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Bus-based Rapid Transit

Following pioneering experiences in Curitiba and São Paulo, and a recent successful implementation of the Transmilenio system in Bogotá, Colombia, bus-based rapid transit (BRT) mode has emerged as a great hope for cities interested in high-quality public transport services at a moderate level of capital and operating costs. Similarly, the potential of all public transport modes featuring partially exclusive tracks is now much better understood. Including such modes in the agendas of city-specific planning studies has become common.

BRT systems are noted for the ease of adaptation to constraints of specific sites or roads. Thus, there is no “optimal” design that can be simply transferred from one city to another but a variety of successful designs. For example, bus stops and passenger access to typical schemes in the Brazilian cities of Curitiba, São Paulo, and Belo Horizonte are all treated differently, and again each of these is likely to be different to the treatment in China or Mexico. Nevertheless, there are solutions that worked well in one city and were usefully brought in and adapted to a new place. For example, Bogotá started by copying Curitiba, sent several delegations to that city, and contracted  consultants to design TransMilenio. What resulted was quite a different system, but it was based on the principles pioneered in Curitiba. On the other hand, there have been instances where serious planning and implementation issues have arisen when authorities have sought to transfer directly BRT designs which were seen to operate well in another city. For example, the “Curitiba” model was sought in San José (Costa Rica) and Puebla (Mexico), but proved inappropriate.

This page provides aims to illustrate the rich variations in design and operating practices in both older and recent BRT projects. It consists of fact sheets for several major BRT systems, links to recent Bank publications and presentations on this topic, and links to relevant external sources..


Fact Sheets


For each BRT system featured below, fact sheets cover various types of schemes, ranging from stand-alone busways to BRT networks. Due to differences in system types and information sources, not all fact sheets will include precisely the same data. Generally, the fact sheets include information on:

  • City and public transport context
  • Physical layout (road width and configuration, running sections, stops and junctions)
  • Arrangements for general traffic
  • Service operation (bus characteristics, operating policies, fare collection, enforcement)
  • Institutional arrangements for the management of the system
  • Scheme performance and costs
  • A discussion of major advantages and shortcomings of the scheme.

The following BRT system fact sheets are currently available

System fact sheets for Curitiba and São Paulo are under preparation.

Publications and Presentations

 Useful Links:


While we hope that that the sites below are of interest, the World Bank is not responsible for the content of external Web sites.

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