Town Planning Review

Bus rapid transit in Ottawa, 1978 to 2008: Assessing the results

Town Planning Review (2010), 81, (4), 407–424.

Abstract

Bus rapid transit (BRT) is increasingly advocated as a lower-cost, more flexible alternative to urban rail, with Ottawa hailed as the pre-eminent BRT success story. However, there has been little detailed analysis of the effectiveness of Ottawa's BRT system in bringing about a mode shift away from the car. This article seeks to address this deficiency by analysing the performance of the city's public transport and the role of BRT in this performance. We conclude that public transport in Ottawa can indeed be considered successful, but that BRT is not the main reason for this success. The cause was rather an integrated package of policies introduced in the 1970s, which changed the relative convenience of car and public transport travel. These policies, rather than the precise technology used for the trunk section of the public tranport system, should be the focus of planning for reduced automobile dependence.

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Details

Author details

Al-Dubikhi, Sami

Mees, Paul