MAN Truck & Bus
is a transportation researcher at TU Berlin. From 2006 to 2018 he was managing director of the Innovation Centre for Mobility and Social Change (InnoZ) and directs the science policy research group at the Social Science Research Centre Berlin (Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung, WZB).
KNIE The most important element of such a system are dedicated lanes on which buses travel separately from the rest of the traffic. So these are not just bus lanes that can simultaneously be used by other road users. But rather exclusively used lanes, which really cannot be used by anybody else. BRT buses do not therefore have to find their own way in crowded streets. Instead they can adhere to fast, safe and reliable timetables.
KNIE There can be additional elements to this, such as closed stations more akin to underground stations than a bus stop, for example, or the obligation for passengers to validate their tickets before boarding.
KNIE Transport planners are always looking for systems that can be established as smoothly as possible and then reliably transport as many people as possible from A to B during operation. BRT systems are faster, more flexible and thus cheaper to build than a tram network. This naturally applies even more in comparison to underground and S-Bahn trains in tunnels or on elevated tracks. Yet the BRT approach works with large vehicles at rapid intervals, whereby many passengers can be transported within a relatively short time, similar to the previously mentioned light rail vehicles.
KNIE Supporters of BRT systems, myself included, will always say that buses are now better than rail vehicles – simply because the market dynamics for transit buses is greater than among manufacturers of underground trains or trams. There are more sophisticated products that are also continually improving due to technical innovations.