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What is BRT?

A rapid transit plan for London

 

In the next 20 years, London is expected to grow by 84,000 people. BRT is part of a city-wide plan to give every resident choices for convenient, safe, accessible transportation.

BRT is a rapid transit system that uses buses to move thousands of people in dedicated bus lanes on London’s busiest routes.  Separated from general traffic, BRT buses will run reliably every five or 10 minutes without adding to congestion, working with local buses for an overall 35% increase in transit service.

Features of the BRT system

Dedicated bus lanes

Travelling in dedicated lanes, BRT buses will be predictable and reliable for London’s increasing numbers of transit users, because they won’t mix with general traffic. Dedicated lanes are also designed to benefit drivers and ease congestion, because they keep buses separate from general traffic lanes.

Reliability

With dedicated lanes separating them from general traffic, BRT buses will be reliable. They’ll run every five minutes on the north-east corridor and every 10 minutes on the south-west one.

Modern stops

The 38 BRT stops will have protected shelters and benches. They will be accessible and equipped with updated bus schedules and real-time information to tell you exactly where your bus is, and when it will arrive. Covered platforms, comfortable seating, modern lighting and heating systems, and technology charging stations are being considered as key features.

Smarter traffic systems

These are a key part of the plan and part of the BRT budget. Beyond prioritizing lights to help BRT buses get where they’re going on time, they’ll spot traffic patterns throughout London, so signals can be altered when necessary to ease congestion for commuters across the city.

Necessary upgrades

Most roads along the BRT route are due for necessary upgrades. That means they’ll be under construction soon – with or without BRT. As part of the budget, the project will widen streets and modernize major corridors. Like any city road project, construction will happen in phases, with lots of advance communication and notice to residents and businesses in the area.

Better bus service

BRT is part of a larger transit overhaul designed to improve bus service across the city. With BRT, Londoners will have access to 35% more service, system wide. Many local bus routes will see more frequent service, and in some neighbourhoods, LTC bus frequency will double. In others, routes will be extended into areas where service isn’t as strong now.

Demand for bus service

London has one of the province’s highest bus ridership rates per capita outside of Toronto. Londoners take more than 22.6 million rides on buses each year.

Chart showing the LTC ridership

Download a PDF version of the graphic.

Connecting our city

BRT will connect many key London establishments – from post-secondary institutions, hospitals and shopping centres to banks, manufacturing firms and businesses that fuel London’s rapidly growing high-tech industry. The BRT business plan highlights these connections as a way to help London employers recruit and retain skilled talent.

Expand the menus below to learn more about some expected impacts of BRT

Almost 40% of London’s future population and 60% of jobs are expected to be within walking distance of BRT. Since every transit trip starts and ends with active transportation (such as walking or biking), the BRT plan prioritizes pedestrian and cycling connections near BRT stops. London’s Cycling Master Plan, London ON Bikes, will focus on improving these connections.

The London Plan envisions a city that grows in a compact way – taking advantage of existing infrastructure, lowering energy costs, reducing emissions, encouraging healthy lifestyles and minimizing intrusion into our agricultural lands. BRT is designed to support and stimulate this shape of growth. It aims to pave the way for urban regeneration and support the vision to strengthen London’s downtown.

BRT is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 230,000 tonnes over the next 30 years.

Why not light rail for London?

Before BRT emerged as the recommended rapid transit technology, Council explored a range of options for London, including light rail. Ridership needs, cost, construction-related impacts and economic benefits were among the factors considered.

Light rail requires a higher ridership level, and, with a tunnel required to bypass the train tracks downtown, is more expensive than other transit options. There was also community concern about disruptions and business impacts.

In July 2017, Council approved the Rapid Transit Master Plan, giving the green light to BRT and defining the BRT network.

The cost

The BRT project has the potential to be funded at up to 74 cents on the dollar by other levels of government. With a $130-million investment in BRT, London can potentially capitalize on a $500-million infrastructure investment.

Download a PDF version of the BRT graphic here.

Download a PDF version of the graphic.

BRT basics

Download the information package.