What Is BRT?

BRT stands for Bus Rapid Transit. But what exactly is that? How is BRT different from standard bus service? There are many different BRT systems, serving different kinds of communities in different ways. In fact, no two BRT systems are alike. But, in general, when people talk about BRT, they talking about creating a bus system that’s faster, more reliable, more flexible, more convenient… a system that’s more attractive to more people.

BRT combines the efficiency of trains with the flexibility of buses by using a combination of technologies and strategies that enable BRT vehicles to travel faster, cleaner, and more reliably than standard buses.

BRT service would allow transit vehicles to avoid traffic congestion by having priority passage at traffic signals, collect passenger fares electronically, provide real-time travel information for riders, and improve coordination with other transit modes. These and other BRT service features would provide a better travel experience for transit customers.

A modern, efficient BRT system can yield many benefits—benefits we would like the people who live in and visit Bergen County to enjoy. These include:

  • Faster, more reliable travel
  • Improved access to jobs, schools, shopping, and recreation
  • Economic development of the local economy
  • Attractive alternatives to driving
  • Reduced traffic congestion
  • Creation of more livable, sustainable communities by using cleaner fuel

Features of BRT

What makes BRT so attractive? Different systems use different techniques. Here are some of the most popular features:

  • More frequent service and limited stops. BRT can provide direct service to major destinations within Bergen County and offer connections outside of the County. BRT vehicles may make stops along a route at fewer locations to provide more express travel time for the majority of the route’s passengers.
  • Exclusive bus lanes, queue jumps at intersections, and other approaches that enable buses to consistently travel at posted speed limits. BRT explores different roadway treatments that can help to maintain a reliable schedule.
  • Improved fare payment technology, including ways to pay before you board. BRT can offer rider-friendly options for off-board ticket purchase to reduce the time it takes passengers to board.
  • Traffic signal priority that adjusts traffic lights to keep buses moving. BRT has the capacity to be connected to the traffic signal system in order to keep you moving.
  • Advanced buses that may be larger, easier to get on and off, and use cleaner fuels. BRT often uses new buses that make the system more comfortable, more sustainable, and more identifiable.
  • Enhanced and more customer-friendly bus stations. BRT is a flexible transportation system that strives to provide riders with more comfortable passenger shelters and bus stations that provide additional amenities.
  • Real-time travel information for waiting riders. BRT passengers may be able to obtain information about arrival and departure times, whether available at the station or accessible to riders through the Web or on cell phones.

As such, the Bergen County BRT will strive to:

  • Be an attractive new bus service that builds on the transit systems and roads we already have.
  • Be cost-effective.
  • Serve activity centers and areas with high employment, making it easier for thousands of people to get to work and to other destinations.
  • Promote the economic development we all need; and
  • Make Bergen County an even better place to live.