Reducing Todays Transport Problems Of The World Engineering Essay

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Urban transport system and urban form as tremendous impact on the way people travel in this world. Travel can be distinguished by frequency of trip, distance of travel, mode of choice. Due to increase in urbanization and economy at world level, there is increase in urban sprawl and number of vehicle. This has indirectly created an impact on demand of transport and travel pattern. With lack of practise of proper planning measure, it created problem like, rise in the additional cost for transport operation and its infrastructure. On the other hand some additional problem such as social, economical and environmental as also immerged. Today all people in world are facing depilating transport for their travel. Improper and insufficient mode of transport as increased the demand of fossil fuel and increased the greenhouse gas level, which is one of reason of global warming.

The characteristic of sustainable transport is that, which provide easy access to people with low emission, reduced natural land use and have lesser fuel consumption capacity. The main aim of sustainable transport is to reduce the private mode of transport and attract more and more people toward public mode of transport such as public transit, cycling and walking.

Today all cities of the world, which are looking for the cost effective and environmental friend mode of transit, are accepting Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) as a best option. BRTS is growing in fame throughout the world. There is reason behind its popularity. Some of them are, its ability to be built quickly and economically, its ability to increase attractiveness of its passengers and developer, it's also provide sufficient transport capacity to meet demands in many cities with high density of population.


1.2.1 Aim:

The aim of this literature report is to explore the idea of Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS)- as an innovative solution to urban transport and to ensure that BRTS is best tool to reduce today's urban transport problems of world. To identify how implementation of BRTS helps developing countries to solution their transport problems.

1.2.2 Objectives of literature review:

The followings are the objectives of literature review, to achieve the aim as stated above:

To undertake the literature review of current trends of urbanisation and rise of the megacities.

To undertake the review on urban transport and its mode; urban transport problem that world is facing today.

To carry out detail review on BRTS; it's features; and current issues regarding implementation BRTS in developing countries.

To have review methodology (mainly Case Studies on BRTS) that is going to be implemented for dissertation.


It has become essential that, in today's world of urbanization, urban transport plays a vital role in managing flow of traffic in more effective and efficient way. But due to rapid growth of urbanization and urban sprawl the condition of transport as got decline. World is facing many crisis like high traffic congestion; rise is pollution (noise and air); increase in green house gas (CO2) and many more. Many developing countries can't effort modern transits modes which are very high expensive and sometime it is unable to implement due to its design and lack of sustainability to environment. This all gave rise to have a modern transport mode which is very cost-effective; more flexible in implementation compare to other modes; more sustainable. BRTS is one such mode of transport that provides all this facilities even though there is some issue in some countries (mainly in developing countries) in implementation of BRT System. So need for research rise to identify such issues and to find strategy to deal with such problem and how BRTS can be an innovative tool for solving urban transport problem in developing country.


The literature review is one that used to space the body of the dissertation report, which helps in establishment of theoretical problem that associated to the topic of dissertation report. It also help in demonstrates that the researcher has a comprehensive grasp of existing knowledge in order to be able to make an original contribution to knowledge (Naoum, 2004). Literature review consist of different source of information mainly- Primary resources and Secondary resources. Primary resources such as theses, reports, academic research journals, conferences, and government publications, while Secondary resources such as textbooks of related topic; and reference lead such as dictionaries and encyclopaedias.

The literature on Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS)- as an innovative solution start by carrying out review on the world urbanization. As it is essential to narrow the research focus, review shift to the Urban Transport, which describe its role in this 21st century; its different modes and also the problem that world face due to in adequate and improper planning. Thereafter, review on the research topic move on the BRTS as a main body of dissertation report, by exploring it important role in urban transport, with issues and problem solution. Lastly review is carried out, to find case study which support BRTS as an innovative solution to urban transport problems. The breakdown of literature is shown as in figure 1.

Review on World's Urbanization and Rise of Megacities

Review on Urban Transport

Review on Bus Rapid Transit System

Review on Case Study of BRTS

Figure 1.1: Breakdown of Literature Review.


