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A Bus Rapid Transit Program Could Change The Way Columbus Commutes

Columbus is on the brink of a transportation revolution with the evolution of a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) program that promises to transform the way residents and visitors traverse the city.

As part of the larger LinkUS initiative, Columbus aims to address its growing population and the associated demands on its existing transit infrastructure by implementing a more efficient, reliable, and sustainable public transportation system.

The details

At the heart of this ambitious project is the redevelopment of West Broad Street, which is set to become the first of several BRT corridors stretching from downtown Columbus to Prairie Township.

This corridor will feature dedicated lanes for new, larger buses, ensuring fast and frequent service akin to light rail systems but at a fraction of the cost and construction time. Enhanced passenger platforms, improved crosswalks, sidewalks, and bike lanes are also part of the comprehensive plan to create a more accessible and user-friendly urban environment.

bus rapid transit columbus ohio
Renderings courtesy of LinkUS.

The BRT initiative represents a significant shift towards a less car-dependent culture in Columbus, fostering more walkable communities with easy access to work, home, and entertainment. With an estimated cost of just under $340 million for the West Broad Street corridor alone, the project has secured a combination of federal funding and local investment, including a proposed 0.5% sales tax increase to support the ongoing development of the BRT network and other transit improvements.

Why the BRT matters

Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) officials, alongside city and regional planning leaders, have championed the BRT as a scalable solution to the city’s future transportation needs. By prioritizing BRT, Columbus is set to build out an extensive system of rapid transit routes more quickly and affordably than traditional light rail options.

Future corridors are already in the planning stages, including East Main Street and Olentangy River Road, with aspirations to extend the network further as demand and development dictate.

brt west broad map 2024
Map courtesy of LinkUS

The introduction of the BRT program in Columbus is not just about improving transportation. It’s a pivotal component of the city’s broader vision to become more sustainable, equitable, and vibrant. By reducing reliance on individual car travel, the BRT system will contribute to lower greenhouse gas emissions, alleviate traffic congestion, and promote economic development along its corridors.

When will the BRT open?

As Columbus prepares for the initial phases of BRT construction, with the West Broad corridor slated for a public opening in 2028, as long as county voters support the endeavor at the polls this November.

The BRT program represents a significant investment in the future, promising to redefine urban transit in Columbus and set a precedent for other cities grappling with similar growth and sustainability challenges.

To learn more about the program, you can head over to