Comment 120275

By Haveacow (registered) | Posted October 14, 2016 at 10:00:04

One of the things that is generally glossed over by BRT supporters is evident in the BRT picture from Nantes France, chosen by the author of the article. Here in Ottawa we learned very quickly if your BRT system becomes anywhere near successful and or has some of its busiest stations located on a station site that has any physical limitations of any kind, then you have unintentionally limited your passenger carrying capacity. In that picture from France those buses can't move around slower buses or avoid buses that have stopped at stations. Thus, the built form of the busway can and often, dictate the type of busway operation chosen. This type of busway limits the bus through put and needs to maximize its very limited system capacity, as well as also limiting the travel options for passengers. Meaning there are very few choices of route and thus more transfers are necessary if the passengers need to go somewhere else beyond the limited route choices operating on the busway.

Regardless of the choice of Busway operation, as soon as your capacity runs out you have to spend a lot of money with BRT to upgrade the right of way, much more than you would, than a carefully thought out LRT system. BRT starts out as a cheap an easy less expensive construction option compared to that of LRT, quickly becomes a financial and or infrastructure based trap that, forces high operating costs and even higher BRT right of way upgrade costs. Again if the stations are located in physically limiting environments any capacity upgrade to a BRT system becomes, a massively complex expansion that not only requires greater amounts of money than LRT expansion but requiring considerably more space, especially right of way width.

BRT supporters who think painted lanes are a way to high capacity transit are also disappointed because once passengers levels exceed certain levels. Passenger levels by the way, not much higher than your current B-Line right of way passenger levels. Buses either have to either leave the bus lane and travel great distances in the general traffic lanes or sit backed up behind other buses. Thus, if a BRT system wants more than just the basic capacity offered by painted bus lanes, a physically segregated right of way similar to what you see in Nantes France, or with the VIVA BRT Rapidways in York Region North of Toronto become necessary. Higher capacity BRT systems require even more space and expensive infrastructure. Mississauga or Ottawa Transitways have 2 lane physically segregated rights of way, sometimes even grade separated, with 4 lane capacity at stations. Each lane by the way is 4 metres wide, the widest traffic lane you will ever see, this prevents mirror strike in non guided buses. Plus at least 2.5 metre shoulders for snow removal and water drainage. The stop over lane at the station is usually 3.5 to 4 metres wide as well, plus the full width station passing lane.

As Ottawa's Confederation LRT Line stations in the eastern segment approach completion and LRV testing begins soon (LRV testing has already started in the Yard), it is becoming easy to see that the new LRT right of way is considerably more marrow than the existing Transitway, especially at the stations. Many station design pictures show wide walking paths and possible gardens parallel to the LRT right of way, which was always commented on by a very skeptical public in Ottawa as "ya right, they will not have the space to do that at stations". Turns out that yes, LRT stations really don't require as much physical width as our old Transitway Stations did, so there is space for walking paths and gardens, assuming they don't get cut by the tense budget process the line is going through. The project is still on budget but they have blown through most of the contingency funds to clean up Rideau Street and deal with the fact that, many of the existing concrete retaining walls and bridges they were planning to reuse from the Transitways were in a lot worse shape than first thought.

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