In the state of Rio de Janeiro, Niterói pioneered the use of biometrics in public transportation and could continue this trend by becoming the first city in Latin America to adopt a BHLS, (Bus with High Level of Service), the English acronym to define a bus system with high quality services. The bus system will circulate in the TransOceânica highway, which is a 9.3 km expressway that will connect the neighborhood of Engenho do Mato to Charitas. The complete project, budgeted at $310 million, is one of the largest investments in mobility in the city's history.
According to information from the city, currently 39% of households and 487,000 inhabitants use the car as their primary means of transportation. Motorbikes are used by 3% of the population, while approximately 50% of residents use public transportation. When opened, the BHLS system has the potential to change those percentages.
The concept of the BHLS began to take shape beginning in the 1990s, when major European cities began adopting a series of measures to establish their systems of public transportation around the bus. Dedicated lanes, real-time information at stations and prioritization at intersections are part of this system. All aspects were designed with the goal of providing a superior level of service and comfort to passengers by bus, thus attracting more users to public transport.
The Niterói project provides a number of attributes including air conditioned vehicles, and smaller, shorter buses with wi-fi. Along with comfort, the BHLS bus also ensures faster service, allowing buses to travel in both the dedicated and regular lanes. The system will also have a special signaling system that prolongs the signal light as the vehicle approaches. Another benefit will be the integration with other types of transportation such as the Charitas waterway.
In an interview with O Dia, Guillermo Petzhold, transportation engineer for EMBARQ Brazil, assessed the benefits the system will bring to Niterói: "The difference between the systems is that BRT is geared for people who use mass transit and BHLS is geared towards those who use private transport. Brazil lacks quality public transportation, and Niterói can improve this. It is a commendable approach."
When completed - forecasted for the first half of 2016 - it is estimated that the TransOceânica BHLS system will benefit 78,000 passengers daily.
What sort of bus system does your city offer? Does your city have a BRT or BHLS system?
Original article, originally published in Portuguese, here.
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