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The macrobus system of Guadalajara, Mexico: an evolved concept in BRT planning and implementation for medium capacity corridors


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Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is rapidly growing as an effective alternative for medium and high capacity corridors in developing countries. The Guadalajara BRT system represents an important reference for transit professionals considering low cost, rapid implementation, high impact transit alternatives. The initial 16 km line in Calzada Independencia, started operations on March 2009 and has received high ratings by the users. It includes 27 stations, 41 articulated buses and 103 feeder buses. The system operates at a high frequency with a relatively high commercial speed of 21 km/hr. It carries 127,000 passengers/day and 5,000 passengers per hour in the peak load section. Total capital investment was USD 61 million (USD 3.8 million/km). The BRT corridor positively compares with rail alternatives. The authors evaluated both the characteristics and the performance of the system as compared with high-end BRT paradigms. The corridor meets most of the high-end BRT components. Nevertheless, it did not start with all the elements in place. The corridor has also achieved important advances in performance. There is a need to continuously report performance indicators, mainly user perception, reliability, and comfort, so management actions for continuous improvement can be taken. The project was possible due to the strong political leadership; the support of a knowledgeable technical advisory team with international practical experience; adequate level of funding for planning and implementation; and a systematic approach that combines infrastructure, vehicles, operations and technology.

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