Bus rapid transit (BRT) and transitoriented development (TOD) : How to transform and adjust the Swedish cities for attractive bus systems like BRT? What demands BRT?

Abstract: Bus rapid transit (BRT) is an innovative bus system with sophisticated vehicles and inflexible busways integrated in the cities, high capacity and high quality, high speed and frequency, distinctive image and comfort. Many in Sweden believe that is impossible to introduce BRT, even though the Swedish towns and cities can benefit from the image, speed and frequency that BRT symbolizes. The archipelago-like urbanization, urban sprawl and the uncompetitive journey times of public transportation compared with the private car are identified as main obstacles. New questions emerged: Is it possible to transform and adjust the Swedish towns and cities for BRT? What demands BRT? How is transit-oriented development (TOD) applicable in a Swedish context as a policy to integrate cities and BRT?In this licentiate thesis I investigate the interrelationship between bus transportation and neighborhoods, between BRT and urban form as well as the possibilities to introduce busways and BRT, to trigger TOD and to transform the Swedish towns and cities for BRT. Much has been written about BRT, but seldom by architects or urban planners and designers. BRT and TOD are seen though urban form and processes of urbanization within a morphological tradition established by Kevin Lynch. BRT is represented by paths and nodes that disperse distinctive attractiveness pattern of desirability cores that shape neighborhoods as districts. TOD is about synchronizing the everyday urban life with public transportation systems. BRT-TOD is defined as a policy to recognize desirability cores spread by the different infrastructures of BRT and promote development of urban form within their attractiveness pattern at urban and regional scale. BRT-TOD is discussed as a concept of BRT metropolis in context of the urbanization of Swedish towns and cities. TOD is defined morphologically as public transport cities. A public transport city is a city that in its development adapted to specific public transportation systems. TOD is nothing new in Europe or Sweden. To find regularities of the effect of public transportation systems on cities I do a historical overview of the Swedish towns and cities. In the end the position of bus and BRT, public transport cities and TOD and possibilities of future urban transformation of the smaller and larger Swedish cities towards BRT metropolises are discussed in context of today’s “‘system’ of automobility” and widespread car society and the emerging knowledge society and its postmodern fringes of urbanization.