A Look at BRT: Cleveland's HealthLine

June 20, 2013 10 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

As the Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA) looks into investing our hard earned tax dollars into Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), Metro Jacksonville takes a look at what many have called the most successful recent BRT rollout to date: Cleveland's HealthLine.

Describing the HealthLine

Compared to your average city bus, the HealthLine is impressive. It runs with a fleet of 21 articulated vehicles, each with a seating capacity of 47 and the ability to accommodate 53 more standing. Between downtown and University Circle, dedicated lanes are provided for its buses and service is provided 24 hours a day, running as often as every five minutes during rush hours.

Vehicles contain GPS locators on board, allowing automated traffic signals to give HealthLine buses priority at busy intersections. In addition, the HealthLine's 59 stations feature illuminated text displays that inform passengers of expected arrival times, fare card vending machines, emergency phones, and 24-hour lighting.

However, while the Health Line is touted as BRT, it's actually much more than that.  Look no further than its streetscape to see why it cost a whopping $25 million per mile to construct. As a part of the project, Euclid Avenue was "right-sized" from a four lane arterial roadway to one featuring wide sidewalks, dedicated transit lanes, bike lanes, landscaping, and pedestrian refuges.  If anything, one could easily consider the HealthLine project as a form of context sensitive street design. This basically means that all decisions in transportation planning, project development, operations, and maintenance are responsive to the context in which these activities occur.

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