As a student at UW-Madison who relies on public transportation to get around, I applaud Madison’s bold, forward-thinking proposal to spend $2 million on evaluating a bus rapid transit system (BRT).

Madison’s already problematic rush-hour traffic will only get worse as the city continues to grow. But building a BRT system is a smart way to increase quality of life, save money, and lighten the city’s carbon footprint.

These buses, which would drive in their own lanes, have accommodations such as Wi-Fi, bike racks, and faster boarding, and operate at high frequency with fewer stops, would provide commuters with an appealing way to reduce commuting times. They would also make the city more attractive to young people like me who want to live in places with effective, environmentally friendly non-driving transportation options.

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Similar systems have been highly successful in other cities across the country. For example, every dollar that Cleveland invested in its BRT system brought an additional $114.54 in development to the city. It’s clear that BRT would benefit commuters, the city and the environment. The City Council should approve this plan, and our leaders at the state and federal levels should make sure to fund it.

Natalie Spievack, Madison

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