2023 Could Be a Breakthrough Year for Buses

Funding bus rapid transit is the fastest and most cost-effective way to improve U.S. transit systems and bring transit within reach for more Americans.

1 minute read

December 28, 2022, 9:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Passengers line up to board a bus at a bus rapid transit station in Indianapolis.

Momoneymoproblemz / Wikimedia Commons

Writing in Curbed, Alissa Walker asserts that “To get the U.S. moving again, 2023 needs to be the year of the bus.” And it very well could be, if a bill introduced by Congresswoman Cori Bush passes.

The Bus Rapid Transit Act would allocate $12 billion per year for five years to BRT projects, funneling dollars directly to transit operations and helping cities invest in the design and construction of new BRT systems, including overhauls of current bus routes.

Bush also introduced an identical bill aimed at light rail, but, Walker points out, “the BRT program gives cities more flexibility and more options.” As an example, “Indianapolis, a city that doesn’t have a rail system, built its wildly popular 13-mile IndyGo BRT line in just a few years and at a fraction of what rail would have cost.”

Because not all U.S. cities have rail systems, and rail is vastly more expensive than bus infrastructure, BRT has the potential to transform transit systems and open up public transportation as a convenient and efficient option to more Americans. Plus, Walker writes, “More buses mean cleaner air, fewer emissions, and safer streets because cities with higher rates of transit ridership have lower rates of traffic deaths.”Ultimately, boosting BRT would benefit riders, transit agencies, traffic, and the environment.

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