How to understand Bus Rapid Transit

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Discussions at Provo City Council meeting and on Mayor Curtis’s blog have likely heard about the proposed public transportation overhaul known as the Provo-Orem Bus Rapid Transit program.

“We’ve been talking about Bus Rapid Transit, at least in concept for at least a decade,” said City Councilman Matthew Taylor. “As Frontrunner became more of a reality the dialogue for Bus Rapid Transit began, before Frontrunner was completed or even funded.”

The project now enters its final stages, and below are five key points for the prospective traveler from the Environmental Assessment, released by the Federal Transit Administration and Utah Transportation Authority.

1. The program’s purpose is to provide “higher-capacity, higher-quality, reliable transit service.”

Bus Rapid Transit is a hybrid bus system that operates like a light rail. Approximately half the route will use “bus only” lanes, and bus-specific traffic signals will be added along University Parkway. It will connect the Orem and Provo Frontrunner stations, providing the public with a more useful and reliable mode of transportation.

2. Buses will be easier to use.

The project will replace 11 bus routes along what is now Route 830, and is expected to replace approximately 5,000 car trips every day. Buses will depart every five minutes during peak hours rather than every 15 or 20, making planning simpler.

3. Project funding has already been determined.

The funding for the project will come from both the Federal Transit Administration and Utah Transit Authority. These two organizations have worked closely together for the past several years evaluating best routes, determining potential performance and allocating funds. The grant proposal for federal funding has been submitted.

4. Changes will come to University Parkway.

Parts of University Parkway will undergo three major changes: raised bus platforms, widening of the road and additional lanes added exclusively for buses. These changes will ensure buses run on time and have already been approved by the Utah Department of Transportation and Mountainland Association of Governments.

5. Now is the time to submit feedback.

Construction is set to begin in 2016, but the public is invited to comment. An Environmental Assessment of the project has been published, where readers can find more detailed information about the implications of the project, sources for funding and predicted effects.

Comments should be sent to .

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