What is Bus Rapid Transit or BRT?
BRT is an innovative, high capacity, lower cost public transit solution that can significantly improve urban mobility. This permanent, integrated system uses buses or specialized vehicles on roadways or dedicated lanes to quickly and efficiently transport passengers to their destinations, while offering the flexibility to meet transit demand. BRT systems can easily be customized to c-ommunity needs and incorporate state-of-the-art, low-cost technologies that result in more passengers and less congestion.
Provo-Orem Transportation Improvement Project at a Glance
The Provo-Orem Transportation Improvement Project is designed to alleviate traffic congestion and increase mobility, travel choices and regional connectivity in the communities of Provo and Orem. The partnership, led by the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT), Utah Transit Authority (UTA), Mountainland Association of Governments (MAG), Provo, Orem and Utah County, will feature roadway improvements and a bus rapid transit (BRT) line that will increase transit capacity, reliability and service levels.
The project’s roadway improvement component includes widening roadways, replacing bridges, installing pedestrian-friendly crosswalks and improving various intersections along University Parkway and University Avenue. The project will:
Bus Rapid Transit
The project’s transit component is a BRT line that will feature modern articulated buses and will reduce travel times by using exclusive bus lanes, transit signal priority and ticket vending machines. Additionally, the line will feature level boarding platforms, high-end shelters, benches and landscaping. The BRT line will connect FrontRunner commuter rail with major Utah Valley destinations such as universities, major employment centers, shopping malls, and downtown Orem and Provo.
Here are some BRT details at a glance:
Click here to learn in detail about how the project is funded.
Current Routes and BRT Ridership Projections
Ridership on current Utah County bus routes that serve BYU and UVU is approximately 8,500 daily boardings. Projected ridership within the first two years for the BRT line is 12,500 daily boardings. BRT buses will run every five minutes (up from current 15 minute levels) during peak travel hours.
An independent engineering firm conducted a modeling analysis to calculate the projected BRT ridership. This second independent firm that was hired by Provo to review the ridership projections concluded that the ridership estimates were valid. Afterward, UTA used the independent firm to update the ridership projection for new FTA requirements, and that work was reviewed and approved by FTA.
Although 70 percent of UTA riders have access to a car, people continue to choose transit as a viable transportation option. UTA ridership has continued to increase each year over year with 2014 reaching an all-time high of 44.1 million boardings.
The Mountainland Association of Governments (MAG) develops the regional Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP) that forecasts growth and identifies transportation needs in the region for the next 20 to 30 years. Projections show that Utah County’s population is expected to nearly double to 1.1 million by 2040. According to MAG, such rapid growth places heavy demands on the transportation system and can subsequently reduce air quality.
MAG has identified the project as a key regional transit improvement to be completed between 2011 and 2020 to address:
In addition to providing a new BRT line, federal dollars will be used to widen parts of University Parkway and University Avenue, replace bridges on University Parkway and make intersection improvements in Provo and Orem. Federal transit dollars can only be used to improve the roads that the BRT line runs on.
Long-Term Community Benefits
The project will have a positive long-term effect on the community’s roads, air quality and quality of life. The BRT line will connect the Provo and Orem FrontRunner Stations with UVU, BYU, existing high-density housing, the MTC, major employment centers and two malls.
The project will also offer more transit choices for local university students. In 2014, UVU had 8,200 cardholders who took more than 1 million transit trips. In 2014, BYU had more than 2,500 cardholders who took more than 175,000 transit trips. Additionally, nearly seven acres of parking could be saved at local universities and that land could be converted into better uses.
Have questions? Contact the project team at 801-236-4784 or