Broad Street in 2023.

Launched into service on June 24, 2018, the Greater Richmond Transit Company (GRTC) Pulse is a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system in Richmond, Virginia. A result of a partnership that included the U.S. Department of Transportation, Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation, Virginia Department of Transportation, the City of Richmond, and Henrico County, the GRTC completed the original 6.8 mile BRT system with dedicated lanes and transit signal priority for a total of $65 million or $9.6 million a mile. Operating in the median of Broad Street, the GRTC Pulse features fourteen stops, linking many destinations, businesses, services and restaurants with buses arriving and departing every ten to fifteen minutes.

Broad Street in 2007.

The project started with a rapid transit study in 2010, that was concluded in 2014. Design and construction took place from 2016 to 2018. The inclusion of dedicated bus lanes are a significant reason for the project being regularly cited as an example for other cities to learn from.

Prior to the pandemic, the bus route carried an average of more than 7,000 riders every weekday, which was double the service’s initial goals. Today, the BRT corridor stretches 7.6-miles, connecting Downtown Richmond with neighborhoods east and west by providing reliability that local bus service routes can’t always achieve.

Today, the GRTC is in the midst of planning a new complimentary north-south BRT line. While it won’t catch the headlines like fixed rail-based system or a $450 million autonomous vehicle project that will serve a fraction of the population served by the $65 million Pulse, the Richmond BRT project is a good example of what could be done to enhance local transit offerings in and outside of downtown and the urban core.

Photographs of the GRTC Pulse

Editorial by Ennis Davis, AICP. Contact Ennis at