The Energy Foundation
Promoting Bus Rapid Transit in China
We could not survive without transportation. In every country
in the world, economies and communities depend on transportation
to stay vibrant and growing. However, transportation has increasingly
meant roads and cars, and this trend has had a negative effect
on economies and communities. In China, where private vehicle
ownership is soaring, half of all public health problems from
air pollution are caused by the transport sector. Worker productivity
is decreasing as traffic congestion is increasing. More roads
lead to more cars and more problems. Light rail or subway systems
are cost prohibitive and require long construction times.
There is a better way. Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is a transportation
system that moves people with subway-like efficiency at 5% of
the cost of a subway. BRT systems are comprised of clean-powered
buses that move in dedicated bus lanes with special traffic
privileges. Efficient fare collection and innovative boarding
methods distinguish this system from traditional bus systems.
The BRT system in Curitiba, Brazil is one of the most heavily-used,
yet low-cost transit systems in the world. Nearly two-thirds
of the city’s population uses the BRT system daily. As
a result, Curitiba uses 30 percent less fuel per capita than
other cities in Brazil.