Analysis of the Boston Dudley-Downtown Silver Line Bus Rapid Transit

Using the BRT Scorecard put together by the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy, I analyzed the Silver Line bus rapid transit line between Dudley, in Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood and downtown.  There is another Silver Line in Boston that connects South Station with the airport and selected South Boston locations, but the two segments are not connected (that’s a whole other issue).

 

Bottom line:  17 points out of 100.  Hardly qualifies as a bus rapid transit at all.

 

 

Here are my detailed findings.

 

Item                             Maximum Points           Silver Line Points            Explanation

 

Off Board Fares                                    7                                  0                      Pay as you board system

Multiple routes                         4                                  4                      Line has two end points                                                                                                                          downtown

Peak Frequency                        4                                  0                      Assumes 10 minute frequency

Off Peak Frequency                  3                                  0                      Sometimes 20 minute frequency

Express runs                             3                                  0                      None

Central control of runs               3                                  0                      If it’s there, it’s not working

Corridor in top ten bus              2                                  2                      It is highly used

ridership

Hours of operation                    2                                  2                      Service runs on weekends and                                                                                                               evenings

Multi corridor network              2                                  0                      None existing or planned

Busway alignment                    7                                  0                      Along curb (worst place for it)

Segregated alignment                7                                  1                      Colored pavement (mostly)

Intersection treatment                6                                  0                      Nothing to deal with cars                                                                                                               turning into the busway

Passing lanes at stations                        4                                  0                      None. buses bunch up

Emission standards                   4                                  4                      Natural gas buses

Stations set back from               3                                  0                      None meet the 120 foot standard

intersections

Center stations                          3                                  0                      None

Pavement quality                      2                                  1                      About half have been improved

Platform level boarding             6                                  0                      None

Safe and comfortable stations    3                                  0                      All are as bad as they can be

Number of doors                       3                                  3                      Not sure of criteria, giving                                                                                                              benefit of the doubt here

Docking bays and substops       2                                  0                      None on system

Sliding doors                            1                                  0                      None

Branding                                  3                                  3                      Good job on this

Passenger information               2                                  2                      Approaching times well                                                                                                                         announced

Universal access                       3                                  0                      None

Integration with system             3                                  1                      Not great

Pedestrian access                      3                                  3                      Easy to access stations

Bicycle parking                         2                                  0                      Spotty at best

Bicycle lanes                            2                                  1                      Some but not entire route

Bicycle sharing integration        1                                  0                      Only a few stops have stations

Low speeds                              -10                               0                      Unable to evaluate

Low peak time utilization          -5                                 0                      Crowded buses

Enforcement of busway             -5                                 -5                     ALWAYS cars parked in                                                                                                               busway

Gap between bus and platform   -5                                 -5                     Measure it in feet

Station encroaches on busway   -3                                 0                      No real station infrastructure

Overcrowding                           -3                                 0                      Seems overcrowded but not sure                                                                                                          of metric

Maintenance                             -3                                 0                      Not a problem

Distance between stations         -2                                 0                      Not a problem

 

 

 

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