size and how it was changing over time,” said ALC-BRT CoE Director Juan Carlos Munoz. “We finally have the right tools to set standards for this dynamic industry.”

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