Today the world is moving towards the globalization. Total world population is reached about 6.8 billion. There is a large over population from past few decades (figure 1.1), which create various problems such as reduction in natural resources, food and water, rise in environmental problem and many more. Urban transportation is one sector which is getting degraded due to rise in population. Urban sprawl has become one of the main problems facing transportation networks in urban areas.  In a quest to find more open areas and more private surroundings people have been fleeing major cities in favour of the surrounding suburban communities. Many urban areas have seen their sizes double over the past decade.  This rapid expansion has led to a critical shortage in infrastructure. The worst of these problems though is the transportation network.  

Figure 2.1 Rise of urbanization from 1925 A.D

REF: "New forms of urbanization: beyond the urban-rural dichotomy" by Anthony Gerard

(NOTE: Growth is in the percentage of the previous year population of the world.)

Urbanization is the process of change from rural to a more urban area (UNFPA 2007, p.6) is booming and will continue for next decades, especially in many developing countries. As per the State of World Population Report 2007, in 2008 for the first time more than 50% of world population is living in urban areas. (cf. UNFPA 2007, p.1). current figure of people living is cities are 3.3 billion and by 2030 that figure will rise all most 5 billion. It is found that daily world population is increasing by 280,000.In developing countries urbanization is rising at very higher rate than that of industrialized countries. Such growth can be found mainly in Asian cities like Delhi, Mumbai, and more and in African cities, are more than two-third rural and by 2025 will be half urban.

The number of megacities, defined as metropolitan areas with total population of 10 million or more than that, as increased from past decades.

Table 2.1 Rise in Megacities and its population from 1949 A.D


















































Latin America & Caribbean









North America


















Note: N = Number of Megacity, P= Population in millions in megacity

(Source: "New forms of urbanization: beyond the urban-rural dichotomy" by Anthony Gerard)

There is only one megacity in 1949 (i.e. New York) with 12.5 million inhabitants in it. The number of megacities in 1950:2 , 1975:5 , 2000:16, and it will be 23 in 2015. In 2015, Asia is one continent that consist of more 50% of megacity in it. In 2003 already 283 million people lived in megacities, 207 million of them in developing countries, more than 171 million in Asia. By 2015 the total population of megacities will be about 341 million and according to the estimation of UN concerning the number of megacities in 2015, Tokyo will be most populated megacity with population 36.2 million following by Mumbai, Delhi, Mexico City and Sao Paulo with 22.6, 20.9, 20.4, and 20 million inhabitants will be the worldwide five biggest megacities which consist of more than 20 million inhabitants. The following figure 1.2 shows the megacities in world.

Figure 2.2: Megacities of world in 2015 A.D


(Source: UN. 2003, World Urbanization publication)

The hasty process of urbanization and the growing number of the megacities cause a lot of different economical, social and environmental problem and risks. These impacts cause challenges for urban transport patterns and its policies and urban planning strategies which deal with the development in a sustainable way, especially when the population in some cities doubles every 10 to 15 years.

The reason why the urban combination and metropolitan areas as well as megacities come into the international focus of policy and science are their serious bang on the global environment such as the enormous land consumption, air pollution, water scarcity, poverty, social segregation and vulnerability. As the abundant national and international networks and research activities on urbanization and megacities show, there is a clear need for more and better urban development strategies, long term land policy and forceful urban management (cf. Kraas 2007).

Urban transport is one of sector which getting declined due to rate of growth urbanisation. This gave rise to several problem to surrounding entities consist of environment and human being such as pollution of air and noise; improper land use; difficulty in implementation of new modes of transit; traffic congestion and many more.



Urban transportation is made up of various components which determine it nature and its presence and that is known by integrated lane use pattern and its inter-connection created by transportation links. More ever there is wide variety of spatial structure with its urban form and associated urban transportation system. Urban transport is characterised in three board categories of public, private and freight transport (Rodrigue et al, 2006). Most of time they are complementary to each other and sometimes they may competing for usage of available transportation infrastructure or/that land available:

Public Transport System:

The main aim is to provide greater mode of accessibility within the city. Its efficiency depends on the transporting number of people and achieving the economy of city. The various mode public transports are trains, subway, bus, tramway and furry boats.

Private Transport System:

It include variety mode of transport where mobility is of single person depends on his/her mode of choice. It is noticed that, many people use to walk for their mobility, but this varies from place to place.

Freight Transport System:

The movement which are mostly characterized by delivering truck moving between big companies, industries, distribution centre and warehouse fall under such mode of transport. Freight movement are accompanied by urban activities in cities, which is centre of production and consumption.

