March 04 2013

Bus Rapid Transit: Reducing Traffic Congestion in Kane County, Illinois

Elgin, IL Bus StopKane County, IL, like most developing counties across the United States, faces a significant challenge in addressing the issue of mounting traffic congestion.  One of Kane County’s major thoroughfares, Randall Road, has been epitomizing this issue.  As traffic congestion becomes more and more of a problem on Randall Road, the Kane County Division of Transportation has been working ardently to find a solution. After looking at the issue from a range of perspectives, they think that they may have finally found the answer – Bus Rapid Transit.

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is a high quality transit service that integrates a variety of strategies aimed at improving transit travel speed, reliability, passenger comfort, and transit identity over traditional fixed-route bus service. The implementation of BRT can take on a variety of manifestations, but usually employs many common strategies, including:

  • A way for BRT vehicles to bypass traffic congestion, such as traffic signal priority or dedicated lanes;
  • Fewer stops than typical bus service;
  • Supportive land uses (mixture of high density residential and commercial properties);
  • Stations that allow for the quick loading/unloading of passengers;
  • Vehicles that permit the transportation of more passengers than traditional bus service;
  • An expedited fare collection system;
  • Connections to other forms of transit (rail, bus, bike, etc.);
  • And a recognizable brand.

Community Benefits of BRTKane County envisions using BRT as a mechanism for transforming Randall Road from an auto-dominated commercial corridor to a pedestrian-friendly, multi-modal corridor while promoting economic development in the corridor.In order to make this transformation sustainable, the land uses along Randall Road need to be re-envisioned to better accommodate BRT in the long run. This would entail an urban planning initiative that would look at increasing the density of all uses, especially residential uses, to ensure that there are enough people and destinations located within the corridor to sustain a full-fledged BRT service.

What do you think of BRT as a viable transportation alternative? Has BRT been implemented in your community?

Credits: Images by Sean Glowacz and Kane County.  Data linked to sources.

Sean Glowacz

Sean Glowacz holds a Masters of Urban Planning and Public Policy degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Sean spent two years at the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning as a Research Assistant. His work focused on various tasks related to the GO TO 2040 plan, the comprehensive regional plan to help Chicagoland’s seven counties and 284 communities plan for sustainable prosperity through mid-century and beyond. Sean was then employed by Kane County for three years as a Land Use Planner, primarily working on their Quality of Kane campaign, an effort to help bring Healthy People, Healthy Living, and Healthy Communities to Kane County through cutting-edge planning policies and practices. Currently, Sean is employed by Target Group, Inc., working on large scale economic development projects in the City of Chicago. Currently residing in Chicago, Sean introduced readers to an array of urban planning projects that are taking place throughout the Chicagoland area.

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This entry was posted on Monday, March 4th, 2013 at 9:23 am and is filed under Land Use, Transportation. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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One Response to “Bus Rapid Transit: Reducing Traffic Congestion in Kane County, Illinois”

  1. Making My Life a Little Easier: BRT Is Coming to Chicago | THE GRID | Global Site Plans Says:

    [...] about an exciting transit project that I have had the pleasure of working on in Kane County, IL – the Randall/Orchard Road Bus Rapid Transit Study.  As I stated then, “Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is a high quality transit service that integrates a [...]

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