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Today in Chicago Transportation Ideas: Bus Rapid Transit and an Apps Contest

The Metropolitan Planning Council suggests a much more ambitious (and expensive) version of ultra-express buses than the CTA plans to roll out in the next couple years. Plus: a chance to build, or at least judge, computer apps for Chicagoans.

* John Hilkevitch brings news that the Metropolitan Planning Council has proposed a ten-bus BRT (bus rapid transit) network, which would act as something of a substitute for the El in areas that are currently under-served by it, and to speed transit north-south, a sometimes-laborious direction to commute in because of the way the El radiates out from the Loop:

Bus Rapid Transit Chicago

 

At $13 million a mile (considerably less, obviously, than light rail), the 95 proposed miles would cost about $1.2 billion—unlikely without substantial federal government funding, which if you read the tea leaves, is unlikely to come out of D.C. anytime soon.

For the time being, we have a little experiment to look forward to beginning in Fall of next year: a portion of the #14 Jeffrey Express is being converted to BRT, or as Forrest Claypool put it, “BRT light.” What does that mean? Only 16 blocks will have dedicated BRT lanes, from 67th to 83rd Streets, while changes south of that will be more modest. The bus will go from BRT very-light to BRT light. And you can see the difference in the estimated travel times:

 

* If you want to fix the city yourself, the public-private, somewhat awkwardly named but nonetheless awesome Apps for Metro Chicago is soliciting entries. The deadline for transportation apps has passed, but public voting on them opens Friday, and there’s still time to enter in the Community and Grand Challenge contests.

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