The following table shows characteristics of different transit modes. (Vukan R. Vuchic 2005)

Table 3.1 Characteristics of different transit modes


Mode Category



Mode Of Transit

Line Capacity


Street Transit







Semi Rapid Transit- medium performance










Rapid Transit-

high performance








Regional Rail



Due to rise in urbanization and urban sprawl, density of population in many cities, megacities and metro cities as increased to their zenith. Cities are heart of all economy of town and are high spatial structure that is supported by transport system. The vital transport problem is its urban area, when different transport modes of transport fail to supply required mobility to city. In sort urban output depends on its efficient transport system, which provides flexible, fast and economical movement to people to commute to their destination (Rodrigue et al, 2006). Most common urban transport problem that various country face is as follow:

Traffic Congestion and Parking difficulties.

Congestion is one of the most prevalent transport problems in large urban agglomerations. It is particularly linked with motorization and the diffusion of the automobile, which has increased the demand for transport infrastructures. However, the supply of infrastructures has often not been able to keep up with the growth of mobility. Since vehicles spend the majority of the time parked, motorization has expanded the demand for parking space, which has created space consumption a problem particularly in central areas.

Lack of implementation of public transport policies.

Many public transit systems, or parts of them, are either over or under used. During peak hours, crowdedness creates discomfort for users. Low ridership makes many services financially unsustainable, particularly in suburban areas. In spite of strong subsidies almost every public transit systems cannot generate sufficient income to cover its operating and capital costs.

Difficulties to pedestrians.

These difficulties are either the outcome of intense traffic, where the mobility of pedestrians and vehicles are impaired, but also because of a blatant lack of consideration for pedestrians in the physical design of facilities.

Freight distribution.

Globalization and the materialization of the economy has resulted in growing quantities of freight moving within cities. As freight traffic commonly shares infrastructures with the circulation of passengers, the mobility of freight in urban areas has become increasingly problematic. City logistics strategies can be established to mitigate the variety of challenges faced by urban freight distribution.

Land occupancies.

The territorial imprint of transportation is significant, particularly for the automobile. Between 30 and 60% of a metropolitan area may be devoted to transportation, an outcome of the over-reliance on some forms of urban transportation.

Loss of Public space.

The majority of roads are publicly owned and free of access. Increased traffic has adverse impacts on public activities which once crowded the streets such as markets, agoras, parades and processions, games, and community interactions. These have gradually disappeared to be replaced by automobiles. In many cases, these activities have shifted to shopping malls while in other cases, they have been abandoned altogether. Traffic flows influence the life and interactions of residents and their usage of street space. More traffic impedes social interactions and street activities. People tend to walk and cycle less when traffic is high.

Socio-economical problem.

Most of cities in developing countries shows socio-economical problem. Some cities can afford costly rail-based transit for there commuters and have to look other option. Sometime social problem become hindrance in application of effective transit solution, such some people reign out from their property due to such project and many more.

Environmental problem and energy consumption.

Pollution, including noise, generated by circulation has become a serious impediment to the quality of life and even the health of urban populations. Further, energy consumption by urban transportation has dramatically increased and so the dependency on petroleum.

High level of accident and lack of safety rules.

Growing traffic in urban areas is linked with a growing number of accidents and fatalities, especially in developing countries. Accidents account for a significant share of recurring delays. As traffic increases, people feel less safe to use the streets.

This lack of capability of today's urban transport makes us, to have better option for transport mode having qualities to solve the problem related to urban transport. BRT is the one of the best mode, which more familiar today in world, because it is very cost effective mode than other, more sustainable; easier and faster and construct and eco-friendly.


"Cities are an invention to maximise exchange opportunities and to minimise travel... The role of transport is to help mainmise exchange."

David Engwicht, writer and activist (1999, p.19)

4.1 What is BRTS?

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is high-quality bus based transit system that have ability to provide competitiveness to private mode of transport by delivering economical, relilable, comfort and fast urban mobility by having segregated right-of-way infrastructure, fast and frequent operations, and unique in marketing and customer service. BRT is more economical and fexible mode of transport compare to modern rail-base transit system. BRT system will typically cost 4 to 20 times less than a light rail transit (LRT) system and 10to 100 times less than a metro system.

