Curitiba’s BRT: Inspired Bus Rapid Transit Around the World

Curitiba, Brazil first adopted its Master Plan in 1968. Since then,
it has become a city well known for inventive urban planning and
affordable (to the user and the city) public transportation.

Curitiba’s Bus Rapid Transit system is the source of inspiration for many other cities including the TransMilenio in Bogotá, Colombia; Metrovia in Guayaquil, Ecuador; as well as the Orange Line of Los Angeles.

This video illustrates how Curitiba’s public transportation system
operates and the urban planning and land use principles on which it is
based, including an interview with the former Mayor and architect Jaime
Lerner. Current city employees also discuss the improvements that are
being made to the system to keep it up to date and functioning at the
capacity of a typical subway system. Curitiba is currently
experimenting with adding bypassing lanes on the dedicated BRT routes
and smart traffic lights to prioritize buses. They are even
constructing a new line which will have a linear park and 18km of bike
lane that parallels the bus transit route.

  • Reasons this is not a feasible design running down Pico and Olympic instead of this ridiculous “one-way” scheme:

    -Engineers at LADOT getting bribed by a combination of the AAA, automakers, and oligarchs looking to buy real estate in the area on the cheap in a few years;

    -Rita Robinson too focused on getting her pedestrian kill quota taken care of before the 2009-10 budget negotiations begin;

    -Billions on subways vs. millions for buses makes concrete contractors angry;

    -This would actually make things better – and that is bad for exurban commercial/real estate interests that fund our politicians’ campaigns.

  • Curitiba’s “super buses” used dedicated right-of-ways a la the Orange Line. That alone makes the concept not viable for Pico/Olympic.

    Year ago when Robert Scheer was a columnist for the L.A. Times he had a piece extolling the Curitiba system. And got e-mails from Brazil, Curitiba residents who use the service voicing complaints–rough rides, crazy drivers, crowded buses. You notice it is technocrats and experts who gush over this. When the people who use it had a chance to be heard, Scheer heard of the downside we policy wonks had been hearing whispered about for years.

    Plus to make it work Curitiba densified the corridors it runs along. Imagine trying to do that in our NIMBY political atmosphere.

  • I’ve heard Mayor Penalosa speak before and he did a wonderful thing for Curtiba. The NIMBY’s in Curtiba fought this system. In particular, the small number of wealthy residents resented giving up parking spaces right in front of the stores they shopped at.

    This will never work in Los Angeles by itself without some rail as well. The NIMBYs and automotive-entitled will never give up the lanes of traffic and parking spaces necessary to implement this across the city.

    It would be interesting to see what right-of-ways Metro still owns where this could be implemented in part. For example, what about running the 4/704/14/16/316 buses in Beverly Hills on the ROW after rebuilding the parking structures? That ROW is currently unused since the Santa Monica Blvd. line will shoot down to the Beverly Center instead of straight down Santa Monica.

    I’d love to see streetcars all over town running on transit-only lanes which also allow buses. But that’s another issue.

    As it is, the Orange Line is at capacity now, and just watch what happens when those Wilshire Bus Only lanes go into effect (assuming they ever do).

    I support the idea, but the political firestorm before, during and after implementation will be fierce – especially when motorists in their single-occupancy vehicles are sitting in traffic longer, resenting the bus-only lanes, and the rapid buses weaving in and out of those lanes into the remaining non-bus-only lanes in order to pass local buses. The prior Bus-only lanes in Brentwood lasted all of 30 minutes it seems.

  • So, it is impossible to build a bus right-of-way in the middle of Pico and Olympic?

    Wow. I thought this was the land of big dreams. I’d better scale mine back some. Who’d have thought that a low curb, and the removal of two travel lanes for buses would be impossible in L.A.?

  • I retract my comment above. Too much smart ass-iness, even for me.

  • Martinez

    Curitiba bus system has been working very well for many years, but today with the city growth this system has reached to the limit. Now the city is planning to build the first subway line as you can read on the article below. Construction shall start by 2010.
    http://grieve-smith.com/transportation//blog1.php/2009/03/22/pt-project-to-transform-busways

  • That’s great, Martinez! Thanks for posting the article. Maybe one day we’ll see something similar happen with the orange line. . .

  • We would have none of this without concrete. http://www.srmconcrete.com . This company goes above and beyond.

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