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Bus Rapid Transit can transform the MBTA

Do you know what BRT is?

For the past two years, the Greater Boston BRT Study Group has been exploring the potential for Bus Rapid Transit with local transportation experts, planners, and community leaders.

We are proud to support their analysis showing that Gold Standard, cost-effective BRT is possible in Greater Boston and could bring significant benefits to residents, commuters, and the economy.


The report, titled Better Rapid Transit for Greater Boston: The Potential for Gold Standard Bus Rapid Transit across the Metropolitan Area, offers the first citywide technical analysis of BRT.

Throughout this process, we have come to see BRT as a potential missing piece in the suite of transit options being considered for Greater Boston’s future. Gold Standard BRT has many characteristics that make it worth including:

  • Agility. BRT is a highly agile system that connects neighborhoods better than a traditional hub-and-spoke rail system. BRT doesn’t require tracks and connects seamlessly to bike and pedestrian transit, and its dedicated lanes (separated from traffic) are easily plowed during snow.
  • Cost-effectiveness. Because BRT does not include complex track infrastructure, it requires less upfront capital to construct. BRT can on average be up to seven times more affordable than light rail, per mile.
  • Immediacy. BRT can be implemented more quickly than rail systems, relieving pressure on the MBTA’s aging train and trolley infrastructure.

The Study Group, convened by the Barr Foundation, partnered with the non-profit Institute for Transportation & Development Policy (ITDP), a world leader in the study of BRT systems, to analyze a number of potential corridors in which BRT could reduce congestion on the T, serve underserved communities or groups, provide more direct connections between neighborhoods, and bolster planned future development.

Through a comprehensive technical analysis, ITDP and the Study Group prioritized five corridors in which BRT shows particular promise.

The report can be found at Join the conversation about BRT by using the hashtag #bosBRT or tweeting to @bosBRT.