Saturday, January 19, 2013

How will Alexandria's BRT fare?

In a post on Greater, Greater Washington, Dan Malouff discusses what's been called "BRT Creep" (The US has only 5 true BRT systems, and none are "gold" - Greater Greater Washington). That's the term some streetcar enthusiasts use to explain their reasoning for preferring rail over wheels transport. Dan writes:
"The same community leaders who choose BRT over rail, because BRT is cheaper, then make the same choice when faced with other potential cost-cutting measures. They eliminate the most expensive features, until the gold standard that was promised isn't actually what's delivered."
He points to a study by the Institute for Transportation & Development Policy (ITDP), that reviewed all of the existing BRT projects in the US. Dan points out:
"When new bus rapid transit lines are discussed, proponents often say they hope to make the routes gold standard, meaning so high-quality that they mimic many features of rail. That's a high bar; most BRT projects in the United States don't even qualify as true BRT, and so far not one has actually met the gold standard....So far, only 5 lines in the United States have scored highly enough to qualify as true BRT, and all 5 rank at the bronze level. Not one is even silver, let alone gold."
This begs the question, how well rated is the The Crystal City/Potomac Yard Transit Improvement project currently under construction along Route 1? Or at least the Alexandria portion of it?

We discussed this project before on the Arlandrian: Alexandria Has Some Catching Up To Do. Route 1 Would Be a Good Start. and Alexandria's Update on Route 1 Bus Rapid Transit Plans. And there's a great discussion of it in the City's presentation from last Spring. But we haven't looked at how this project might compare to rail. What level of BRT will we be getting? Gold, Silver or Bronze. Or does the project even meet the ITDP criteria for BRT at all?

Well, ITDP has a handy scoring sheet. Who's up for rating the CCPY BRT?

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