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Brooklyn Bus Network Redesign

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Read the Existing Conditions Report

This report on existing conditions is the first step in the bus network redesign process. The goal is to take a fresh look at Brooklyn, its people, its travel needs, and what can be done to improve bus travel to meet those needs.

The Brooklyn Bus Network has not substantially changed in decades. The continuing decline in bus ridership in Brooklyn, and in New York City, requires a fresh look at how we provide bus service. Buses are slowing down and bus reliability is suffering. Over that same period, our customers’ needs have transformed dramatically. The bus network needs to evolve with them.

We will build a new bus network to meet those needs.

Route Profiles

We created profiles for the existing routes in the Brooklyn Bus Network. Each profile contains information about ridership, frequency, span of service, and performance metrics. In the coming days, we will post information about each route to separate pages to make it easy for you review them and to help you get a better understanding of why we need to redesign the network. In the meantime, you can view or download the entire packet of route profiles using the links below.

Key Findings

Brooklyn at a Glance

  • Brooklyn’s population has grown 5.2% since 2010. Since 2009, private sector job growth in the borough as a whole has outpaced the rest of New York City, New York State, and the country, with the number of businesses growing 32 percent and private sector employment growing 39 percent. Growth has occurred in nearly every sector.
  • Brooklyn’s ongoing population and employment growth is expected to continue, though some neighborhoods are expected to grow faster than others. While the Brooklyn Bus Network covers nearly the entire borough, it has not changed much in the past decades to support this growth.
  • Currently 31 of the 170 subway stations in Brooklyn are accessible according to standards established by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The network redesign will be particularly important for those customers whose transit options are currently more limited.
  • According to Census data, about 55 percent of Brooklyn households do not own a vehicle. About 62 percent of Brooklyn commuters travel via transit. About 53 percent of Brooklyn commuters identified rail modes as their primary means of transportation, while 9 percent identified bus as their primary means. About 23 percent of commuters drive to work.
  • The Brooklyn Bus Network, comprised of 72 routes, carries over 650,000 riders on an average weekday. In general, bus boardings are more prevalent in the eastern half of the borough, particularly in the neighborhoods east of Prospect Park.
  • Most Brooklyn bus customers transfer as part of their journey; 37% transfer to another bus and 35% transfer to the subway.

Limitations of the Existing Network

  • Much of the network is a grid, though in some neighborhoods, circuitous routes slow down travel to key destinations and transfer points.
  • Bus routes sometimes operate on nearby parallel streets, splitting the available resources.
  • Bus priority is generally limited to SBS corridors and does not benefit most Brooklyn bus riders.
  • Bus stops spaced close together slow down bus travel, as the bus needs to frequently decelerate to a stop and then wait to re-enter the flow of traffic.
  • Narrow streets and difficult turns, particularly left turns, hamper bus speeds and reliability.
  • Even with bus routes covering much of the borough, there are opportunities to improve connectivity and provide easier access to places in Brooklyn and beyond where customers want to go.

Customer Priorities:

Decreased wait time and increased frequency
Customers want more frequent bus service to shorten waits at bus stops. In the existing network, Brooklyn customers wait longer for the bus than they expect to, about two minutes on average for each trip.

Decreased travel time through faster buses
Customers want faster travel on buses to get to their destinations more quickly. Average bus speeds in Brooklyn are the second-lowest of the five boroughs, at 7.0 miles per hour (MPH) in May 2019, and have slowed 5% since 2014.

A more reliable network
Customers want buses to be more reliable and less bunched. Once on the bus, Brooklyn customers spend more time traveling to their destination than the schedule would indicate, about one minute on average for each trip. About one-third of the time, it takes customers five minutes longer than expected to complete their trip.

Improved connections to more places
Customers want access to more of the city than they have now, both within and between Brooklyn neighborhoods and onward to other boroughs.

Network simplification to increase ease of use
Customers want the bus network to be easier to use.

Get Involved

Public input is crucial to the development of this new network. Beginning in late October, we hosted public Open Houses to formally introduce the Brooklyn Bus Network Redesign Project, answer your questions, and get your feedback on what works and what doesn’t work with our current bus service. Click here for information on past events.

In the meantime, we want to hear from you. Submit a comment to share your thoughts, questions or concerns about your experience with the Brooklyn Bus Network, and any ideas or suggestions you may have.

This website will be updated to provide you with the most current information on upcoming public events and items for public review.

Next Steps

Following this report, we will develop a Draft Plan of a new bus network that reflects the findings in this report and the input we receive. The new draft bus network will be a ‘blank slate’ reimagining of the bus network, drawn from scratch. We will develop the Draft Plan with support and participation from NYCDOT. Additional public input sessions will be held following the release of the Draft Plan . We will ask the public to share their thoughts and provide input on adjusting the Draft Plan to better suit their needs. Input received will help inform the development of the Proposed Final Plan.

A graphic depicting the timeline for the entire Brooklyn Bus Network Redesign