Land Use Impacts of Bus Rapid Transit

Hillsborough Area Regional Transit

HART BRT: Same service as light-rail at less cost.

Just how much  study went into “the study” by Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART) when they were comparing the alternatives between Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and light-rail?
The biggest argument for light-rail was that it would improve property values near rail stations.
There is not much reason to doubt this.
What should be doubted is that BRT would not improve property values near bus stations.
But, did we look in our own backyard for guidance? Probably not.

A December 2009 report partially entitled “Land Use Impacts of Bus Rapid Transit: Effect of BRT Station Proximity on Property Values” essentially says that property values increased the closer they were located to a bus station. This is pretty much what was found with light-rail stations, so to say that rail and not bus transit would improve property values is bogus.

Who did this 2009 report?
It was funded by the Federal Transit Administration and the project staff came from the National BRT Institute Center for Urban Transportation Research University of South Florida (USF), only a short bus ride away from HART headquarters also in Tampa.

 Understanding that BRT’s capabilities are important for assessing its performance and potential benefits during an alternatives analysis, the Federal Transit Act requires that all requests for capital assistance for New Start funds be preceded by an alternatives analysis where a full range of feasible, potentially cost-effective alternatives for addressing specific transportation needs are objectively and transparently evaluated.

So, either the 2009 USF report was ignored, or even more likely, was not even considered.

Another USF study (February 2008) also funded by the Federal Transit Administration entitled Advanced Network Planning for Bus Rapid Transit: The “Quickway Model” as a Modal Alternative to “Light Rail Lite” goes into great detail about the advantages of BRT.

Here is what New York is doing about their cost-effective “Subway on the Street“.

HART is pushing ahead with their Preferred Alternative study to determine routes and transit equipment to be used.  It will be interesting to see which mode will be recommended. Both light-rail and BRT will increase nearby property values.

BRT however will cost far less to implement, carry the same number of riders and will be more flexible to changing ridership needs.

 <IMHO> Fred Jacobsen


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