Light Rail vs. Bus Rapid Transit (Battle of the Titans): Episode 2

(or listen on Spotify | YouTube)

Bus rapid transit in the U.S. is often touted as a cost-saving alternative to light rail. We cover the history and context of both systems in depth: light rail arose as a cost-effective way to reconstruct the rail systems of yore in a modern era of government. Bus rapid transit has a rockier history, starting in the U. S. but only really getting off the ground in South America; it then came back to the U. S. in cost-cut form. We explain what has gone wrong with modern American BRT and ask the raging question: should the competition between light rail and BRT even be a competition at all?

CORRECTION: LRVs are in fact manufactured in the U.S., at the Siemens plant in Sacramento!



  1. [1] Light Rail Now: Light Rail's Stunning Track Record in Meeting – and Exceeding – Ridership Projections
  2. [2] Light Rail Now: Light Rail's Besieged With Riders! This is a Problem?
  3. [3] USDOT Nat'l Transportation Library: Light rail transit systems : a definition and evaluation
  4. [4] Bloomberg CityLab: Out of Darkness, Light Rail!
  5. [5] Wikipedia: List of United States light rail systems by ridership
  6. [6] Wikipedia: Light rail § Revival
  7. [7] Dissent: Big Philanthropy Takes the Bus
  8. [8] Reason Foundation: Surface Transportation Innovations #97
  9. [9] ITDP: What is BRT?
  10. [10] Greater Greater Washington: How to tell the difference between streetcars and light rail
  11. [11] Wikipedia: Bus rapid transit creep
  12. [12] Wikipedia: Bus rapid transit
  13. [13] The National Transit Database
  14. [14] Breakthrough Technologies Institute: Bus Rapid Transit and Transit Oriented Development
  15. [15] The Boston Globe: 'Little Dig' in danger
  16. [16] The Transport Politic: The Silly Argument Over BRT and Rail
  17. [17] Light Rail Now: Top "Bus Rapid Transit" Lobbyist Lobs Barrage of Baloney Against Rail
  18. [18] Light Rail Now: "BRT" - You Can Build it ... But Will They Come?
  19. [19] Greater Greater Washington: "BRT creep" makes bus rapid transit inferior to rail
  20. [20] ITDP: BRT Rankings
  21. [21] Greater Greater Washington: The US has only 5 true BRT systems, and none are "gold"
  22. [22] The Journalist's Resource: Bus versus rail: Costs, capacities and impacts
  23. [23] Calculations
  24. [24] "BRT creep" makes bus rapid transit inferior to rail
  25. [25] ITDP: BRT Planning Guide: Why BRT?: Costs
  26. [26] National Transit Database: National Transit Summaries & Trends

Further reading