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Bus Rapid Transit: Reducing Traffic Congestion in Kane C...

Bus Rapid Transit: Reducing Traffic Congestion in Kane County, Illinois

Kane County, IL, like most developing counties across the United States, faces a significant challenge in addressing the issue of mounting traffic congestion.  One of Kane County’s major thoroughfares, Randall Road, has been epitomizing this issue.  As traffic congestion becomes more and more of a problem on Randall Road, the Kane County Division of Transportation

Elgin, IL Bus StopKane County, IL, like most developing counties across the United States, faces a significant challenge in addressing the issue of mounting traffic congestion.  One of Kane County’s major thoroughfares, Randall Road, has been epitomizing this issue.  As traffic congestion becomes more and more of a problem on Randall Road, the Kane County Division of Transportation has been working ardently to find a solution. After looking at the issue from a range of perspectives, they think that they may have finally found the answer – Bus Rapid Transit.

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is a high quality transit service that integrates a variety of strategies aimed at improving transit travel speed, reliability, passenger comfort, and transit identity over traditional fixed-route bus service. The implementation of BRT can take on a variety of manifestations, but usually employs many common strategies, including:

  • A way for BRT vehicles to bypass traffic congestion, such as traffic signal priority or dedicated lanes;
  • Fewer stops than typical bus service;
  • Supportive land uses (mixture of high density residential and commercial properties);
  • Stations that allow for the quick loading/unloading of passengers;
  • Vehicles that permit the transportation of more passengers than traditional bus service;
  • An expedited fare collection system;
  • Connections to other forms of transit (rail, bus, bike, etc.);
  • And a recognizable brand.

Community Benefits of BRTKane County envisions using BRT as a mechanism for transforming Randall Road from an auto-dominated commercial corridor to a pedestrian-friendly, multi-modal corridor while promoting economic development in the corridor.In order to make this transformation sustainable, the land uses along Randall Road need to be re-envisioned to better accommodate BRT in the long run. This would entail an urban planning initiative that would look at increasing the density of all uses, especially residential uses, to ensure that there are enough people and destinations located within the corridor to sustain a full-fledged BRT service.

What do you think of BRT as a viable transportation alternative? Has BRT been implemented in your community?

Credits: Images by Sean Glowacz and Kane County.  Data linked to sources.

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Sean Glowacz holds a Masters of Urban Planning and Public Policy degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Sean spent two years at the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning as a Research Assistant. His work focused on various tasks relate...

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