Today, there’s renewed interest in improving bus service in the U.S., inspired by innovations around the globe. The Brazilian city of Curitiba, which is well known for its innovations in urban planning, set a model in the 1970s when it adopted bus rapid transit – buses that run in dedicated lanes, with streamlined boarding systems and priority at traffic signals.
Curitiba helped popularize bi-articulated buses, which are extra-long with flexible connectors that let the buses bend around corners. These buses, which can carry large numbers of passengers, now are in wide use in Europe, Latin America and Asia.
Cities across the globe, led by London, have also aggressively expanded contactless payment systems, which speed up the boarding process. Advanced bus systems and new technologies like these flourish in regions where politicians strongly support transit as a public service.
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Buses do not replace cars, they reduce the number of cars needed in a city. They are cheaper for the rider than owning a car. If the city sets up a useable system, cities can reduce the severe impact cars have on the air, and the areas dedicated to vehicles.