Denver Leaders Take BRT Notes in Minneapolis

More cities are leaning into bus rapid transit, a faster, cheaper alternative to light rail-based rapid transit systems.

2 minute read

August 23, 2023, 7:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Nighttime view of bus stop in Denver, Colorado

A Regional Transportation District bus and rail station in Denver, Colorado. | Bernie Duhamel / Adobe Stock

Writing for Colorado Public Radio, Nathaniel Minor describes how the growing bus rapid transit (BRT)  system in Minneapolis is inspiring local leaders from Denver. Denver is planning its own BRT system, dubbed the Lynx, which could be operational by 2030.

Some notable characteristics of Minneapolis’s BRT system include full-fledged stations with floor-level boarding, ticket machines and validators, seating, and shelter. Stations are spaced farther apart than typical local bus lines to reduce travel times. “Those improvements, along with other infrastructure changes, including technology that gives buses priority at intersections, all combine to speed up BRT buses up to 25 percent over old local routes.”

Notably, the BRT lines don’t have full dedicated lanes throughout, in part due to cost and the resistance to removing vehicle travel lanes. “In Denver, much of the East Colfax BRT line will be much closer to a bona fide bus rapid transit system compared to the Twin Cities’ lines.”

In Minneapolis, ridership went up by more than 30 percent on the city’s first two arterial bus lines. “And while general transit ridership in Minneapolis–Saint Paul has suffered since the pandemic, ridership on Metro Transit’s arterial BRT lines have held relatively steady.”

“The Denver region’s turn toward buses comes after RTD has spent billions of dollars over the last two decades on rail lines,” Minor explains. The shift will focus more transit service on dense urban corridors and prioritize underserved areas.

Tuesday, August 22, 2023 in Colorado Public Radio

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