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!
Links and stuffs
- 00:00 Light rail vs. bus rapid transit, or should it even be a battle?
- 03:03 Theme song
- 03:33 Welcome & what we're talking about
- 04:24 Light rail transit (LRT)   
- 17:21 Bus rapid transit (BRT)
- 17:59 What is BRT? 
- 19:08 Origins
- 20:00 Failures in ridership
- 20:42 Modern BRT (Brazil)
- 22:05 BRT enters the United States
- 23:06 Interests pushing for BRT 
- 24:07 South America loves BRT: TransMilenio
- 25:10 New York subway
- 25:50 Explosion of BRT, nothing wrong with excellent bus service
- 27:45 Flexibility of BRT
- 28:12 Iconic stations
- 28:58 Bendy buses, double-decker buses
- 29:53 Branded as different and faster than normal buses
- 31:06 LRT vs. BRT
     
- 31:26 Cost to build
- 31:59 Vehicle cost, Made in America tax
- 32:52 Cost per mile
- 33:54 MBTA Silver Line 
- 34:50 Tracks aren't that expensive
- 36:20 Long-term costs
- 40:59 Light rail is cheaper overall
- 41:29 Attracting development
- 42:48 Real BRT isn't what's getting built
    
- 43:57 BRT creep
- 44:39 Not a substitute for light rail
- 45:50 BRT in the U. S. is slow
- 47:05 Attracting ridership
  
- 48:16 People want trains, qualitative factors
- 49:56 Meeting people from a fancy hotel
- 50:54 Car dependency
- 31:26 Cost to build 
- 52:34 We are pro-improved bus service
- 54:02 Summary
- 54:18 Spotify, YouTube, website, Twitter, and Patreon plugs
- 54:53 Bye!
-  Light Rail Now: Light Rail's Stunning Track Record in Meeting – and Exceeding – Ridership Projections
-  Light Rail Now: Light Rail's Besieged With Riders! This is a Problem?
-  USDOT Nat'l Transportation Library: Light rail transit systems : a definition and evaluation
-  Bloomberg CityLab: Out of Darkness, Light Rail!
-  Wikipedia: List of United States light rail systems by ridership
-  Wikipedia: Light rail § Revival
-  Dissent: Big Philanthropy Takes the Bus
-  Reason Foundation: Surface Transportation Innovations #97
-  ITDP: What is BRT?
-  Greater Greater Washington: How to tell the difference between streetcars and light rail
-  Wikipedia: Bus rapid transit creep
-  Wikipedia: Bus rapid transit
-  The National Transit Database
-  Breakthrough Technologies Institute: Bus Rapid Transit and Transit Oriented Development
-  The Boston Globe: 'Little Dig' in danger
-  The Transport Politic: The Silly Argument Over BRT and Rail
-  Light Rail Now: Top "Bus Rapid Transit" Lobbyist Lobs Barrage of Baloney Against Rail
-  Light Rail Now: "BRT" - You Can Build it ... But Will They Come?
-  Greater Greater Washington: "BRT creep" makes bus rapid transit inferior to rail
-  ITDP: BRT Rankings
-  Greater Greater Washington: The US has only 5 true BRT systems, and none are "gold"
-  The Journalist's Resource: Bus versus rail: Costs, capacities and impacts
-  Calculations
-  "BRT creep" makes bus rapid transit inferior to rail
-  ITDP: BRT Planning Guide: Why BRT?: Costs
-  National Transit Database: National Transit Summaries & Trends