Bus Rapid Transit in Raleigh


One thing I just thought about - let’s say that BRT doesn’t serve Raleigh Union Station. How will that affect the GoTriangle multimodal transit center that is going to be built next to Raleigh Union Station??


I don’t see any way that it makes sense for the BRT line to not have direct access to Union Station. If the GoRaleigh Bus Station is going to remain in operation where it is, it too should have direct BRT access.


I submitted my input on the public input portal as well as by email to the project manager for the city. Thanks for the recommendation, @pierretong. I am skeptical but hopeful that this can get any traction. This is really important, it’s literally where the rubber meets the road at the interface between transit and the city.


Can you share your alternative for our consideration when replying to the BRT survey?


(Posted it to a different thread before.)

One key point is that the shared one way loop concept is extremely flexible. Any entry point for any line will work. The streets I have shown (Wilmington, Lane, West, and Martin) seem like the best balance to me, but there are other possibilities too. This plan is counter clockwise, but to go clockwise use Blount on the eastern edge instead of Wilmington. On the north, Jones or Edenton would work too. Same for Harrington or Dawson on the west, and Davie and Hargett on the south. I think focusing on the concept rather than dogmatically insisting on a specific plan is probably the best way since it invites further investigation and study, and is harder to just reject outright on the basis of some specific nitpick.


So the most ambitious thing shown in the orulz alternative is the new connection between Morgan and Western, between Morehead School and Central Prison. That is an old idea and I think it would be a great addition to the BRT network but it would also be expensive.

Here is an alternate version that requires no such significant new construction like that:


If you really wanted to make that plan cost-effective and minimize the length of road you’d have to repave, you could even merge the western and southern branches south of the “loop”.

Basically, instead of having the western branch pass through McDowell/Dawson, I was thinking it could just keep going down MLK and turn north at Wilmington. This has the added marketing benefit of providing extra service to the Convention Center and the Duke Energy Center.

Looking at the presentation and its press coverage, though, I’m getting the impression that the biggest possible drawbacks to the Orulz idea would be potential parking impacts… do you have any ideas how bad that could be/how you could mitigate that?


Yes, you are right the west and south branches could be combined on approach to downtown. Your suggestion of Wilmington/Salisbury makes sense, but they could be combined onto Saunders/Dawson/McDowell or even the West Street extensiom too as an alternative. It’s all about the flexibility.

Sharing the route of the South line could also be considered the temporary plan for the West line, until the Western Morgan connector can be built. That connector is ambitious but frankly it’s not nearly as ambitious as the West Street extension which will be really expensive due to how it will go under (rather than over) active railroad tracks.

My honest opinion about on street parking impacts is that people should go park in decks or take alternate transportation. The N&O article does make a fairly big deal of how narrow the streets are downtown. If that’s the case then why are we using so much of it for storing empty vehicles rather than for things like bus and bike lanes that will actually contribute to mobility? Nevertheless I expect the status quo to die hard.

At any rate I don’t think my plan is too extreme in terms of parking impacts.


Honestly, this is a far better solution than any of the four scenarios presented on Wednesday. I added my comments suggesting such an alternate in the survey, and I hope others will too. This needs more attention.



This was literally on my mind all the time for a month or more. (Yeah, I know.) I couldn’t think of any good solutions. I considered many simple ideas that missed important destinations, and convoluted complex ones that hit everything. Basically lots of options that looked like alternatives A thru D, but nothing was satisfying.

Then @Will posted his idea here for a loop and it was like a revelation. I further refined that idea and that is what you see above.


Mostly for the blog, I chopped and split the map graphics into one mega-graphic. I know this helps me really compare them side-to-side, maybe it’ll help others.


Just to add a few thoughts here — my cousin lives in Richmond and I recently asked her about the Pulse BRT that runs there. She liked it overall, but felt that it wasn’t as good as it could be. In addition to needing signal priority, she said that it ran parallel to several existing bus routes (according to the system map, sometimes on the same street) and thus was slightly unnecessary. I believe slow speed was also a point she raised.

