Bus Rapid Transit

Introducing Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)

RTA is excited to introduce a new way to roll in New Orleans with Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) service. BRT is a different type of public transportation that provides a fast, efficient, and reliable way to move through the city. BRT service operates like rail service but utilizes modern busses to keep costs down, enabling us to more quickly offer this service to our region’s residents. See more about how BRT works here.

With BRT, the RTA will be able to:

New Orleans’ first BRT line will boost transit service and access to jobs by connecting New Orleans East and the West Bank via CBD-Downtown.  Nearly 3,000 RTA riders use the bus to travel from New Orleans East and almost 2,000 riders start their trips from the West Bank. For these existing riders, the RTA would be able to offer a premium service that will cut trips times in half and improve reliability, enabling greater access to jobs, services, recreation and opportunities
Transportation equity is one of our major challenges in New Orleans -  the New Orleans region has a severe and worsening disparity in access to jobs, education, and healthcare between households that can easily afford a car and those that cannot. Car ownership monthly costs average $860, taking up 20% of the median household income in New Orleans. Transit riders save costs but have far worse access, spending more time in transportation. BRT creates a way for car-owning households to save on expenses and improves access for current transit riders, relieving both of a major transportation cost. For households who may have moved to New Orleans East or the West Bank because of housing opportunity, BRT reduces the added transportation cost of residing in these areas.
The proposed BRT route would provide transit service for approximately 70, 600 people who currently live along the corridor, 18,000 of which are current transit riders. 
The BRT service type will also provide a viable public transit alternative to driving a private car along these routes, attracting new riders. For current drivers, the BRT will be a more affordable way to travel while remaining convenient by offering short trip times, frequent trip options and a congestion-free trip. Other cities have seen ridership increases of up to 30% following the introduction of a BRT line. More cars off of the road also reducing greenhouse gas emissions impacting the region, supporting the City’s Climate Action goals. By both offering premium service for existing riders and attracting new riders, BRT will help increase RTA’s ability to serve the transportation needs of the region.
BRT offers rapid access to job centers and beautification along the corridors, which can result in renewed investment all along the transit corridors, attracting businesses,residential development, and other neighborhood amenities.
BRT is an investment that makes business sense, as well - young adults want to live and work in communities with good options to walk, bike and take transit. The business community sees transit as a critical infrastructure investment to retain, grow and attract businesses and people
In 2022, New Orleans is one of seven of the top 50 cities without a rapid transit system. Other cities that have created BRT lines have found an increase in investment around the corridor. This type of service supports goals described in the RTA’s Strategic Mobility Plan (SMP) as well as New Orleans’ Climate Action Plan (CAP), by enabling greater capacity in our transit system. It also may encourage greater opportunity for housing and job development at key sites along the corridor.

BRT Service Features

Riding a BRT line is similar to riding light rail transit service, such as:

    • Roadway improvements that allow BRT vehicles to operate reliably and avoid traffic congestion, based on the need in that roadway
    • Technology that allows BRT vehicles to move more quickly through traffic signals
    • Stops spaced around ½ mile – 1 mile apart, so that vehicles can pick up speed between stops and move quickly throughout the city
    • Pre-paid boarding to make vehicle boarding as quick as possible, minimizing the time spent at stops
    • Stops that feature raised boarding platforms that match vehicle heights, so it’s easier and quicker to board for all passengers
    • Frequent arrivals (15 minutes or less), 7 days a week – the BRT will provide good trip options throughout the day, night and on weekends
    • Connects more people to places using an affordable transit option, providing equitable transportation choices to meet communities’ needs
    • Enhances service for those current transit riders who need it most and expands RTA’s ability to meet travel needs for the region
    • Responds to population changes and lessens the travel burden for those households who have located to places like New Orleans East because of the greater affordability in this area.
    • Encourages investment in neighborhoods receiving BRT service
    • Supports a sustainable and healthy community by lowering greenhouse gas emissions

RTA's BRT Route

The proposed BRT route will start at the Lake Forest Library Hub in New Orleans East, travel via Lake Forest Boulevard, Gentilly Boulevard, Elysian Fields Avenue and Claiborne Avenue to reach the Main Library Hub. The route will use Poydras Avenue and S Peters Street to access the Crescent City Connection. Once in Algiers, the route will end at the RTA Park & Ride Facility near Wall Boulevard and General de Gaulle. Click here to view the proposed route and possible station locations. The draft BRT feasibility report provides more information on how the RTA arrived at this proposed route.

Proposed BRT Route:

BRT Proposed Route

Next Steps

RTA is in the initial planning stages of the BRT project. The full timeline is shown below.

BRT Timeline

More Info

The BRT feasibility study began in September 2021 and will evaluate a corridor connecting New Orleans East to the Central Business District and on to the West Bank. The study is expected to be completed in December 2022, with several planned opportunities for input from the public and project stakeholders. 

  • Develop BRT Standard: Completed  
  • Develop Route Alternatives: January - December 2022
  • Adopt Preferred Route Alternative: February 2023
  • Financing Strategy: July-August '23
  • Preliminary Corridor Design (15%): 2024

Coming soon!

New Orleans BRT renderings

BRT in Kansas City, Missouri

BRT in Albuquerque, New Mexico

BRT in San Francisco


BRT in Richmond, Virgina


BRT Public Meetings

Get involved in the BRT conversation! Upcoming public meetings will be announced on the events page.

For More Info

Email us to learn more! BRT@rtaforward.org

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