Pratt Center Research

Democratizing Planning

Bus Rapid Transit - COMMUTE route proposal

Maps  |  May 20, 2009

The New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) and MTA are seeking public input on the rollout of bus rapid transit (BRT) – a vital new addition to New York City’s transit landscape that will make speedier commutes a reality for tens of thousands of New Yorkers now forced to rely on slow local buses.

The Pratt Center’s Transportation Equity Project assessed and proposed possible BRT routes, with the objective of making sure they serve commuters who most urgently need better transit service – those with low incomes and long rides to work. Our findings helped inform the current DOT/MTA plans for BRT.

The Pratt Center envisions bus rapid transit as a citywide “third mode” of public transportation, in addition to subways and local buses. Working with members of COMMUTE, Communities United for Transportation Equity, and using census data on commuting patterns, we identified areas where a critical mass of riders have commutes of one hour or more. Citywide, two out of three of these extreme commuters have household incomes of less than $35,000 a year. Our analysis then identified existing bus corridors serving those areas that can be incorporated into a bus rapid transit system linking underserved riders with job centers and other important destinations around New York City.