BRT → mobility → TOD

Welcome to Far East Mobility, a consulting firm working with cities to realize sustainable transport goals. We help to visualize and select policy and project options, and then to plan, design and implement successful measures.

Far East's multi-disciplinary team of staff and associated experts led the planning, design, and implementation of the two 'gold standard' BRT systems in Asia: the world's second-highest capacity BRT system in Guangzhou, as well as the award-winning Yichang BRT.

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Our sustainable transport focus areas

  1. Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridors

    BRT done well offers the potential of metro-like levels of capacity, passenger service and speed at a fraction of the cost of metro systems. BRT also has a much faster implementation time frame and can rapidly provide a citywide reach, since BRT buses can enter and leave the BRT corridor. BRT done poorly provides none of these benefits. Planning, design, implementation and operation of high capacity BRT systems providing citywide benefits, starting with a BRT conceptual design, preliminary design or feasibility study, is a core focus area of Far East Mobility. Far East's consultants can provide crucial guidance to cities and agencies on BRT systems and corridors, from the earliest conceptual design stages through to preliminary design, and technical supervision and input during the engineering design, construction, and operation. This guidance includes practical advice on the steps cities and agencies should take at each stage of the project to ensure a successful outcome, as well as our help in navigating the various BRT project minefields. Learn more…
  2. Traffic management

    Traffic surveys, simulations, impact analysis, circulation and management are all issues requiring attention as part of BRT projects. Microsimulations can help to test and verify solutions as well as explain project impacts - especially major projects such as BRT systems - to decision-makers and stakeholders.
  3. Transit-oriented development (TOD)

    BRT systems are a major investment and cities should maximize returns by encouraging high quality station area development in line with international best practices. Special zones should be set up around BRT stations, regulating issues such as pedestrian & bicycle facilities, parking provision in new developments, on-street & setback parking, affordable housing and other approaches that can be 'trialled' first in BRT station areas before being rolled out citywide. Learn more…
  4. Parking & TDM

    Parking projects often include surveys and data collection, definition of zones, documenting parking best practices, setting standards for parking provision for new developments, input to tender documents, setback parking management, parking pricing, communications, technology, roadway design, enforcement, and other aspects.
  5. Non-motorized transport (NMT)

    The planning, design, implementation, and operation/management of pedestrian and bicycle facilities is important in any city, and is an area of intense attention by cities and agencies in almost all BRT projects. Measures that can be taken to improve bike and pedestrian facilities include bike sharing, greenways, and high quality urban bike networks. 'Complete streets' or road designs to enhance vibrancy and appeal, prioritizing cyclists & pedestrians, are an excellent way to improve BRT corridor access and promote station area development. Some of the issues relating to ensuring high quality NMT facilities with BRT are discussed in our Ji'an case study. In our experience, if excellent NMT facilities are to be implemented together with BRT, it cannot be done as an afterthought. NMT planning needs to be done in the early design stages so that it can be incorporated into designs, and needs to be supervised to ensure implementation in line with designs.
  6. Road safety

    Road safety is an important consideration in BRT planning and in sustainable transport planning generally. All transit passengers are pedestrians at the start and end of their trips, and road, intersection and transit system design all have major potential impacts on pedestrian and bicycle safety. One useful measure which can be carried out independently or as part of a wider transit or road project is a Road Safety Audit. Learn more…
  7. Site visits & training

    Nothing will convince a city's leaders of the benefits, as well as the potential pitfalls and preferred approaches to BRT, as a site visit to BRT systems such as Bogota, Cali, Brisbane, or Guangzhou. Technical personnel also benefit immensely from such visits. Far East Mobility can conduct site visit and training programs on BRT and sustainable transport, focusing on the Guangzhou and Yichang BRT systems. Learn more…
Selected Far East Mobility project or study cities.
Interesting news & links

Why the California Bullet Train Project Failed: 7 “Worst Practices”
Autopsy of a train-wreck, California high speed rail.
Eno Center for Transportation, 13/02/2019

Welcome to Oslo! NO PARKING.
More and more European cities are effectively banning automobiles from their city centers — and it seems to be working out just fine for local businesses. The cities are "discovering that restoring these historic spaces to their pre-automobile states is as good for tourism, local business, and overall civic contentedness as it is for air quality and a shrinking carbon footprint."
NRDC, 01/02/2019

