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 - including key experts from the Guangzhou Municipal Engineering Design and Research Institute (GMEDRI) - 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.

Recent articles

Our sustainable transport focus areas and capability

  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 a 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 Concept Design, Pre-Feasibility Study and/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 Concept Design stages through to preliminary design, 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 and avoid the various potential BRT project minefields.

    Areas of Far East Mobility expertise include surveys and data collection, corridor selection, intersections, stations (location, dimensions, configuration, architecture, ITS integration, renderings, access), operational design and optimization, demand analysis, detailed cost estimation, institutions and regulation, ITS components, traffic impact analysis, modal integration, communications and outreach, technical supervision during engineering design and construction, inventory and strategy (and costings) for dealing with urban utilities in the corridor, capacity building in all of these areas, and other aspects.

    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. In some cases a 'full BRT' approach may not be viable or desired, with traffic management approaches to bus priority preferred. Often, the same corridor will involve a combination of traffic management and 'full BRT' measures in different locations.

  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. Far East Mobility has developed TOD plans for several BRT corridors, including identifying zoning and regulatory impediments to best practice TOD implementation around mass transit station areas.

    Learn more…
  4. Parking & TDM

    Parking projects almost always include surveys and data collection and documentation of best practices, with analysis and recommendations on definition of zones, setting standards for parking provision for new developments, preparation of tender documents, setback parking management, parking pricing, communications, technology, roadway design, enforcement, and other aspects. Far East Mobility developed a detailed parking plan for central Yangon as part of a Bus Priority Feasibility Study in Yangon in 2018, and has worked on parking in several other cities, usually in relation to a BRT corridor project.

  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. All NMT improvement projects involve a wide range of implementation-oriented surveys and data collection; a process carried out by Far East Mobility in many cities.

  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, Guangzhou, Yichang or Nanning. 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

Scientists rise up against statistical significance
"Eradicating categorization will help to halt overconfident claims, unwarranted declarations of ‘no difference’ and absurd statements about ‘replication failure’ when the results from the original and replication studies are highly compatible. The misuse of statistical significance has done much harm to the scientific community and those who rely on scientific advice. P values, intervals and other statistical measures all have their place, but it’s time for statistical significance to go."
Nature, 20/03/2019

In Need of Housing, Barcelona Fines Landlords For Long-Vacant Buildings
"The law the city is using, which gives it scope to fine negligent landlords after two years of leaving a property vacant, has in fact been in place since 2007 (before Colau’s election) but wasn’t implemented until during her tenure. Since then, the scale of fines demanded has been rising dramatically."
Citylab, 15/03/2019

Abolish Parking Minimums
A city (in this case San Diego) abolishing parking minimums is unfortunately still newsworthy. Future urban planners will look back in complete bafflement at the practice of minimum parking requirements.
TransitCenter, 13/03/2019

Autonomous vehicles could be an environmental boon or disaster, depending on public policy
"Planning, management and carefully crafted regulations are essential to reducing vehicle emissions and avoiding additional miles traveled by the vehicles, specifically vehicles traveling with few passengers or without any passengers at all."
Science Daily, 12/03/2019

Ban cars near schools, says Public Health England
An excellent high level policy orientation. Possible pilot project applications in Guangzhou?
Motoring Research, 12/03/2019

Why American Costs Are So High
Excellent breakdown of factors leading to metro project cost blowouts.
Pedestrian Observations, 03/03/2019

The Way Forward for Yangon Comprises Bus Priority Measures and Traffic Flow Reforms
CDIA's bus priority, NMT and parking improvement feasibility studies for Yangon, carried out by Far East Mobility during 2018.
CDIA, 25/02/2019

Economic benefits of walking and cycling
The latest evidence, research and findings on the economic benefits of walking and cycling, showcasing studies developed by Transport for London and other organisations.
Transport for London, 19/02/2019

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