The successful implementation of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system depends on the aggregation of the strategic, tactical and operational levels of each decision. It is also important that the interaction factor of the system with the other urban elements is taken into account. In order to analyze these conditions, to develop methods of analysis and evaluation and to guarantee an educational strategy, the BRT Center of Excellence – Across Latitudes and Cultures (CoE ALC-BRT) was created in Chile. The experience of the training program of the ALC-BRT CoE is one of the topics that will be discussed during the III Congress “Best Practices SIBRT in Latin America”, which will take place between June 4 and 7 in Belo Horizonte.
The Center is a consortium of four universities (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Sydney and Instituto Superior Técnico de Lisboa) and the EMBARQ Network. “Part of the objectives of the ALC-BRT CoE is to promote urban public transport training aimed at different audiences, addressing various aspects of their complex problems and with the level of depth appropriate to each reality,” explains the leader of the institution, the engineer Juan Carlos Muñoz, who will participate in the exhibition of Training Programs, with Lélis Teixeira, from Fetranspor do Rio de Janeiro and OP Agarwal, from the World Bank.
Because they are complex and filled with elements that often do not follow an intuitive consensus, public transport systems require attention and efficiency during project development. It is at this point, then, that the need arises for more and more training for professionals who are ready to work with the new technologies of the sector. “It is important to have a properly trained team to understand the system and make the right decisions. It is very easy to make mistakes and mistakes are expensive, “Munoz said.
In order to have an idea, a bad urban plan can generate segregation in a neighborhood, just as the wrong choice of a certain technology can make it impossible to improve the environmental indicators of a city. Following the same reasoning, an inadequate infrastructure project can cause permanent conflict with other means of transportation. Therefore, the work developed by the CoE ALC-BRT has been important for the final results of BRT systems.
The trainings are carried out at various levels, such as graduation, master’s and doctorate, as well as courses lasting only one day. “We bring together experts to present some of our learning. We have already taken courses in countries such as Sweden, Colombia, Spain and England, and we received the proposal to create a course of 120 teaching hours to address the issue of operational challenges, “says Muñoz. Thus, the ALC-BRT CoE becomes a reference in relation to the training of professionals.
The importance of context
The implementation of the BRT in an urban system must be planned according to diversified elements that, together, guarantee the success of the project. “The ideal is for a BRT project to be made based on the recognition of a broader transport system context, knowing that the BRT plays a role, as well as many others,” Muñoz analyzes. Thus, it is desirable that the project be able to integrate into the other modes that already exist through tariff, operational or infrastructure perspectives, for example.
According to Muñoz, the essential elements for the implementation of a BRT system include an adequate institutional framework, a project in harmony with the urban context and the explanation of the benefits for citizens. In addition, it is essential that the inauguration be made when all the elements are ready.