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Implementation of Bus Rapid Transit in Small- to Mid-sized American Cities

This research was performed to study the planning process involved in the implementation of bus rapid transit (BRT). It aims to create a foundation for how a feasibility study could be applied to small- and mid-sized cities, using Springfield, Massachusetts as a case study. The approach consisted of a GIS route and ridership analysis to assess the current transit demand at different points in the Springfield bus system. A stop placement analysis was performed based on which stops on the route received the highest ridership in October 2022. A road safety audit was performed in the field to assess existing conditions and to observe any conflict generators between modes of travel. Interviews were conducted to learn how planners may begin the process of studying transportation projects in their communities. It was found that State Street has some of the heaviest transit ridership in Springfield. Road widths allow for the potential to reconfigure and potentially install BRT at this location. Planners were generally in support of safe street design and traffic calming. These points suggest that Springfield’s State Street could be an excellent candidate for BRT due to ridership statistics, crash history, and vehicle speeds. It has been demonstrated that Springfield has unique qualities that other cities may not, which presents both opportunities and challenges for BRT prospects at this location. These findings can be used when considering whether BRT may be an opportune consideration in other American cities of a similar size and population density.

Geoffrey Klafeta '23
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