The Future of Pittsburgh–BRT

Late for an interview you’ve been preparing for or an appointment you’ve had for months? When it comes to being on time, the slightest hiccup in transportation can be a catastrophe.  Sure, public transportation is great, but it puts a damper on things when it takes outrageously long to get downtown or when the buses are running off schedule.  Pittsburgh needs a solution, and we may have found it.

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is a bus system that would speed up transportation — in our case between the two economic hubs of Pittsburgh; Oakland and Downtown.  It would benefit businesses, transit riders, neighborhoods and all Pittsburghers in general.  BRT has been successful in cities all over the nation, not to mention all over the world.  The benefits to Pittsburgh could be tremendous, including increasing economic growth, improving neighborhoods, and ensuring a cleaner environment and safer streets.  Pittsburgh is often deemed as the most livable city, but BRT will take that title to the next level.

When BRT first became a topic of discussion, Bravo Group knew that a key component for gaining public support would require strong community outreach initiative.  Bravo used unique tactics to get the public (including Mayor Bill Peduto and Rich Fitzgerald) excited about this new plan by organizing a bus trip to Cleveland, Ohio—a gold standard BRT system called the HealthLine.  This gave them the opportunity to experience a successful BRT system first hand and relate that to what it can do for the city of Pittsburgh.  Bravo has also promoted the BRT project through social media (GetTherePgh) and through paid social media advertising.  Additionally, Bravo created a collateral piece which helped to spread the word throughout the community and has acquired earned media opportunities over the last two years.  Bravo continues to utilize their skills so that BRT carries on and takes steps in the right direction.

And BRT is doing just that.  Just this week, the Port Authority board made the wise decision to move $1.56 million of their capital budget towards the funding of BRT (http://www.pghcitypaper.com/Blogh/archives/2014/07/15/port-authority-board-amends-budget-for-bus-rapid-transit-study).  The more people learn about Bus Rapid Transit, the more it becomes a necessity for the city of Pittsburgh.

Marsha Reisinger

Bravo Group, Pittsburgh Intern

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