- Bus Rapid Transit for Sunnyvale (BRTS)

While Sunnyvale has VTA Light Rail passing through the North end of town, Caltrain passing through downtown, and a meandering VTA bus service, these do not form a useful and efficient public transportation system for Sunnyvale. Sunnyvale effectively has islands of neighborhoods that are effectively only connected by personal vehicles. This unnecessarily increases traffic, parking, and towing issues, makes travel difficult for those who can’t drive, and limits participation in downtown and public services. While some of us bike and ebike all around the city, few are comfortable traveling or encouraging their loved ones to travel in traffic on the North/South connectors like Fair Oaks or Lawrence.

To solve this, in addition to creating a Bicycle Highway, Sunnyvale should have a Bus Rapid Transit for Sunnyvale (BRTS). This should consist of 1-4 loops that continually cycle between VTA Light Rail stations on Tasman, the Caltrain stations at Lawrence and Murphy, El Camino, the library / city services plaza, certain parks and neighborhood access points, and high-traffic businesses. A BRTS system should have these characteristics:

  1. Free so that there is no delay for paying. Supported by:
    1. Corporate sponsors, who will directly benefit by use by their employees.
    2. Advertising.
    3. Businesses who will benefit from additional foot traffic. (Restaurants, hotels, etc.)
  2. Nearly continuous movement, ideally stopping only to load & unload. Enabled by:
    1. Predictive traffic signals.
    2. Modeled traffic patterns and timing.
    3. Dynamically dedicated BRTS lanes: Add road signals and a bus transponder so that as a bus approaches, vehicles are notified that the should exit the shared use lane so that the bus is not impeded. (This seems to be a new idea.)
  3. Advanced buses with:
    1. rapid loading / unloading features,
    2. luggage / shopping storage,
    3. easy use bike racks,
    4. safety cameras and sensors,
    5. wifi, and
    6. power.
    7. Efficient buses. Ideally, electric or hybrid buses, perhaps with short areas with overhead charging.
  4. Web site and mobile app that indicates:
    1. where buses are,
    2. when they will arrive,
    3. how full they have been and usually are at that time.
  5. Backup system for when there isn’t enough ridership for buses:
    1. Pedicabs on the Sunnyvale Bicycle Highway.
    2. Uber & Lyft fill-in, perhaps with a special arrangement.
    3. Bus on demand, perhaps coordinating a number of people by mobile app to reach a threshold.

Related: Audi’s Traffic Light Information System What is BRT?

Topics:

- Bus Rapid Transit for Sunnyvale (BRTS)

While Sunnyvale has VTA Light Rail passing through the North end of town, Caltrain passing through downtown, and a meandering VTA bus service, these do not form a useful and efficient public transportation system for Sunnyvale. Sunnyvale effectively has islands of neighborhoods that are effectively only connected by personal vehicles. This unnecessarily increases traffic, parking, and towing issues, makes travel difficult for those who can’t drive, and limits participation in downtown and public services. While some of us bike and ebike all around the city, few are comfortable traveling or encouraging their loved ones to travel in traffic on the North/South connectors like Fair Oaks or Lawrence.

To solve this, in addition to creating a Bicycle Highway, Sunnyvale should have a Bus Rapid Transit for Sunnyvale (BRTS). This should consist of 1-4 loops that continually cycle between VTA Light Rail stations on Tasman, the Caltrain stations at Lawrence and Murphy, El Camino, the library / city services plaza, certain parks and neighborhood access points, and high-traffic businesses. A BRTS system should have these characteristics:

  1. Free so that there is no delay for paying. Supported by:
    1. Corporate sponsors, who will directly benefit by use by their employees.
    2. Advertising.
    3. Businesses who will benefit from additional foot traffic. (Restaurants, hotels, etc.)
  2. Nearly continuous movement, ideally stopping only to load & unload. Enabled by:
    1. Predictive traffic signals.
    2. Modeled traffic patterns and timing.
    3. Dynamically dedicated BRTS lanes: Add road signals and a bus transponder so that as a bus approaches, vehicles are notified that the should exit the shared use lane so that the bus is not impeded. (This seems to be a new idea.)
  3. Advanced buses with:
    1. rapid loading / unloading features,
    2. luggage / shopping storage,
    3. easy use bike racks,
    4. safety cameras and sensors,
    5. wifi, and
    6. power.
    7. Efficient buses. Ideally, electric or hybrid buses, perhaps with short areas with overhead charging.
  4. Web site and mobile app that indicates:
    1. where buses are,
    2. when they will arrive,
    3. how full they have been and usually are at that time.
  5. Backup system for when there isn’t enough ridership for buses:
    1. Pedicabs on the Sunnyvale Bicycle Highway.
    2. Uber & Lyft fill-in, perhaps with a special arrangement.
    3. Bus on demand, perhaps coordinating a number of people by mobile app to reach a threshold.

Related: Audi’s Traffic Light Information System What is BRT?