BRT is recognized by different name in different countries of the world as follow:

Busway System;


Express Bus Systems;

Surface Metro;

High-Quality Bus Systems;

High-Capacity Bus System.

However, it is realized that the concept and term will continue to evolve. Many pervious documents have also contributed definitions for BRT. Some are as below:

BRT is "a flexible, rubber-tired rapid-transit mode that combines stations, vehicles, services, running ways, and Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) elements into an integrated system with a strong positive identity that evokes a unique image." (Levinson et al., 2003, p. 12)

"BRT is high-quality, customer-orientated transit that delivers fast, comfortable and cost effective urban mobility." (Wright, 2003, p. 1)

BRT is "a rapid mode of transportation that can combine the quality of rail transit and the flexibility of buses." (Thomas, 2001).

From the above definition it is clear that, BRT is different from other conventional bus services. In point of fact, the definitions mind to imply that BRT has far more in same with rail-based systems, particularly in the field of operating performance and customer service. BRT has undertake aspects of metros and LRT most attracted by public transport customers and make these impute more accessible to larger extends in cities. The main different view between urban rail transit and BRT can mainly be that it provides high-quality public transport services at very low cost that cities can render.

Now a day, BRT concepts are becoming more popular and highly practice by cities looking for economical transit solutions. Moreover, BRT's users aim will likely remain its defining features. The developers of high-quality BRT systems in cities like Bogota, Brisbane, Rouen, Guayaquil, Curitiba and Ottawa observed that the eventual objective was to swiftly, economical, efficiently and flexible movement of more and more people rather than cars.


BRT includes bus system with many physical and operational elements that provide higher capacity, better performance and a stronger image than regular buses. The minimal features a BRT must have are as below (Vukan R. Vuchic 2005):

Predominantly ROW B, which is not shared by other modes.

Distinct stops or stations with good passenger protection, information, and fare collection equipment spaced on the average at least 300-400 m apart in central city with greater distances in suburban and outlying areas.

Distinctive line with frequent, reliable service and regular headways during all daily hours

Buses with attractive design, number and size of doors, low floor, or high platform that allow passenger exchange at stops and stations

Preferential treatment at intersections

Use of ITS techniques for monitoring vehicle locations and movements, passenger information, and fare collection.

Typical BRT, such as a line with physically protected lanes, operating articulated buses at 2-min headways during peak hours, offers a capacity of 3000 to 5000 spaces/hour. Much greater capacities can be reduced on lines with multiple stations, with four lanes at stations allowing overtaking of buses, or even four-lane roadways along most section of a line, like that in Bogota.


There are main two main determinants namely- cost of infrastructure and passenger capacity that have to be kept in mind, while choosing public transit mode. Traditionally a strict set of technology capacity has meant that buses, LRT, and metro rail operate only within rather narrowly defined conditions (Figure 4.1). Thus demand characteristic of any corridor's determine the possible technology. It was believed that, bus services provide a capacity of passenger ranging from 5,000 to 6,000 passengers per hour per direction (pphpd) while LRT could cover from 6,000 to 12,000 pphpd and anything beyond that require a metro.

Today the view regarding the buses as changed, successful implemented BRTS in Bogota has now achieved an actual peak capacity of 45,000 pphpd. The current operating range of today's different transport mode as shown in figure 4.2

Besides having advantage of more capacity, BRTS also provide same additional solution to real fact such, reduction in emission of greenhouse gas such as CO2, NOX, SO2 and other which create various breathing problems. The following table shows the reduction such harmful gas by implementation of BRTS in Bogota, Columbia.

Table 4.1 Reduction of harmful gases by BRTS


(% of mobile source emissions)

TransMilenio (replacement of fleet + more efficient operations)

Modal Shift

(from private vehicle to transit and non-motorized transport)
















Source: Calculations by the author include a replacement of 1,500 obsolete buses by 709 new buses, and a reduction of auto trips by 26% (from 1,741,492 in 1998 -16%- to 1,295,970 -11%-). Emission rates from Duarte, 2001.


