Institute for Transportation and Development Policy Releases BRT Standard 2013

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Common definition, best practices create new tool for cities planning bus rapid transit systems and help ensure world-class passenger experiences as gold, silver and bronze certifications are awarded to cities worldwide.

“From Mexico City to Guangzhou, and from Cleveland to Las Vegas, Bus Rapid Transit has helped revitalize city centers, speed commutes and improve air quality. The BRT Standard 2013 will clearly define what a BRT is once and for all."

The Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) today released the first comprehensive BRT Standard, a defining and scoring designation for bus rapid transit (BRT) systems around the world. Similar to the LEED designation for green buildings, BRT corridors may achieve a basic BRT, bronze, silver or gold designation. As a joint effort by the world’s foremost experts in bus rapid transit design, The BRT Standard scored 50 corridors in 35 cities. Of these, 16 classified as bronze, 20 as silver and 12 as gold. (See attached list of cities.)

Funded by The Rockefeller Foundation, The BRT Standard is the centerpiece of a global effort by leaders in BRT design to establish a common definition for bus rapid transit and to ensure that BRT systems more uniformly deliver world-class passenger experiences, significant economic benefits, and positive environmental impacts.

“Despite the increasing prevalence, prominence and success of BRT systems, many people remain unaware of the characteristics of the best BRT systems and their potential to provide levels of service typically associated with metro and subway systems,” said ITDP CEO Walter Hook. “From Mexico City to Guangzhou, and from Cleveland to Las Vegas, BRT has helped revitalize city centers, speed commutes and improve air quality. The BRT Standard 2013 will clearly define what a BRT is once and for all and our hope is that it encourages cities to adopt this cutting-edge form of mass transit.”

“The BRT Standard is important for two reasons. First, it provides cities that are considering BRT with a very straightforward ‘how-to’ guide to ensure a high-quality system, using a blueprint that can be understood by anyone, from engineers to elected officials to local residents,” said Benjamin de la Peña, Associate Director at The Rockefeller Foundation. “Second, the BRT Standard demonstrates how BRT, when built to a high standard, can do much more than moving people from A to B quickly and comfortably. Best-in-class BRT can improve people’s quality of life, produce economic development and jobs, and ultimately help to make entire cities more livable.”

The BRT Standard functions as both a scoring system and a planning tool. By laying out the essential elements of BRT, it provides a framework for system designers, decision makers, and the transport community to identify and implement top-quality BRT systems. The BRT Standard celebrates cities that are leading the way on BRT excellence, and offers best practice-based guidance to those in the process of planning a BRT system.

The BRT Standard scores more than 30 elements of BRT corridor design, with points awarded for elements that most significantly improve operational performance. They include:

BRT Basics, e.g. median-aligned busways, dedicated right of way, platform-level boarding, off-board fare collection, and intersection treatments that allow buses to travel more freely through intersections in order to improve speed of transit.

Service Planning, e.g. multiple routes running on the corridor and longer hours of operation to expand access to BRT as a popular mode of transit.

Infrastructure, e.g. passing lanes at stations, high-quality pavement, and minimized bus emissions to reduce environmental impacts.

Station Design, e.g. wide, weather-protected stations that are more attractive and comfortable to commuters, and multiple doors on buses for faster boarding.

Quality of Information, e.g. cohesive branding and real-time passenger information to enhance BRT system recognition and ease of use.

Integration and Access, e.g. disability access, integration with other public transport, and bicycle-sharing integration to increase overall usability.

For complete scorecards and a breakdown of categories, please visit

Two committees govern The BRT Standard: The Technical Committee and the Institutional Endorsers. ITDP convenes both committees. The Technical Committee comprises globally renowned experts on BRT. This committee serves as a consistent source of sound technical advice with respect to BRT, and is the basis for establishing the credibility of The BRT Standard and related international best practices.

The 2013 BRT Standard Technical Committee members include:

Manfred Breithaupt, GIZ; Wagner Colombini Martins, Logit Consultoria; Paulo Custodio, Consultant; Walter Hook, ITDP; Colleen McCaul, Consultant; Gerhard Menckhoff, World Bank; Carlos Felipe Pardo, Slow Research; Scott Rutherford, University of Washington; Pedro Szasz, Consultant; Lloyd Wright, Asian Development Bank

The Institutional Endorsers are an integrated group of highly respected institutions in the fields of city-building, public transport systems and climate change, with decision-making abilities over The BRT Standard certification process.

The 2013 Institutional Endorsers of The BRT Standard include:

Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (convener); ClimateWorks Foundation; Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ); The Rockefeller Foundation; International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT)

About the Institue for Transportation and Development Policy

ITDP is a global nonprofit that helps cities design and implement high-quality transit systems to make communities more livable, competitive and sustainable. The Institute for Transportation and Development Policy works with cities worldwide to bring about transport solutions that cut greenhouse gas emissions, reduce poverty, and improve the quality of urban life. Please visit for more information.

About the Rockefeller Foundation

The Rockefeller Foundation aims to achieve equitable growth by expanding opportunity for more people in more places worldwide, and to build resilience by helping them prepare for, withstand, and emerge stronger from acute shocks and chronic stresses. Throughout its 100 year history, The Rockefeller Foundation has enhanced the impact of innovative thinkers and actors working to change the world by providing the resources, networks, convening power, and technologies to move them from idea to impact. In today’s dynamic and interconnected world, The Rockefeller Foundation has a unique ability to address the emerging challenges facing humankind through innovation, intervention and influence in order to shape agendas and inform decision-making. Please visit for more information.

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Iva Benson
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