The University of Utah
College of Architecture + Planning

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Outcomes

Bus rapid transit (BRT) is poised to become the “next big thing” in public transit. From virtually no systems a generation ago, there are now 19 lines operating with at least seven under construction and more than 20 in the planning stages. BRT is gaining popularity because of its combination of low capital cost and potential for high levels of benefits. But are BRT systems effective in attracting development?

To answer this and many more trending BRT questions, the Metropolitan Research Center is pursuing multiple studies using data from the United States Census Bureau, Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics, and CoStar data in a quasi-experimental compare-and-contrast research design to compare jobs, population and households, and housing units before and after BRT station construction relative to control stations and the stations’ metropolitan context.

The final products of the MRC’s research include case studies of each BRT and meta-assessments of whether and to what extent do BRT systems attract development. Some of the studies answer the following questions: What are the effects of BRT on sectoral employment change in the United States? How does BRT affect housing location affordability? What is the relationship between BRT and its surrounding area’s wage-related job change? Does the type of BRT system technology make a difference in economic development outcomes? These answers can provide MPOs with information to aid in the decision-making process in terms of economic development and transportation planning options.

Funding: This research is funded by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities and the following partners: Utah Transit Authority, Portland Metro, Tri Met, Lane County Transit, Washoe MPO, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), City of Provo, and Transportation for America (a subsidiary of Smart Growth America). In addition, the National Bus Rapid Transit Institute (NBRTI) at the University of South Florida’s Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) will be a key non-match partner as they will be using federal funds to help with our research design and analysis.


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