A BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) system was introduced by a major bus operator, Nishitetsu and Fukuoka City Government in 2016, as a means of a new transportation system in the city center and the Waterfront Area to relax the traffic congestion at the city center and improve access to the Waterfront Area.
Fukuoka BRT (Bus Rapid Transit)
Being the gateway from Asia, Fukuoka City’s Hakata Port accommodated over 250 foreign cruise ships a year up to 2018, the biggest number as a port in Japan, with 1.6 million arrivals, almost the same as the population of the city. For connecting this port or the Waterfront Area, a new transportation system was needed. A major local bus operator, Nishitetsu (Nishi Nippon Railroad) and Fukuoka City Government introduced the Fukuoka BRT to link this area with the city center areas in 2016.
Big development projects are being implemented in the city center: Tenjin Big Bang in Tenjin Area and Hakata Connected in Hakata Station Area. Upon completion, these areas are expected to attract more visitors, create liveliness, and offer an environment that is fun to walk. The number of cars coming into the city center must be reduced, and so that more road space can be given to pedestrians to walk comfortably.
Fukuoka BRT runs around almost in circles between Tenjin, Hakata Station, and the Waterfront Area, stopping at some Fukuoka City Subway stations and the points close to fringe parking facilities on their way. Connecting these points can encourage intermodal transport, reducing the number of cars entering the city center.
Fukuoka BRT uses regular bus stops and does not have stations, so the fare must be paid on board. To be foreign-visitor friendly, the monitors on the BRT show information, such as fares and next stop, in 4 languages. A prepaid transport IC card system is installed at all the doors; it cleared the delay caused by the fare payment. The passengers with the card can exit any door, except when paying cash.
BRT uses less space than conventional bus service operated with articulated buses; for example, a bus stop to accommodate two regular buses needs 24 meters, but it only needs 18 meters for BRT. It can carry 130 passengers, twice as many as a regular bus at once, so reducing the number of buses and human resources, fuel consumption, and CO2 emission are also expected.
With the completion of two Tenjin and Hakata Station projects, Fukuoka City can accommodate more commuters and visitors with new office buildings and hotels. Visitors are also predicted to come back after the pandemic. It is essential to improve the transportation system now and prepare for the time to come.
[Case ID: Urban Transportation UT-10]