In April 2005, the Caltrans Division of Research and Innovation (DRI) asked MTI to assist with the research for and publication of a guidebook for use by Caltrans employees who work with local transit agencies and jurisdictions in planning, designing, and operating Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) systems that involve state facilities. The guidebook was also to assist to transit operators, local governments, community residents, and other stakeholders dealing with the development of BRT systems. Several areas in the state have experienced such projects ( San Diego , Los Angeles , San Francisco , and Alameda County ) and DRI wished to use that experience to guide future efforts and identify needed changes in statutes, policies, and other state concerns. Caltrans convened a Task Team from the Divisions of Research and Innovation, Mass Transportation, and Operations, together with stakeholders representing many of those involved with the BRT activities around the state. Prior to MTI’s involvement, this group produced a white paper on the topic, a series of questions, and an outline of the guidebook that MTI was to write. The MTI team conducted case studies of the major efforts in California, along with less developed studies of some of the other BRT programs under development or in early implementation phases around the state. The purpose was to clarify those issues that need to be addressed in the guidebook, as well as to compile information that would identify items needing legislative or regulatory action and items that Caltrans will need to address through district directives or other internal measures. A literature scan was used to develop a bibliography for future reference. The MTI team also developed a draft Caltrans director’s policy document, which provides the basis for Caltrans’ actions. This ultimately developed to be a project within a project. MTI submitted a draft document to Caltrans as a final product from the Institute. Task team members and Caltrans staff and leadership provided extensive review of the draft Bus Rapid Transit: A Handbook for Partners. Caltrans adopted a new Director’s Policy and published the document, BRT Caltrans. The MTI “wraparound” report presented below discusses in more detail the process that was followed to produce the draft report. The process was in many ways as much a project as the report itself.

Publication Date


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Transit and Passenger Rail

MTI Project



Bus rapid transit, Policy, Transit operating agencies, Planning, Light rail transit, Transit operators