More Development for Your Transit Dollar: An Analysis of 21 North American Transit Corridors (ITDP, 2013)

Increasingly, cities in the US, finding themselves short of funds, are wondering whether BRT, a lower cost mass transit solution initially developed in Latin America and a relatively new form of mass transit in the US, could also be used here to leverage transit-oriented development investments. This report provides an answer.

This report evaluated 21 LRT, BRT, and streetcar corridors in 13 cities across the US and Canada and features case studies on the successes in Cleveland, Ohio and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. To make it possible to compare systems of similar quality, it uses The BRT Standard, a new tool developed by the world’s leading BRT experts, which defines and evaluates the quality of BRT and has encouraged a more rigorous distinction between bus improvement and this new form of transit. As many of the most important attributes of BRT are also important attributes of LRT, we were able to use The BRT Standard to score LRT corridors as well.

Findings include:

  • Per dollar of transit investment, and under similar conditions, Bus Rapid Transit leverages more transit-oriented development investment than Light Rail Transit or streetcars.
  • Both BRT and LRT can leverage many times more TOD investment than they cost.
  • Government support for TOD is the strongest predictor of success.The strength of the land market around the transit corridor is the secondary indicator of success.
  • The quality of the transit investment –how well it meets the best-practices detailed in the BRT Standard—is the tertiary indicator of success.

 Download the full report.