What is BRT?

Bus Rapid Transit, or BRT, is an easy-to-use transit system

BRT provides fast, frequent transit service along major corridors using special buses to provide a smooth, comfortable travel experience. Perhaps more importantly, however, is the transformative effect BRT can have on the communities it serves. Learn more.

In Pittsburgh, BRT would likely include:

  • Exclusive bus lanes or queue jump lanes that allow buses to bypass traffic at stopped intersections.
  • Traffic signal priority for buses at intersections to extend the green light phase and reduce travel time.
  • Real-time transit information via station message boards or accessible from smart phones, eliminating uncertainty about when the bus will arrive.
  • Fare collection at the platform (“offboard”) to reduce time at bus stops.
  • Low-floor buses with additional doors to reduce load/unload times at stops.
  • Specially-branded vehicles, stops, stations, signage and information to set BRT routes apart from the rest of the transit system.
  • Stylish, comfortable vehicles with a railcar-like appearance to appeal to riders.
  • Amenities at the bus stops including weather protection, heating, bicycle racks, security cameras, landscaping and public art.
  • Community-friendly design that provides for the needs of bikers, pedestrians and motorists.

The proposed plan would focus on the corridor between Downtown and Oakland created by Fifth and Forbes Avenues. Further expansion east will also be studied so BRT could provide additional connections to Squirrel Hill, North Oakland, East Liberty, Bloomfield, Shadyside, Friendship and East Liberty.

More than 30 organizations are collaborating to explore what BRT might mean for Pittsburgh. Led by Sustainable Pittsburgh, this Stakeholder Committee is made up of neighborhood and advocacy groups, businesses, educational and medical institutions as well as local, county and regional governments. Many of these stakeholders have expressed for themselves why they are participating in this initiative. Learn more about the stakeholders.

To investigate whether BRT is right for Pittsburgh, an Alternatives Analysis and Environmental Assessment began in August 2011. Preliminary materials from this Analysis and Assessment are now available here.