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Offering similar benefits to rail, but at a fraction of the cost, Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) will make the most of Chicago's existing street infrastructure to better connect people to neighborhoods and destinations across the city. This new form of public transportation not only will increase access to jobs, retail and institutions, including schools and hospitals, but also will run more efficiently than a regular bus, saving riders time and money.
The City of Chicago has big BRT plans, most significantly the development of a system plan to scope out future priority BRT routes. Already, individual routes are in the works: momentum continues to build for the Central Loop BRT route along Madison and Washington, as the City prepares to release the design, and soon the City will announce the locally preferred alternative for the Western and Ashland corridors. Meanwhile, the Chicago Dept. of Housing and Economic Development will begin a land use study for both corridors, and the Chicago Architecture Foundation is gearing up to kick off a station design competition in March to help influence new BRT stations.
Planning for BRT in Chicago has induced unprecedented partnerships between multiple City agencies and nonprofit organizations. At this roundtable, Gabe Klein, commissioner of the Chicago Dept. of Transportation; Nick Turner, managing director of the Rockefeller Foundation; Rebekah Scheinfeld, chief planning officer, Chicago Transit Authority; and Warren Ribley, executive director of the Illinois Medical District, will discuss exciting developments for this new form of transportation in Chicago.