Why outer suburbs lack inner city’s ‘third places’: a partial defence of the hipster
Fairly obvious, but still interesting article about a 'third place' concept.
The Conversation, 30/01/2019

What’s Not Great About China’s High-Speed Rail? The Debt
HSR as grey rhino. High-speed rail in China, as in Europe, can hollow out conventional rail and force more freight onto roads. Debt burdens are onerous even on the highest demand lines.
Caixin Global, 29/01/2019

What happened when Oslo decided to make its downtown basically car-free?
It was a huge success: Parking spots are now bike lanes, transit is fast and easy, and the streets (and local businesses) are full of people. To help support the shift, the city made “massive improvements in public transport and making cycling safe and comfortable,” says Rune Gjøs, Oslo’s head of cycling.
Fast Company, 24/01/2019

The Transcendent Incompetence of the L Train Fiasco
Fascinating case study of how projects can move forward with no-one actually questioning anything. This is an issue with many BRT projects. "In all walks of life — engineering, politics, transportation — there is a fine line between the earned wisdom of experience and the toxic self-regard of a credentialed rut."
New York Times, 12/01/2019

Transport Ministry Tightens Toll Road Rules as Losses Spiral
End of the road for unviable toll road projects?
Caixin, 21/12/2018

Shenzhen's silent revolution: world's first fully electric bus fleet quietens Chinese megacity
Interesting though uncritical take on bus fleet electrification in Shenzhen, headlining the noise reduction benefits. Bus frequency is very high even in off-peak periods, with near empty electric buses ubiquitous in off-peak periods, providing an impressive level of passenger service. However, Shenzhen still does not manage to provide any real-time information on bus arrivals at bus stops, and the city does not provide any significant on-street bus priority anywhere, and the benefits of high bus frequency have nothing to do with electrification. The article does clear up one mystery: why such extremely high off-peak frequency even where buses are near empty? Evidently a large subsidy requires buses to meet operational-km targets. Our proposal for Shenzhen's next step forward for its 100% electric bus fleet? Implement BRT or meaningful bus priority and provide real-time bus arrival information for passengers at bus stops.
Guardian, 12/12/2018

Scooter Companies vs. the Regulators
Regulators vs dockless mobility: it's what drove Mobike and Ofo into the ground in Guangzhou, and the experience is also familiar in the US.
Slate, 12/12/2018

Sydney's new 80km walk to be most spectacular in the world
"It was an act of imagination to have Sydneysiders understand the scale of public land around the harbour. The idea that you can walk from Bondi to Manly is a reality now". The multi-day walk would become a "major tourist attraction". It would be as good if not better than the world's great walking trails including North America's Appalachian Trail, the Camino de Santiago in France and Spain, and Cinque Terra in Italy. Together with federal and state government agencies, six related mayors agreed to link existing coastal and harbour-side walking tracks and paths, and erect consistent signs and directions. About 60 km of the trail is on public land. The rest will be on footpaths, including near Point Piper, Darling Point and Potts Point.
Sydney Morning Herald, 26/11/2018

The Case Against Quantum Computing
In our Busway, Parking and NMT Concept Design presentations in Yangon on 15 Nov, one participant asked, 'but what about the future? What about elevated roads and sky trains?' Our response: our proposals ARE the future... Unlike hyped and perpetually 'on the horizon breakthroughs' like quantum computing or level 5 SAE 'full automation' driverless cars in urban areas.
IEEE, 15/11/2018

Milking Scooters for Cash Helps Cities Build for the Future
"In Austin, officials are charging companies $100 a bike or scooter during its experimental phase, and could raise tens of thousands annually. Mobility startups operating in Santa Monica, California, have shelled out a $20,000 each for the right to operate, plus $130 per each device on the street, plus $1 per device per day for the privilege of parking on the public sidewalk. (That last charge is modeled off the way the city charges restaurants for outdoor dining.) Participants’ in Los Angeles’ soon-to-launch scooter and bike program will have a similar setup. Portland, Oregon, meanwhile, is charging the companies operating there a 25-cent per trip fee."
Wired, 06/11/2018