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An ex-post evaluation framework for BRT and MRT in Mexico : A study on the impacts of Bus Rapid Transit and Mass Rapid Transit in Mexico City

Teunissen, Thijs (2014) An ex-post evaluation framework for BRT and MRT in Mexico : A study on the impacts of Bus Rapid Transit and Mass Rapid Transit in Mexico City.

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Abstract:Rapid urbanization and motorization are causing sustainability issues in large metropolises around the world. These issues particularly manifest in congestion, reduced livability, inequality, environmental deprivation and productivity losses. Mass transit systems offer the potential to mitigate many of these effects through a more efficient transport system. Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) are the most well-known and popular mass transit solutions. Especially in developing countries these can provide an efficient alternative to low-capacity, unregulated informal public transport. However, the impacts of these systems on sustainability are largely unknown. A lack of ex-post evaluations causes a knowledge gap in whether expected impacts are in fact realized. Furthermore, no studies that compare the two systems exist. Therefore the objective of this thesis is to develop an ex-post evaluation framework to assess and compare the impacts of BRT and MRT systems in developing countries. This framework consists of nine indicators, subdivided into the social, environmental and economic concepts of sustainability. The social indicators are equity and safety from accidents. The environmental indicators are climate change, air pollution and modal shift. The economic indicators comprise travel time savings, construction costs, operating and maintenance costs and revenues. Unlike conventional evaluation methods, this framework only monetizes the economic indicators, since it is difficult to express social and environmental impacts in monetary terms and also undesirable because this underrepresents them in the outcomes. In order to aggregate the individual indicators the flag model was applied, which standardizes the impacts using critical threshold values based on a literature study. Surveys were conducted among passengers to estimate direct effects (370 respondents per corridor) and among other travelers within the zone of influence to approximate indirect impacts (90 respondents per corridor). The ex-post evaluation framework was case-tested in Mexico City on the recently implemented Metrobús (BRT) line four and Metro (MRT) line twelve. The results show that the Metrobús line performs better in terms of construction costs, operating and maintenance costs and modal shift. Meanwhile, the Metro displays a higher performance for equity, safety, travel time savings, revenues, air pollution and climate change. The aggregated outcomes suggest that the Metrobús performs better on economic and environmental indicators, while the Metro achieves more significant social impacts. Overall, both systems perform equally, although Metrobús performance is slightly higher. Furthermore, the standardized values indicate that the overall performance of both transit lines is slightly below the average of other impact evaluations. Monetary aggregation of the economic indicators suggests that the Metrobús line is economically more efficient, but that profitability is higher for the Metro line. However, a sensitivity analysis reveals that the Metro’s profitability depends heavily on the value of time, while the Metrobús is also profitable for low values of time. The analysis of only two transit lines is insufficient to settle the BRT or MRT debate. Nonetheless, it can aid the political decision-making process since it shows clear differences exist between the two systems in terms of indicator performance. The anticipated impacts of the selected transit system should match the political objectives of the transit line. In addition, inclusion of both BRT and MRT options in passenger demand studies further improves the attainment of political objectives. Furthermore, this evaluation framework is applicable and useful for the ex-post evaluation of other transit lines and provides a first step towards additional evaluations. Hence, it is recommended to apply this framework for the evaluation of the fifth Metrobús line in Mexico City and other recently implemented transit lines in Mexico. The acquired data will improve the critical threshold values and the comparability between systems. Additionally, this may provide a more definitive settlement of the BRT or MRT debate.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:ET: Engineering Technology
Subject:56 civil engineering
Programme:Civil Engineering and Management MSc (60026)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/65036
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