Our friends at HNTB recently conducted their latest America THINKS survey, which polled a random nationwide sample of 1,127 Americans. The conclusion: Americans are open to new approaches to public transportation, such as bus rapid transit.
But what is ‘bus rapid transit’? Simply, it is a new way of thinking about community bus service. According to HNTB, “Bus rapid transit is a lower-cost, more easily implemented alternative to a rail-based commuter transit system, yet still includes many popular features of rail-based public transportation, such as routes that are clearly laid out and run on a frequent and reliable schedule. BRT systems also often include low-emissions vehicles, electronic and/or automatic payment methods, and real-time arrival and departure updates.”
In the 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, Transit earned a “D.” The Report Card found that 45% of American households lack any access to transit, and millions more have inadequate service levels. However, Americans who do have access have increased their ridership 9.1% in the past decade. Clearly, as demand for transit service increases, the question becomes how can cities, states, and communities meet this new challenge.
HNTB’s study is encouraging in that it shows more and more Americans are seeing the connection between infrastructure investment and economic growth. Hopefully this trend will continue and we can all work together to raise our infrastructure grades.