Predominantly Asian developing cities, megacities have been established under city plans that based only land transport development and with a weakness of land use control, that result in many drawbacks which includes traffic congestion, high urban sprawl, pollution (air/noise) etc. These hindrance consequently become obstruction to BRT execution. Most of limiting circumstances to system implementation in such Asian developing cities are as below:

Obstacle in functioning of BRT system

With penurious early city planning, the city plans unable to consolidate BRT system in to urban street plan, which create hindrance in attempt of obtaining exclusive lane integration. It really requires a better planning to establish the busway for BRT system, mainly in constructing the busway on existing road surfaces because most of Asian developing cities roads are very narrow or have only less number of existing road surfaces. Sometime, along highly congested section an elevated busway is required. At inter sections, practice of Transit Signal Priority is also another issue requiring a good system design. For instance BRT corridor which is designed to pass a major intersection with high traffic flow, than Transit Signal Priority system would be designed to give important to the bus, and to concurrently minimize negative impact to traffic to other approaches, chiefly from cross-street traffic. At junction with small delay, this signal priority system may not be essential. Nevertheless, detailed and prefect planning of BRT functioning and its impacts on other traffic are necessary for it successful implementation. One of the best way to achieve good BRT system in these city is the application of micro-simulation modelling.

Inadequate demand for BRT system

The main reason behind fast growing cities in Asian developing countries is urban sprawl. In absence of proper planning and land utilization control, the urban sprawl in these cities has boom constantly and unmanageably over a

Figure of public transit comaparsion. 4.1 & 4.2

long time. Such as, during the period 1965-1985, the urban sprawl has increase so rapid and continuously than Tokyo and these is due to low density distributed over all city. Hence, it is more difficult to support BRT system, for the any corridor which highly in need of it.

Insufficiency of introduction of BRT system to the public

Almost in many Asian developing cities, BRT system is an innovative transit solution. It seems that people in these cities still do not understand clearly the idea and features of the BRT system. They are unable to identify different between ordinary bus system and BRT system. Due to this, BRT system still seems unattractive to the majority, mainly since its development requires turning an existing lane into an exclusive bus lane, some people have negative attitudes for that it may cause high congestion along the BRT corridor.

After comparing cities with successful BRT operation and that with Asian developing cities, element that might create brake to BRT system execution are: 1) Existing city road pattern: there is insufficient space for the development of other transit lane and there is critical traffic congestion. 2) Land use patterns: predominantly many cities of Asia shows high level of urban sprawl, resulting in low population density that expanded at greater extend over an entire city area.

So, it is clear that, BRT system alone is incapable and almost impractical able to implement successfully an apt planning is required to support BRT system development.

While concluding this section it can be seen that even though being a more efficient mode of transport BRTS as same issues that we have to analysis while its implementation in developing countries. So in order to find sound solution we have to carry case studies on successful BRTS project, both in developed and developing countries which might have such problem. By carrying out detail study on how it is implemented and how successful they are today in solving urban transport, help to analysis the application BRTS in developing countries. The scope of my dissertation report is to, find out the answer of above questions and analysis the implementation of ongoing BRTS project in one the developing countries.


The research methodology which has been adopted for the dissertation report are mainly divided into three stages- detail literature review; case studies on BRTS; analysing and discussing the case studies. This makes us to move towards the objectives that have been discussed in this review report.

Stage 1: Detail Literature review

The process and review in the different area for the literature review are discussed in the being of this report in introduction to literature review. It main shows main area of review which supports to reach our aim of dissertation report. Beside this, there are only some secondary review are need to be carried out to support the importance of BRTS in improving the image of urban transport in today's world specially in developing countries.

Stage 2: Undertaking case studies on BRTS

This stage of undertaking case studies on BRTS, helps us to evaluate and show how BRTS is managed in this real world. This stage consists of case studies on two- three BRTS project which is all ready being workout, to study how it was implemented; how they helped to reduce the problem of urban transport; how friendly they are towards environment by reducing the content of greenhouse gases; how they are more cost effective and sustainable than other modes of transport. Moreover this stage also include the some issue that are raced during it implementation and practise, which are supposed to solve.

Stage 3: To analysis and discussing the case studies

At this stage the information that obtained from literature review is to used to weigh up, analyse and discuss the case studies. This will involve understanding the current practise of BRTS in world. This analysis help in demonstrating the practice different countries has used to come out from several issues of BRT system implementation. It also shows new technology and innovative solutions that today's BRTS adopted. It will also race some research question while it implementation to other countries (mainly developing countries) that, how BRTS will be cost-effective mode of transport for them; how sustainable it is; what level it will reduce to problem of urban transport and more.