Craig Shankwitz, Director, Intelligent Vehicles Lab, Mechanical Engineering
The FTA has identified the concept of Bus Rapid Transit as a means to increase the efficiency of transit operations while maintaining transit's proven safety record. According to the FTA website www.fta.dot.gov, BRT combines the quality of rail transit and the flexibility of buses. It can operate on exclusive transitways, HOV lanes, expressways, or ordinary streets. A BRT system combines intelligent transportation systems technology, priority for transit, cleaner and quieter vehicles, rapid and convenient fare collection, and integration with land use policy. Because of the limited right-of-way available to build new (and possibly dedicated) lanes for BRT operations, the FTA has identified lane assist as an emerging technology which will enable deployment of BRT systems. The premise behind lane assist technology is to increase the safety of BRT vehicles as they operate in the more unique environments, such as narrow lanes. Lane assist technology will allow BRT vehicles to operate at the desired higher operating speeds while maintaining the safety of the passengers, BRT vehicle and the motoring public.