The potential of a bus rapid transit / buses with high level of service system in metro Atlanta: A suitability and feasibility study
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The Atlanta Metropolitan Area has been long suffering from traffic congestion, and the ongoing population growth will exacerbate the situation. On the other hand, over half of current transit riders are people from lower-income households and there is a growing senior population more than likely to rely on transit over the next two decades. One way to mitigate congestion and support transit dependent riders at the same time is to promote transit service. Enhanced bus service systems including Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and Buses with High Level of Service (BHLS) have been gaining popularity across the world, especially in South and East Asia, Latin America, and Europe. While there are also many BRT systems in the United States, only a few of them actually meet the world standards for providing a dedicated bus lane. Even so, case studies show that there are viable alternatives for implementing successful enhanced transit service: • Choosing population-activity concentrated corridor; • Adopting variations of exclusive right-of-way; • Providing long span and high frequency service; and • Using off-board fare collection, among others. Just like the benchmark cases, Metro Atlanta also has corridors with high population density, activity centers, relatively simple straight alignment, but that are currently underserved by bus service. If all the transit agencies, the Georgia Department of Transportation, and City of Atlanta, could work closely with the public to establish an enhanced bus transit system, traffic conditions in Metro Atlanta would be greatly improved.