Tacoma's current transportation and land use patterns make it too automobile dependent, such that the general public favors automobile travel over other modes of transportation because of inferior access, cost and time efficiency by these other modes. This dependence not only has multiple negative environmental implications, but social and economic implications as well in that members of the general population who do not have access to automobiles--namely poor and disabled people--are put at an immediate disadvantage. Therefore, improvements in Tacoma's public transit system-such as additional routes and expanded coverage, increased service frequency, longer operating hours, improvements in comfort, pricing innovations, improved rider information, and transit-oriented development-could bring a range of benefits for the general public as well as the environment.
Bus systems are a versatile form of public transportation, because they can access and serve a potentially unlimited range of locations throughout a metropolitan area. Additionally, because they travel on roadways, infrastructural investments can be substantially lower in cost and can provide a wider range of uses than rail systems and street cars. Despite their cost-effectiveness, bus systems tend not to win a great deal of political support because they often are forced to compete with automobile traffic in urban areas. The Federal Transit Administration identifies the bus system of Curitiba, Brazil as a model Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, defined as a system that improves "bus operating speed and reliability on arterial streets by reducing or eliminating various types of delay."
Strategies and Greenhouse Gas Reduction
Cost to the City
Not "expensive" because buses can utilize existing infrastructure unlike streetcars or rail systems. Also, the expansion of service and addition of buses to high priority areas can be introduced at a gradually over time. Moderately expensive because could require the modification of existing infrastructure and land-use patterns.
Barriers to general population
Barriers to the City
Benefits to the general population
Benefits to the City
Benefits to Pierce Transit
Curitiba, Brazil-"The Intersection of Transit and Land Use Planning"
Curitiba's BRT represents a model shift from automobile travel to bus travel. The city has one of the most heavily used and low-cost transit systems in the world. Buses are frequent-sometimes every 90 seconds-and reliable, and the stations are efficient, comfortable and attractive for users. The system is made up of a hierarchical system of bus services, in which minibuses traffic passengers from residential neighborhoods to conventional buses that circumnavigate the city, with transfers to BRT buses that operate on five main arteries that lead into the city center. Passengers pay a single fare (40 cents) and have unlimited transfers where services intersect. Zoned residential and commercial land decreases in density further from the main transitways, which discourages the use of automobiles. As a result, buses are unimpeded by traffic lights and congestion on designated transitways. Around 70 percent of Curitiba's 2.2 million inhabitants use the BRT to travel to work. This ridership has caused a reduction of about 27 million auto trips per year, saving an estimated 27 million liters of fuel annually. It is estimated that 28 percent of BRT riders previously traveled by car, and Curitibans currently spend about 10 percent of their income on travel costs (below the national average). The system is currently made up of 1,100 buses that make 12,500 trips every day, serving over 1.3 million passengers-which is 50 times the number of passengers from 20 years ago.
North American cities with operating BRT systems including Orlando, Florida; Miami, Florida; and Vancouver, British Columbia. Portland, Oregon is in the process of developing a BRT system, as is Saint Paul, Minnesota.