Quality Bus Rapid Transit Drives Systemwide Ridership Improvements in Richmond, VA

Richmond, Virginia has achieved a big ridership bump, without a big investment.

1 minute read

January 11, 2019, 9:00 AM PST

By Casey Brazeal @northandclark


Virginia

f11photo / Shutterstock

Since a system redesign and adding new bus rapid transit (BRT) route, ridership has climbed 21 percent in the city of Richmond, Virginia. Meanwhile, ridership is falling in many U.S. cities, especially on buses. The Greater Richmond Transit Company system achieved these ridership improvements with a modest increase to its annual budget, some county and city capital funds, and a TIGER grant from the federal government. The most important change was the opening of its new seven-mile Bus Rapid Transit line, "The Pulse," which includes three miles of dedicated lanes and many of the features that make BRT faster than conventional bus service," Angie Schmitt reports for Streetsblog USA.

With less than a quarter of a million people, the city shows how medium-sized communities can use strategic investments to make big transit improvements. In Richmond's case, the addition of BRT was coupled with a redesign of the bus routes. "The new routes offer increased service frequency on five lines. The redesign, which does require riders to transfer more frequently, was cost-neutral for the agency," Schmitt writes. While riders sometimes push back against these types of route redesigns, not wishing to switch buses, the rework has been popular so far.

Monday, January 7, 2019 in Streetsblog

Large blank mall building with only two cars in large parking lot.

Pennsylvania Mall Conversion Bill Passes House

If passed, the bill would promote the adaptive reuse of defunct commercial buildings.

April 18, 2024 - Central Penn Business Journal

Street scene in Greenwich Village, New York City with people walking through busy intersection and new WTC tower in background.

Planning for Accessibility: Proximity is More Important than Mobility

Accessibility-based planning minimizes the distance that people must travel to reach desired services and activities. Measured this way, increased density can provide more total benefits than increased speeds.

April 14, 2024 - Todd Litman

Wood-frame two-story rowhouses under construction.

Fair Housing Cannot Take a Back Seat to ‘Build, Baby, Build’

If we overlook fair housing principles in the plan to build US housing back better, we risk ending up right back where we started.

April 11, 2024 - James Jennings

"No 710" lawn sign on green lawn.

LA Metro Board Approves New 710 Freeway Plan

The newest plan for the 710 corridor claims it will not displace any residents.

5 hours ago - Streetsblog LA

Close-up of row of electric cars plugged into chargers at outdoor station.

Austin’s Proposed EV Charging Rules Regulate Station Locations, Size

City planners say the new rules would ensure an efficient distribution of charging infrastructure across the city and prevent an overconcentration in residential areas.

6 hours ago - Austin Monitor

Green hills with orange California poppies in bloom in foreground in Chino Hills State Park, California.

Making California State Parks More Climate-Resilient

A recently released report offers recommendations for keeping state parks healthy and robust, including acquiring additional land for conservation and recreation.

7 hours ago - Spectrum News 1

News from HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Call for Speakers

Mpact Transit + Community

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.