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.

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