While Chicago failed to acquire $153 million in federal funds to build a small network of dedicated rapid bus lanes, the city fared a little better this year. Specifically, the city netted $35 million in competitive grants last week to establish quicker service in two corridors: a "circulator project" that will connect Union Station and Navy Pier (and eventually other downtown locales) and a South Side line along Jeffery Boulevard from 103rd Street to the Loop.
The latter project is the first of four bus rapid transit routes the Chicago Transit Authority is hoping to build. As those projects advance, transit officials should pay close attention to similar efforts in New York City, which is now working to "revolutionize the bus." Robert Sullivan's New York magazine piece on those plans is well worth a read, particularly his description of the features cities abroad have used to improve their bus systems.