Results of Port Authority’s Busways

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Results of Port Authority’s Busways

Pittsburgh BRT Facilities

Port Authority’s Busways

  • South Busway – 1977, 4.3 miles

  • Martin Luther King, Jr. East Busway – 1983, 6.8 miles

  • West Busway - 2000, 5.0 miles

  • Martin Luther King, Jr. East Busway Extension- 2003, 2.3 miles

  • Total length of busways is 18.4 miles

South Busway

South Busway

  • First exclusive transit facility for buses not in a highway

  • Oldest busway in North America

  • Links Downtown with Pittsburgh’s southern neighborhoods and suburbs

  • Allows buses to bypass severe congestion on Liberty Avenue, Route 51, Liberty Tunnel and Liberty Bridge

Martin Luther King, Jr. East Busway

Martin Luther King, Jr. East Busway

  • Links downtown Pittsburgh and Oakland with Pittsburgh’s eastern neighborhoods and suburbs

  • Allows buses to bypass severe congestion on Parkway East and other arterials and local streets

  • Port Authority’s busiest BRT facility

E. Busway Extension Opened 6/03

West Busway

West Busway

  • Links Downtown with Pittsburgh’s western neighborhoods and suburbs

  • Facilitates service to Pittsburgh International Airport

  • Allows buses to bypass severe congestion on Parkway West

Busway Results

Travel Time Savings

  • South Busway – 20 - 30 minutes

  • Original East Busway

    • Downtown to Wilkinsburg – 34 minutes
    • Oakland to Wilkinsburg – 25 minutes
  • East Busway with Extension

    • Downtown to Swissvale – 6 minutes
    • Oakland to Swissvale – 15 minutes
  • West Busway – 20 minutes

Ridership Trends

Current Ridership (Oct. 2003)

  • South Busway – 11,000

  • East Busway – 25,000

  • West Busway – 8,100

Average O & M Costs per Rider (FY 1995 Data)

  • South Busway - $1.03

  • East Busway - $.95

  • Remainder of Bus System - $2.55

  • Light Rail System - $3.22

Development Impacts

Development 1983-1996

  • 54 developments

  • Fair market value of $302 Million

  • New construction and renovation of existing buildings

  • Retail, office and residential uses most common

Residential Development Linked to a Station

Reuse of an Industrial Building

Medical Professional Building

Redeveloped Railroad Station

Development since 1996

West Busway Development Carnegie Borough Bldg. - Carnegie Station

Lessons Learned

Operations & Ridership

  • Significant travel time savings in heavily congested corridors achieved

  • 1995 O & M cost data indicate substantial savings per passenger compared to the rest of the bus system

  • Ridership on East Busway has been stable despite overall system decline

Development Impacts

  • The East Busway and its landscaping were major physical improvements in the corridor

  • $302 million in development 1983-1996

  • Estimated $203 million occurring since 1996

  • $505 million to date and more underway

  • This is a magnitude of investment comparable to development levels observed along rail lines in other cities.

TOD Issues

  • Consider TOD early in planning

  • TOD has not fully realized its potential along East Busway

  • A number of developments are transit-adjacent, but not transit-oriented


  • Important to provide sufficient number of PNR spaces

  • Coordination with communities involved almost as much effort for PNR as for the West Busway itself


Design Treatments Enhance Appearance of BRT Guideways – West Busway Berry Street Tunnel

Allow for Future Stations on BRT Facility

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