In a warming, rapidly urbanizing and penny-pinching world, what’s the best way to help move millions of people around cities without the carbon pollution...

In a warming, rapidly urbanizing and penny-pinching world, what’s the best way to help move millions of people around cities without the carbon pollution of cars or the budget-busting expense of light rail?

Many urban areas have found the answer in bus rapid transit, or BRT. Using standard-issue but efficient buses on standard-issue but dedicated traffic lanes, BRT systems can be relatively quick, easy and affordable to implement, and can help cure numerous commuting headaches in big cities. And they’ve proven to be popular from Göteborg to Johannesburg, and many other places in between.

Officials in cities that haven’t yet jumped aboard the BRT bandwagon will soon have some extra encouragement, thanks to a “one-stop shop” for BRT information from around the world. Being created with support from the International Energy Agency (IEA), the web-based BRT database is expected to open for business this February.

The portal, developed with help from the World Resource Institute’s Embarq division, is designed to help researchers, planners and policy-makers more easily find cost figures and other data about BRT systems in every part of the globe.

It’s an idea whose time has come, considering that — as the IEA notes — BRT systems are now “being considered and actively adopted by hundreds of cities around the world.”

“The culmination of our joint efforts will result in the most comprehensive and robust database for a transit system which promises carbon reduction and increased mobility at a cost-effective rate,” said Tali Trigg, an energy analyst in the IEA’s Energy Technology Policy Division.

The IEA is also working with the Institute for Transportation & Development Policy to develop gold, silver and bronze standards for BRT projects.

Greenbang