Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)
Take our survey to show Chicago elected officials that you want BRT now!
We believe right now is the time to bring the conversation around Bus Rapid Transit back to center stage! Previous efforts to bring BRT to Chicago have failed because of a lack of political will and follow-through. Help us consolidate the voices of transit riders across our city by taking our survey. This will allow us to show elected officials that transit riders are a constituency they must pay attention to and that we want expanded public transit options now!
What is Bus Rapid Transit?
In many ways, Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) works less like a bus and more like a CTA train! A few key features of BRT:
- Off-board fare collection: Have you ever been on a bus when a long line of people is boarding? It can take a while! With off-board fare collection, fares are paid when entering the station, just like a train, so riders can board at any door and don't need to stop and pay!
- Dedicated lanes: Buses have their own protected lane so they are unaffected by traffic
- Fewer stops: Stops are placed every quarter to half mile
- Transit signal priority: Traffic signals are calibrated to turn green or stay green when a bus approaches
- Travel times: BRT approaches the efficiency of CTA rail with an average expected speed of 16 mph, compared to 21 mph on the Red Line. Travel times are anywhere from 35-50% shorter compared to regular buses, meaning a trip that takes 1 hour on a CTA bus could take as little as 30 minutes with BRT!
- Cost: BRT is often much, much cheaper to construct than subways or elevated rail lines, meaning multiple BRT lines can be constructed for the cost of one rail line
Doesn't Chicago already have Bus Rapid Transit?
The short answer: No! Infrastructure like the Loop Link and routes like the Jeffrey Jump are similar in intention to Bus Rapid Transit, but are light years away from true Bus Rapid Transit.
The Loop Link has a few features of Bus Rapid Transit, but not all.
The Loop Link's stations and raised platform boarding are great, but true BRT uses off-board fare collection so riders can board at any door, speeding up the boarding process!
With no physical infrastructure to prevent it, Loop Link dedicated bus lanes are constantly clogged with cars! True BRT uses concrete to separate car lanes and bus lanes to ensure buses are not affected by car traffic.
Jeffrey Jump (J14) express bus route has a few features of Bus Rapid Transit, but they have been implemented piecemeal which causes overall bus performance to still lag behind true BRT. True BRT would include ALL features for the entire length of the route.
Has dedicated bus lanes but only from 67th to 83rd
Has transit signal priority but only from 73rd to 84th
Learn more about specific Chicago-related BRT initiatives and reports!
Learn more about BRT in other cities!