A global database showing the use of Bus Rapid Transit systems was released Monday to enormous consumer interest as more communities consider the growing trend in commuter transportation.
The website shows the overall use of BRT in various countries — including the 13 cities within the Unites States that are using the bus system — and was created by EMBARQ, the World Resources Institute's center for sustainable transport, and the Across Latitudes and Cultures – Bus Rapid Transit Centre of Excellence.
Already in 134 cities worldwide, BRT is finding a trend in popularity, serving more than 22.4 million passengers daily, although to a lesser degree in the U.S. The website has reported thousands of hits in its first few days.
Denver could be city number 14, with a BRT-hybrid system that looks to connect Longmont and the northwest corridor of the metropolitan area to downtown. The bus portion would make up the bulk of the 41-mile trek from Denver's Union Station to Longmont and a commuter rail system would run to south Westminster.
The concept is a proposed option to a commuter rail project that would take until 2042 to build, according to officials at the Regional Transportation District, which is building FasTracks.
Only about 293,000 riders are using BRT each day in the U.S., the most in New York City, followed by Pittsburgh and Boston, respectively. The database, at www.BRTdata.org, is designed for researchers, assembling all publicly available data into one locale and allows users to compare systems between countries or cities.
RTD hasn't decided whether to ask voters for an additional 0.4% sales tax in November to help pay for the new bus system. Even if voters approve the measure — essentially doubling a sales tax approved in 2004 to build the region's transportation system — rail would eventually supplant BRT as funding becomes available.
The creators of the database even set up a video tutorial to help learn how to use it properly.