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This implementation playbook outlines critical steps and decision points to implement a bus rapid transit (BRT) corridor in Massachusetts between the cities of Everett and Boston. Included are data-rich insights into specific on-the-ground conditions and illustrations of creative bus priority improvements in Everett along a potential Everett-to-Boston BRT corridor. The playbook highlights how the City of Everett, in collaboration with Boston, as well as state agencies and other adjacent municipalities can continue to be a municipal leader in transit innovation.Everett, Massachusetts is a diverse, vibrant community of 40,000 bordering Boston that, despite a critical lack of transit-specific infrastructure, has become a regional and national leader in transit-oriented development and bus-based transit innovation. It was a pioneer in installing peak-hour bus lanes at a time when other cities were worried about whether such lanes would be feasible and has continued to demonstrate the benefits of planning that prioritizes people over vehicles.Lessons in the playbook, especially around trade-offs, show how Everett and other communities in greater Boston can improve the bus rider experience. Each of Everett's transit-priority interventions has brought the city closer to a full-fledged BRT corridor. Conditions in Everett—with narrow roadways, complex traffic patterns and nearly a dozen bus routes—have posed challenges to implementing a full bus rapid transit system. BRT improves accessibility, equitability, and legibility, making the bus transit experience more time-efficient and easier to use and understand. Many creative solutions have brought and will continue to bring the city and region closer to this goal.While the playbook is focused on getting to BRT in and between Everett and Boston, it offers many lessons that are applicable to cities across the nation who are looking to build BRT across municipal lines and on roadways with limited width.
While momentum in recent decades has elevated bus rapid transit (BRT) as more than an emerging mode in the U.S., this high-capacity, high-quality bus-based mass transit system remains largely unfamiliar to most Americans. In the U.S., lack of clarity and confusion around what constitutes BRT stems both from its relatively low profile (most Americans have never experienced BRT) and its vague and often conflicting sets of definitions across cities, sectors, and levels of government. As a result, many projects that would otherwise be labeled as bus improvements or bus priority under international standards have become branded in American cities as BRT. This leads to misperceptions among U.S. decisionmakers and the public about what to expect from BRT. Since its inception in Curitiba, Brazil, BRT has become a fixture of urban transport systems in more than 70 cities on six continents throughout the globe. Just twelve BRT corridors exist in the United States so far.This guide offers proven strategies and insights for successfully implementing BRT within the political, regulatory, and social context that is unique to the United States. This guide seeks to illuminate the upward trends and innovations of BRT in U.S. cities. Through three in-depth case studies and other examples, the guide shares the critical lessons learned by several cities that have successfully implemented, or are in the midst of completing, their own BRT corridors. Distinct from previous BRT planning and implementation guides, this is a practical resource to help planners, and policy makers specifically working within the U.S. push beyond the parameters of bus priority and realize the comprehensive benefits of true BRT.
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