Bus Rapid Transit Toolbox Research
Caltrans recently adopted a policy supporting the implementation of BRT. Faced with this policy, the Department's engineers and planners are concerned about the perceived adverse impacts associated with the implementation of BRT strategies, such as converting a mixed-flow lane to a dedicated BRT lane, converting the shoulder or parking to a dedicated BRT lane, Transit Signal Priority (TSP), among other real world implementation issues. In particular the BRT strategy of operating buses on a dedicated lane presents critical operational issues and projects that may degrade vehicle operational levels are not approved. A dedicated BRT lane requires existing vehicle traffic in the lane to integrate into the remaining mixed-flow travel lanes or alternate parallel routes.
The Department's engineers and planners do not have the experience or tools to adequately assess the feasibility of operating proposed BRT projects on the State Highway System within the existing mixed flow traffic or in dedicated lanes, or to determine what congestion level is acceptable in the remaining lanes. There is a lack of information available about existing BRT systems concerning: 1) the traffic impacts of converting an existing travel lane into a dedicated BRT lane; 2) the accuracy of projected forecasting; 3) the accuracy of projected ridership; 4) the accuracy of projected modal shifts; 5) the viability of parallel route diversion; and 6) the analysis of all other alternatives.