“Rail-ready" B.R.T. isn’t as simple as it sounds. If the system is within the street right-of-way there will be construction disruptions to traffic and businesses along the corridor twice: once when the BRT is built and then again when it is upgraded to LRT. However if it is within the street right-of-way it’s possible to limit the re-construction to LRT to a few blocks at a time, which might not be the most efficient way to build it, but it will allow the BRT system to continue to operate an near normal levels during construction.
If the system is NOT within the street right-of-way there will fewer disruptions to businesses. However this makes it much harder to maintain transit service during the construction period because the places a BRT vehicle can get on or off the system are much farther apart. That means longer detours. The City of Ottawa is having this problem. It is currently in the process of planning the logistics of replacing some of its BRT lines with LRT (in order to tunnel under the City Centre). One solution they are considering is adding additional lanes to a nearby freeway to allow the BRT vehicles to temporarily bypass the construction area. They are effectively having to build a temproary parallel BRT system to allow the BRT to operarte while the LRT is constructed. That's not a cheap solution.
It's worse than that, it's "like rail, except with low capacity and the ability to get stuck forever in traffic".
Ottawa is building a 12 km separate grade LRT though the downtown core, including a tunnel. During morning rush hour (RH), all passengers on feeder buses will have to transfer to train cars - roughly 100 per minute - at each end of the line. During afternoon RH, the same volume of passengers on train cars will have to transfer to feeder buses heading home.
Is there an example somewhere of all bus/LRT passengers switching to the other mode at this volume? I really suspect that the train->bus transfer is going to be a mess, but will keep an open mind if someone can provide an example of this working.
It's been done in a number of places, since it is fundamental to the workings of hub and spoke systems in general. Most any transfer hub of any form of transport with a capacity mismatch - every commercial airport in the world, numerous rail systems, etc. should be working examples. I really doubt it's going to be an large problem, else I would have expected to see some more treatment of it in my reading on pulse-point timetabling in various best practice manuals.
I think our planned LRT is too short.
Our current BRT carries 10,000 pphpd (passengers per hour per direction), and is fully loaded during rush hour. The LRT will replace the centre section of our BRT, therefore, 10,000 people per hour have to transfer to buses in the outgoing direction (buses are currently full at the stations where passengers will eventually alight).
Apparently, the world record for peak BRT station loading is in China, something like 8,500 passengers per hour...but that is in BOTH directions. The world record is, therefore, only just a bit over 4,000 passengers per hour. We need 10,000 day one.
I think this is going to blow up.