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Tuesday, July 24, 2012
New Transit Bill Re-Classifies BRT as 'Fixed Guideway'
By Panos Prevedouros PhD @ 4:17 AM :: 6625 Views :: Maui County, Education K-12

Congress: Now Honolulu Can Switch from Rail to BRT 

by Panos Prevedouros,

The recently passed 2-year transportation act of Congress which was signed by the president contains these golden nuggets for Honolulu:

1) ... the bill modifies the definition of Bus Rapid Transit projects to broaden the use of the program. BRT projects will now be classified and funded as ... Fixed Guideway

2) ... the bill allows three Fixed Guideway BRT projects to receive at least 80 percent federal funding share each fiscal year. These provisions provide a significant opportunity for communities seeking to invest in BRT

Inside MAP-21: New Starts Transit Grants.

Significantly, part of the rail's guideway can be retained as express flyovers for buses. Based on the letter of the law, these flyovers can be used off-peak for other operations such as emergency, city services and other transportation services. The unsightly stations can be replaced with on/off ramps. Like the Harris BRT, there will be no need for an elevated guideway in the city core.

Now there shouldn't be any question as to what the right course of action for Honolulu is.

Honolulu BRT: The College Express 

I have long advocated for BRT service along King and Beretania Streets. A sample article from 2002 was titled: A Less Expensive and Less Disruptive Bus Rapid Transit System for Honolulu.

I modified one of the routes proposed ten years into The College Express in a proposal to past Governor and current candidate for mayor Ben Cayetano. The "constant motion" circuit route connects the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Hawaii Pacific University and Honolulu Community College with a bus every 15 minutes off-peak and every 6 minutes in the peak periods.

In addition to connecting three college campuses, this route also provides service to important transit-dependent markets in-town such as:

  • Hospitals: Straub, Kapiolani, Honolulu Medical Group, Holistic Medical, many doctors' offices
  • SuperMarkets: Times, Safeway, Foodland
  • Banks: BOH, FHB, CPB
  • Government buildings
  • City Center/Downtown
  • Chinatown and Iwilei

This route may begin operations immediately as a regular bus route. Once an environmental assessment has been approved and funding is secured for parking relocations (if needed) and minor lane improvements as well as traffic signal improvements, the route will convert into a faster College Express BRT service. Depending on demand, high technology, high capacity double decker buses may be utilized, as the sample shown below. (This is similar to the Las Vegas public transit bus.)



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