WEEKEND EDITION

How Bus Rapid Transit Will Transform City Transportation

| February 19, 2014 12:28 PMvideo

Can buses be a solution to both economic and transportation problems?  “It is absolutely critical for New York,” said Rockefeller Foundation President Judith Rodin.

The Rockefeller Foundation is proposing BRT – Bus Rapid Transit – high performing bus routes with dedicated lanes, limited stops and dedicated traffic lights. BRT was a successful short-term answer in the days after Superstorm Sandy shut down mass transit in New York. Dedicated buses ran on express lanes and transported commuters across some of the city’s bridges. BRT is also currently in use in “pilot lanes” on 1st and 2nd Avenues in Manhattan.

About 750,000 New Yorkers commute more than one hour a day using public transportation.  Though Rodin praises the city’s subway system, she says subways don’t serve outer boroughs equally efficiently,  further affecting already disadvantaged residents.

“It’s built more quickly, you don’t have to go underground, it’s far cheaper,” said Rodin, pointing out that it would also be good for the economy and housing prices. “Housing always comes where the best transit is. Having BRT, having these dedicated lanes, improving access in this way would really be a way to take some of the pressure off our housing crisis.”

The Rockefeller Foundation was started by John D. Rockefeller in 1913 and is one of America’s oldest private foundations. Improving transportation and infrastructure are key goals for the Foundation. “We think transportation is, at its heart, about equity,” Rodin said.

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