BRT Chicago

July 2013

Entries From 14 Countries Show How Bus Rapid Transit Station Design Can Be Transformative

The Chicago Architecture Foundation and the Chicago Architectural Club announced the winners of the 2013 Burnham Prize Competition--NEXT STOP: Designing Chicago BRT Stations—at a packed event at CAF.

Forty-two entries were submitted to NEXT STOP, representing design teams from 14 countries. The NEXT STOP competition challenged designers worldwide to propose a vision for iconic, functional and sustainable stations for Chicago’s planned Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system. Each competition entry includes a station prototype and variations for three neighborhoods—the Loop, Bucktown-Logan Square and Pilsen.

According to Chicago Architecture Foundation CEO Lynn Osmond, the design ideas submitted represent an innovative vision for the transit station of the future. “Visionary and functional, these designs are much more than bus stops,” Osmond said. “We believe the ideas presented here can and should inform the future of BRT in Chicago.”

First Place
Form vs. Uniform: Generative Chicago BRT Stations
Hesam T. Rostami and Bahareh Atash from Toronto
(Image above)

Second Place
Goi Artetxe and Elise Katherine Renwick from Chicago

Third Place
Conor O'Shea and Aneesha Dharwadker from Boston

To see the press release, click here.

A Look at Bus Rapid Transit Chicago

See Gabe Klein, Commissioner of Chicago Department of Transportation, Rebekah Scheinfeld, Chief Planning Officer of the Chicago Transit Authority, Warren Ribley, Executive Director of th Illinois Medical District and Demond Drummer, Tech Organizer of Teamwork Englewood speak on the importance of BRT in Chicago.

Watch the video here.

Supporters Continue to Sign Up to Back BRT in Chicago

Businesses, schools and non-profits are signing up to support the development of a Bus Rapid Transit network in Chicago. In the past few weeks, the following organizations declared support for modern, reliable and fast public transit:

Center for Neighborhood Technology
Chicago Architectural Club
Machrie Enterprises, LLC

See the full list of supporters to the right.

To become a BRT supporter, click here, or connect with Chris Ziemann, BRT Chicago, at, or through John Harris, a5, at

BRT Cleveland Case Study

In Cleveland, Ohio, Bus Rapid Transit has transformed Euclid Avenue, generating $4.3 billion in investment. The 6.8-mile stretch running from Public Square in downtown Cleveland to the Louis Stokes Station at Windermere in East Cleveland had long been in decline. Empty lots and abandoned buildings lined the former Millionaire's Row, until the Cleveland RTA established a Bus Rapid Transit option (Heathline) connecting the city’s main employment centers – including downtown Cleveland, the Cleveland Clinic and University Hospital – with more than 200,000 employees and 58,000 households within just a half a mile.

The idea for modern transportation was inspired by the Curitiba BRT line in Brazil. The main draw that was seen from the transportation in Brazil was the affordable rail like quality that this bus system would provide.

The creation of the Cleveland Euclid Avenue HealthLine BRT system began in 2005 including level boarding platforms, off-bus fare collections and traffic lights that change strictly for busses. The local leadership amongst state government, businesses and organization was key in establishing the Bus Rapid Transit in Cleveland.

After three years of the Cleveland BRT system running, the city saw a significant change. Cleveland experienced a 60% rider increase and a 34% speed increase in terms of travel. This $200 million investment has led to an average of over 14,000 weekday riders The economic development along Euclid Avenue after the new transportation system was in place is one noteworthy example of the impact BRT has had on Cleveland. The ultimate outcome was a $4.3 billion real estate investment along the BRT line. The new bus system incorporates city transportation in an efficient way with bus routes connecting all of the main streets and businesses throughout Cleveland.

The BRT project in Cleveland was not just about widening streets for buses; the project involved adding sidewalks, utilities, street lights and signs all to make the city more accessible for residents. Public art, landscapes and urban forests were also integrated into the project creating a true renovation. The RTA which runs the HealthLine has received a 90% approval rate and a 92% reliability rate from its customers. The transformation that has occurred in the heart of Cleveland is an excellent example of the efficient and reliable transportation that BRT can provide.

Cities Get on Board with Better, Reliable Transportation

With Millennials leading America’s historic decline in driving, cities are exploring ways to attract young professionals through reliable mass transit. Benjamin de la Pena and Nicholas Turner argue that Bus Rapid Transit is the optimal solution.

Young people across the country are decreasing the amount they drive and increasing their use of public transit. Meet Jacob Curtis, a 29 year old young professional who was recently featured in The New York Times. Jacob moved to Charlotte for a new job. He found a home close to bus and rail lines. His home is in a location where he can ride his bike to the office along a no-traffic greenway. During his off hours, he navigates the Queen City easily thanks to his smartphone, which helps him plot routes that blend biking and mass transit options.

Sound familiar? It should, because Jacob is just one example of many Millennials who would rather use public transportation, bike-share or walk instead of drive. According to a report just released by U.S. PIRG Education Fund and the Frontier Group, 16 to 34-year-olds drove 23 percent fewer miles on average in 2009 than in 2001 (a decrease from 10,300 miles to 7,900 miles per capita). Over that same period, the number of passenger miles traveled per capita by 16 to 34-year-olds on public transit increased by 40 percent.

To read more, click here.

What is BRT Chicago?

BRT Chicago is a unique collaboration of city agencies and non-profit partners. CTA, CDOT, and DHED, with the work of the Metropolitan Planning Council, the Active Transportation Alliance, the Civic Consulting Alliance, and the Chicago Architecture Foundation, are working to plan and implement a successful Bus Rapid Transit program in Chicago. Each partner provides its own expertise to make the BRT a comprehensive project of transportation, land use, design, and sustainability.

BRT has been identified as an effective transportation solution in Chicago. Mayor Rahm Emanuel has pledged to develop BRT in Chicago. The Chicago Climate Action Plan also identifies BRT as a cost-effective way to expand the city’s transit network. To meet increased demand, the CTA is using elements of BRT on its new Jeffery Jump service, and will along Madison and Washington Streets in the central business district to connect Union Station with Navy Pier. The CTA, in partnership with the Chicago Department of Transportation and the Department of Housing and Economic Development, is planning the potential BRT routes along Ashland Avenue.

Learn More

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