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So, What’s the Design Process for Bus Rapid Transit?

Bus Rapid Transit, or BRT, goes through a robust planning and conceptual design/layout process to determine how it looks, feels, and operates in your community.

Tyler Besch

October 4, 2022

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Hi, I’m Tyler Besch and I am excited to be a part of the Phoenix Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) team. Now that Phoenix City Council approved  35th Avenue/Van Buren Street as the first BRT corridor in Phoenix, we are transitioning into the next phase of the project and that’s where my team comes in! We will be leading the effort to produce conceptual design plans for the corridor. Conceptual design refers to a process that determines where within the street the bus will operate and evaluates any potential impacts on the surrounding area. This phase will also allow the BRT team to identify ways to minimize the overall cost of the project before moving into final design. So, what does that mean and how do we do it?

The conceptual design phase of any transit project is best described as the transition from high-level planning (fat marker lines on a map) to a more detailed design (which side of the street). This process includes a lot of conversations and collaboration with the community – that’s you. We will connect with you and other key stakeholders to talk through design options, a process called an “Alternatives Analysis,” that determines pros and cons of each option and, ultimately, begins the design of the project that will be advanced in future design phases.

Community Conversations and Co-creation

Engaging and collaborating with key stakeholders and the community early and often throughout the conceptual design phase will help us develop a community vision for the 35th Avenue/Van Buren Street corridor. In order to promote collaboration and co-creation with key stakeholders, we will be facilitating a BRT workshop where agency stakeholders will be invited to participate in the development of project goals and objectives that will be our foundation for decision-making throughout this process.

In December 2019, the Phoenix BRT team held a technical workshop to review the six potential corridors based on the results of the transit technical analysis and to obtain input on potential BRT network scenarios.

Alternatives Analysis and Evaluation

The Alternatives Analysis helps us identify and avoid fatal flaws in the project. A fatal flaw causes an unanticipated problem that would prevent the project from moving forward. We want to identify and avoid these problems as early as possible so the decisions we make now can be carried through to the final design phase of the project.

Conceptual Design Plans

The development of conceptual design plans will incorporate all of the conversations with the community and the evaluation of several alternatives, to build a plan that establishes the project “footprint.” The project footprint includes intersection treatments, for example, turning lanes; station platforms and layouts; and bus lane widths. During this phase, we will create graphics (see examples below) to better understand these options and their potential impacts.



We are excited to kick off this phase of the project and are looking forward to helping deliver the city of Phoenix’s first BRT corridor!