Madison executives tout the economic benefits of BRT; critics say it could hurt downtown | Local government


According to a review of BRT systems conducted by urban transport planner Philip Gritzmacher, rapid bus transit can have a “strong positive impact on job resilience, overall use of the transit system and property value ”.

Gritzmacher has compiled the results of studies evaluating systems in cities like Eugene, Oregon; Charlotte, North Carolina; Seattle and Pittsburgh, among others.

BRT can also stimulate development in a transit corridor, according to Gritzmacher’s note, but the systems must be located in corridors conducive to high-density redevelopment.

Access to housing, employment, leisure, shops and other amenities is essential to the success of the project. The benefits could include “strong job growth, redevelopment, high ridership or any other combination,” the note said.

According to Gritzmacher, BRT systems should also keep best practices in mind – short journeys, express and dedicated lanes, buses and stations. Systems with these characteristics, including the Madison plan, are classified as “heavy BRT”.

Any “decrease” must be carefully considered, Gritzmacher wrote, because “compromising elements of the system could reduce the corresponding economic benefits.”

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