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Applicability of Bogota's TransMilenio BRT system to the United States : final report, May 2006.
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Applicability of Bogota's TransMilenio BRT system to the United States : final report, May 2006.
  • Alternative Title:
    Applicability of Bogotá's TransMilenio BRT system to the United States : final report, May 2006.
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  • Edition:
    Final report; May 2006.
  • NTL Classification:
    NTL-ECONOMICS AND FINANCE-Transit Economics and Finance ; NTL-PLANNING AND POLICY-Transit Planning and Policy ; NTL-PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION-Transit Economics and Finances ; NTL-PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION-Transit Planning and Policy ; NTL-PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION-Bus Transportation ;
  • Abstract:
    Serving the city of Bogotá, Colombia, TransMilenio is one of the world’s premier Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) systems. Commencing service in

    December 2000, the system was carrying over one million passengers per day by early 2006 on a 40 mile network of high capacity trunk

    corridors, supported by feeder services that extend system coverage to peripheral areas of the city. Completion of the second phase of the

    project later in 2006 will add an additional ten miles of trunk corridor, and raise weekday ridership to a projected 1.4 million passengers. The city

    Masterplan consists of a 241 mile network of trunk corridors and supporting feeder routes that would carry an estimated 5 million passengers per

    day. TransMilenio is also the centerpiece of a long-term urban renewal and mobility strategy that prioritizes walking and cycling and discourages

    private vehicle use.

    In November 2005, the National Bus Rapid Transit Institute (NBRTI) sent a delegation of U.S based BRT professionals to Bogotá to

    observe the operation of the TransMilenio system, attend the First International Mass Transport Conference, and meet with Colombian

    transportation officials. This report provides a description of the TransMilenio system and its impacts, and discusses its applicability to the U.S

    transit context. The report also includes a summary of potential business opportunities for the U.S Transit industry arising from Colombian

    government plans to invest over US$1.4 billion in TransMilenio system expansion and the implementation of similar systems in cities across the


    Although the characteristics of Bogotá, in terms of economy, socio-political climate and urban form, are very different to those of a typical

    North American city, TransMilenio does demonstrate several important BRT features that are applicable to the U.S transit context. In carrying as

    much as 41,000 passengers per hour per direction (pphpd), TransMilenio demonstrates that BRT systems are capable of accommodating

    passenger volumes normally associated with rail transit. These high volumes are made possible by a wide variety of system design features,

    including high capacity buses, exclusive runningways, level boarding, off-board fare payment, and high service frequencies that permit headways

    as low as 13 seconds on busy sections of the system. Even accounting for the lower passenger loadings demanded by U.S transit users,

    TransMilenio demonstrates that BRT systems are capable of carrying up to approximately 28,000 pphpd in a U.S transit context, and thus should

    not be ruled out of alternatives analyses in favor of LRT on the grounds of insufficient capacity.

    TransMilenio also demonstrates the benefits that BRT can bring in terms of capital cost effectiveness. Phase I cost a total of US$240M

    ($9.4M per mile) while Phase II cost $545M ($21.3M per mile). Costs are kept low partially by transferring responsibility for vehicle and fare

    collection costs to the private sector. The total capital cost of the 241 mile TransMilenio Masterplan, estimated at $3,320M (including vehicle and

    fare collection costs), is similar to the $3,041M projected capital cost of the 18 mile rail corridor proposed in Bogotá in 1997. Thus, selecting BRT

    offers Bogotá a city-wide rapid transit system for approximately the same cost as one rail corridor.

    Other important lessons demonstrated by the TransMilenio are included in the report under the themes of “BRT and Urban Renewal”, “The

    TransMilenio Business Model”, “Politics”, and “Infrastructure Characteristics”. The report concludes by discussing the different issues associated

    with replicating the “Bogotá Model” in the U.S.

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