Before the 90s, the Brazilian city of Curitiba was well on its way to a car-based transportation system. Today, roughly 70 percent of the city’s commuters use the city’s unique bus rapid transit (BRT) system instead, keeping the air in this hot, sticky metropolis clear and breathable.
BRT systems come in many forms, from bus lanes on major roadways and HOV lanes, to Ottawa’s Transit Way dedicated solely to buses. They include features like off-bus fare collection, increased frequency and capacity, and most importantly, buses are given the right-of-way.
By making improvements to existing infrastructure, vehicles and scheduling, BRTs are able to provide faster, more efficient service than an ordinary bus line, allowing riders to enjoy the quality and service of rail transit, with the cost savings and flexibility that bus transit offers.
Thanks to its speed, reliability and safety, Curitiba’s BRT was able to break the stereotype that buses are “low class,” successfully convincing almost of 30 percent of previous car drivers to switch to the BRT, reducing overall car trips by roughly 27 million a year.