The above video comes from MARTA, the agency that runs mass transit in the Atlanta metropolitan area, and is a brief look at the latest bus rapid transit project to hit the streets in the United States. The big to-do on the Q Line is the ability for buses to hold green lights and in a couple of spots, use a right-hand lane and traffic signals to jump ahead of traffic.
Here’s a description on MARTA’s website and here’s a story about the project in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. And, here’s a good post at the City Fix blog critiquing the newspaper’s coverage. The gist of the criticism is that the paper failed to explain to readers that building a separate lane for buses doesn’t have to cost a king’s ransom — politicians can make the decision, however politically distasteful, to convert traffic lanes to transit lanes.
Attentive readers will recall that Federal Transit Administrator chief Peter Rogoff gave a much-publicized speech last spring in which he promoted bus rapid transit as a viable and sometimes financially preferable alternative to building rail. I expect we’ll be seeing more of these type of projects in the U.S. given the limited dollars for transit projects at most levels of government.
Of course, bus rapid transit can take many forms. Metro’s Orange Line, for example, is a bus lane that often has its own right-of-way, much like railroad tracks. Metro is also planning a rush-hour bus lane along 8.7 miles of the parking lane on Wilshire Boulevard, mostly in the city of Los Angeles.
The East San Fernando Valley North-South Transit Corridors project — which will be funded by Measure R — may include elements of BRT on four bus corridors — Reseda Boulevard, Sepulveda Boulevard, Van Nuys Boulevard and Lankershim/San Fernando boulevards.