Cities across the U.S. and internationally are adopting Bus Rapid Transit to improve transit services for residents. Features of Bus Rapid Transit include fewer stops, dedicated bus lanes, and expedited systems for boarding busses, compared with regular bus service. This study examines whether Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) ridership is associated with increased rates of walking, because of the greater distance between BRT stops compared with regular bus service.
Surveys were conducted with riders of local and BRT buses for New York City’s M15 Select Bus Service line. Surveys examined bus ridership, health status and physical activity, walking rates, and demographic information.
BRT riders reported walking approximately half a block more than did local bus riders. The average number of blocks walked decreased for BRT riders who previously used the subway before the implementation of the BRT.
BRT may be a useful tool to support walking for some groups. Depending on where it is implemented, BRT may also be associated with reduced walking among users who switch to BRT from other active transportation modes. Future research should examine associations between walking and BRT ridership with a larger sample and more sites.