UITP Congress
Jun 07, 2009
Bus Rapid Transit Solution: urban-transport solutions for today and tomorrow
  • BRT: fast and fluent transport
  • Major plus: cost-effective, fast and flexible implementation
  • World-wide team of BRT experts at Daimler Buses
  • Dedicated BRT after-sales team at Daimler Buses
  • BRT in action: BusWay in Nantes, France
  • BRT in action: Metrobüs in Istanbul, Turkey
Many cities in the world are facing similar transport challenges as a growing need for mobility is leading to failures in transport systems and extra burdens on the environment. The solution to these problems is called Bus Rapid Transit (BRT): flexible bus-based transport systems. Whether it be Nantes in France, Istanbul in Turkey, Bogota in Colombia or Mexico City in Mexico, all of these cities have one thing in common: BRT systems that are already operating successfully with Mercedes-Benz buses. In Brasilia in Brazil, Cancun in Mexico and the cities hosting the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa (including Johannesburg, Cape Town and Pretoria), Daimler Buses has been involved right from the outset in projects aimed at implementing such systems.
BRT: fast and fluent transport
BRT systems consist of one or more main routes, on which high-capacity buses run frequently, as well as ancillary routes served by a fleet of shuttle buses. Designated bus lanes not open to private traffic coupled with safe and easy boarding at plat­form-style bus stops ensure fast and fluent transport. Buses with various capacities can be used at varying frequencies as and when required, while ticket sales and admission control are dealt with outside of the vehicle in order to minimise passenger-­handling times. An intelligent, computer-controlled traffic management system - including priority for buses at traffic lights, for example - enables real-time traffic control and fast transport from A to B.
Bus Rapid Transit has its roots in Latin America and now enjoys world-wide recognition. Whereas in Latin America BRT initially allowed intelligent transport systems to keep pace with rapid population growth, the priority in industrial nations is to help protect the environment by reducing the need for private transport.
Major plus: cost-effective, fast and flexible implementation
Like rail-based systems, BRT systems allow more people to be transported quickly and comfortably on inner-city routes; however, they can be implemented faster and more cost-effectively than their rail-based counterparts, plus they offer greater flexi­bility moving forward into the future. A further strength of the BRT concept is the fact that it can be applied individually to each city and easily adapted to local requirements, since existing means of transport can be integrated into new BRT systems.
World-wide team of BRT experts at Daimler Buses
The team of BRT experts at Daimler Buses provides assistance with the planning, introduction and development of custom-designed concepts for local BRT systems. The team - comprising a mix of transport, urban and regional planning specialists - works all over the world.
In addition, the BRT specialists have access to the knowledge of local and regional transport planners. And they do not just look at the bus side of the system, their aim being to ensure that existing and new forms of transport complement each other locally to create a smoothly functioning transport network. The Mercedes planners can count on vast experience in this field as it was around 25 years ago that Mercedes-Benz was involved in the design and implementation of a BRT system in Adelaide, Australia. Since then, the experts have been providing support and assistance for an extremely wide range of transport systems on a world-wide scale. When individual systems are planned, cities and transport operators there­fore benefit from the experience gained through implementing and operating other systems of the same kind.
Comprehensive analysis and planning
Any city wishing to implement a BRT system needs to perform a detailed analysis and engage in an extensive planning process, taking into account legal require­ments, urban planning and demographic structures along with the needs of the city, passengers and operators. Furthermore, enlisting the help of a political decision-maker is crucial in order to implement the project. The experts at Daimler Buses act as advisors and help the customer to arrive at a decision and plan the project, all the while adopting a wholly unbiased approach. External transport planning companies take care of the detailed analyses, traffic planning and network planning.
When it comes to implementation, experts employed by the city help choose and purchase the most suitable vehicles to form the backbone of the BRT system. As the world market leader, Mercedes-Benz offers the widest range of products in terms of capacity, entrance heights and bus drive systems and can therefore supply the ideal vehicle every time, whether it be for the main lines or the shuttle routes. The range of products and services also includes finance schemes for purchasing the vehicles as well as service and after-sales solutions.
Dedicated BRT after-sales team at Daimler Buses
BRT systems offer high transport capacity and cost-effective vehicle usage. Fre­quent services, high mileage and large numbers of passengers place a huge amount of strain on the vehicles. The dedicated BRT after-sales support offered by Omni­plus - the Daimler Buses service brand - ensures vehicle reliability and availabili­ty. The experts are reassuringly familiar with the special requirements and proce­dures involved. Plus their vast knowledge assists the operators when it comes to aspects such as workshop planning, process optimisation and training, with the focus on reliable lifecycle support, individual planning security and cost-effective­ness.
BRT in action: BusWay in Nantes, France
The French city of Nantes boasts a prime example of a highly successful BRT system. An unattractive local public transport network used to cause regular congestion on the access roads serving the centre of the city with a population of 600,000. To solve the problem, a system called BusWay was introduced in autumn 2006. Since the initially planned tram-based solution would have proved unprofi­table over a period of years, the city opted for a BRT system. The buses, which operate on a specially designated route, are some 50% quicker than passenger cars at peak times.
The result has been a significant increase in passenger numbers, a reduction in the number of passenger cars and, therefore, a lower environmental impact. Some 26,500 passengers a day currently use the number-4 line served by 20 BusWay regular-service buses based on the Mercedes-Benz Citaro G with natural-gas drive. These buses link the 15 stations along the seven-kilometre route in less than 20 minutes, departing every three minutes at peak periods.
The buses feature a highly individual, extremely appealing design with a fairing around the roof edge, double-glazed side windows and masked wheel arches at the two rear axles. LED spots in two different colours split the passenger compartment into two distinctive zones. Further equipment and appointments available in the passenger compartment include uplights at the window pillars, grab rails in polished stainless steel, dark-blue seats and a camera-based monitoring system. The driver sits apart from the passengers in a separate, enclosed compartment.
BRT in action: Metrobüs in Istanbul, Turkey
The implementation of a BRT system in the Turkish city of Istanbul, completed in just two years, proved to be an equally tough challenge. The "Metrobüs" covers a 40.6-kilometre route on its own dedicated line. At peak times, a bus departs on this line more than once every 30 seconds, all of which adds up to around 750,000 passengers per day, the ultimate target being to carry one million passengers per day. This BRT system is based on the Mercedes-Benz CapaCity high-capacity bus which, as well as allowing a high passenger handling capacity, achieves an astonishingly high average speed of 40 km/h.
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