UK Bus Rapid Transit Systems a Common Standard

UK Bus Rapid Transit Systems a Common Standard


George Bailes, The Transportation Consultancy, Alan Bailes, The Transportation Consultancy


Worldwide standards used to classify BRT schemes are not suited to the UK systems. Common standards for the UK systems are required for better analysis and improved direction on policy.


BRTuk is currently developing an ‘Education and Research Trust’ for the purposes of “the advancement of education in the UK through commissioning of research, to enable the development of a wider understanding relating to the implementation and operation of Bus Rapid Transit”.

BRTuk has an overarching objective of providing a wide dissemination of information and knowledge about BRT throughout the UK, leading to a greater awareness of its role and promoting the benefits of BRT as an important mode of transport to achieve sustainable transport objectives and encourage wider implementation.

Recently BRTuk commissioned ‘ttc’ to undertake a piece of research to develop a common standard of Bus Rapid Transit Systems in the UK. The definition of what constitutes a BRT system has always drawn intense debate, and when compared to BRT systems around the world, UK systems usually do not score anything higher than ‘bronze’ rating as set by the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP). As a consequence there is an ever increasing need to develop a common standard for BRT systems in the UK.

UK cities with BRT systems, in general experience significantly different characteristics compared to other cities situated across the world where BRT systems have achieved a ‘gold’ rating through the ITDP standards. For example comparisons on population density reveal that Bogota in Columbia, cited by the ITDP as one of the leading BRT systems in the world, has a population density of 13,500 people per sqm, compared to Cambridge in England where the population density is 3,015 people per sqm. Both BRT systems are influential and successful in attracting passengers and associated economic growth however when compared to world standings Cambridge only achieves a ‘Bronze Standard’

The initial phase of the research aims to establish a common set of standards for UK BRT systems helping to ensure a more uniform delivery to quantifying the benefits of the existing UK schemes, providing more detailed and comparable analysis of performance and patronage information to provide better guidance, policy and analysis to inform future BRT schemes and securing funding.


Association for European Transport