If Raleigh can learn from those issues also, I believe we have a great potential for success in our plans.


Anybody feel strongly about one of the four alternatives? If I were forced to pick one, I’d probably side with Alternative B at this point.


I don’t love any of them but if I had to pick I guess it’d be A because it’s the only one that touches both Moore Square and RUS.


I like C only because it offers the most tier 1 bike infrastructure.


I finally got around to doing the survey before it ends, and I am going with C. I already use the 10 bus to get to work and home, and the 100,105 are great for getting down Hillsborough St. So, I decided that the services that actually moves the fastest and has lowest times was best for BRT. I still have the rest of our system and my feet to get around a few blocks in each direction downtown.

If we are getting Bus Rapid Transit I am voting for the most Rapid option.


I am a huge proponent for speed and think C is the best. I question the need to connect to RUS and GoRaleigh, I haven’t seen any information to prove to me that we need this connection.

At the same time, I’d like to see data showing that there will be lots of transfers taking place between RUS and BRT, between GoRaleigh and BRT to change my mind. Since I’m not seeing that, I’ll take speed (Scenario C) at this time.

For me, I don’t want us to just make connections for connections sake. I’d like to see some thought put around it. It’s my understanding that we are moving away from our current “hub and spoke” model and creating some more “cross town” connections. Perhaps those bus routes would perfectly serve some while a fast BRT serves others.

I’ll leave it at that for now, see if anyone has any thoughts around future connections but when I think about commuting patterns, I really don’t want to see the system slow down as it crawls through downtown.


I really struggle to choose from among A,B,C,D because they all have showstopper flaws to me.

I might try to come up with a modified D that at least gets the Capital Blvd line a few blocks closer to Union Station.


To me, transfers are pretty critical.

Don’t have numbers, but I believe I have read that, even in the subways in New York and Washington DC there are not many people that stay on a single transit line through the central area. Most people coming from uptown Manhattan, will get off their train somewhere in Midtown, whether to go to their final destination or to change to another train. Other people will get on the same train headed toward Brooklyn.

Running through does help from an operational perspective in that trains don’t have to turn, which is time consuming, but the number of passengers who save time due to not having to change trains is relatively small when compared to the total number of passengers riding.

Think of it this way. Out of all the people coming from Capital Blvd, how many of those people would be heading to a destination on South Saunders Street (or Western Blvd as the case may be), compared to the number of people heading to absolutely anywhere else in town?

Another fact is that, in a city like Raleigh without a highly radial, poorly gridded street network, most of the transfers will take place downtown. There is some room for adding a grid structure to the network somewhat, but I don’t think we’ll ever get away from a lot of transfers happening downtown.

One thing that I would entertain is moving the downtown transfer center somewhere else, between Dawson, and McDowell. Then I could go for Alt C. Somebody on here made the suggestion of including it in a new municipal complex. Though not perfect, that’s about the best place for it to go. But I don’t think moving the GoRaleigh station is on the radar at all.


100% follow what you’re saying. There is no way everything we want to do is along major transit lines so transferring is common. I guess I’m just not convinced that all transfers have to happen solely at RUS and GoRaleigh. The times I’ve used transit in NY and DC, I’m not sure I ever really went to a major hub to transfer. I just transferred where lines crossed each other.

When I think about the common complaints around transit right now, the major one being time spent on the bus compared to driving, I’m just concerned that the new system will run slowly still and not sell well to potential choice riders.

I cringe at scenario A due to all that coverage. Now maybe with signaling and proper planning it might work, I’m open to it, but I just don’t see it useful when I get on a BRT bus on one end and it’s been like 10-15 minutes before I actually leave downtown. That doesn’t feel like a “rapid” service to me.

I’m sure a balance between convenience and speed is needed here so I’ll be the voice voting for speed. :wink: