PUBLICATION

MTI REPORT F-04-01
BUS IN THE FAST LANE: A FORUM ON BUS RAPID TRANSIT IN THE BAY AREA
May 2005

The bus, that most basic staple of public transportation, is being transformed by 21st century high technology. However, new capabilities have also brought challenges to the ability of traditional public transit infrastructures to adapt. Bus in the Fast Lane: A Forum on Bus Rapid Transit in the Bay Area looks at the technical, operational, political, and social issues arising around Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) as it is being developed in the San Francisco Bay Area. It continues the long-running series of Mineta Transportation Institute Hot Spot Forums. The goal of these events is to move toward consensus through information transfer. Their success is due to the abilities of willing participants, with the required expertise, to share their knowledge in a meaningful way with the general public.
We were blessed to have such a team co-sponsor this event. Most generous with their time and with the expertise and cooperation of their staff were: Dennis Fay, Executive Director, Alameda County Congestion Management Agency; Ric Fernandez, General Manager,
Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District; Steve Heminger, Executive Director, Metropolitan Transportation Commission; Roger Snoble, CEO, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority; and Bijan Sartipi, Director, California Department of Transportation/District 4. Also invaluable to the team were the Commonwealth Club of California and the League of Women Voters of the Bay Area.

ABSTRACT

Bus Rapid Transit planning, development, and implementation in the San Francisco Bay Area was the subject of this public forum held November 12, 2004 in Oakland, California. It was another in a series of Mineta Transportation Institute Hot-Spot Forums designed¬† to explore controversial topics and help participants reach consensus. Steve Heminger, Executive Director of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, delivered the keynote address which placed Bus Rapid Transit development in context with regional long-range transportation goals. A panel of transportation planners and elected officials reviewed the challenges and responses to the Alameda County Congestion Management Agency SMART Corridors Rapid Bus project on San Pablo Avenue. They also reviewed and discussed proposals for future rapid bus and dedicated Busway transit projects being planned for other corridors in the dense urban areas of the San Francisco region’s East Bay. Questions from the audience supplemented discussions by the panel. A concluding capstone presentation aimed at tying together earlier discussions was made by Rex Gephart, Director of Regional Transit Planning for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. He compared the local efforts to those of other similar programs elsewhere in the United States and the world. Another short question-and-answer period followed the presentation.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

MTI

TECHNICAL

MTI Report F-04-01
Bus in the Fast Lane: A Forum on Bus Rapid Transit in the Bay Area
Published: April 2005
Keywords: Bus priority; Bus Rapid Transit; Remote sensing; Transit riders; Urban transportation policy
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