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Brooklyn’s bus system is careening into crisis: Ridership in the New York City borough has declined by 20 percent over the last decade; one in four buses in Brooklyn arrive off-schedule. As researchers and academics at NYU’s Marron Institute of Urban Management who study, teach, and write about transportation, we decided to apply an evidence-based approach to redesigning this struggling transit network with the goal of speeding up vehicles and rebuilding ridership. We took on this project with the belief that Brooklyn is still a place where the bus can serve as a critical public utility. A good redesign has the potential to add millions of bus trips back to the network every year. We took this challenge as an exercise that could inform a real future revamp.Among the reasons behind Brooklyn’s bus crisis are growing congestion and demographic change in the area—but also the system-wide service cuts that began in 2010. We aren’t the first to recognize this problem. Advocacy groups like Riders Alliance, TransitCenter, and the Straphangers Campaign have been beating the drum for a network redesign and other improvements for years. Even Nobel Prize winners understand how critical the bus is for connecting commuters. The MTA seems to be listening. It recently announced that it will reimagine the entire bus network across New York City, starting with the Bronx. Traditionally, redesigns are the domain of consultants and transit agency planners. We chose to add our plan to this process so that there is more than one vision for elected officials, planners, and Brooklynites to consider.When we decided to put forward a plan to fix Brooklyn’s bus network, we collected detailed land-use and transit data about Brooklyn, but also examined evidence from other redesigns and analyses of transit data to figure out how to rebuild ridership on a system that has seen decline for more than a decade.Why rebuild the bus? Because Brooklyn’s buses serve nearly 190 million rides per year. If we can figure out how to get people back on the bus in Brooklyn, perhaps there are lessons we can apply to the nation, which is also shedding bus passengers at an alarming rate. And while subways and light rail systems may be splashier forms of transit, mayors and city councils looking to quickly improve the quality of life don’t have the option of giving those fixed-rail networks a swift makeover.We also focus on the bus because it’s cheap: American cities already have extensive high-quality road networks—the city of New York will spend $14 billion over ten years repairing bridges and repaving roads. Since we’ve built this elaborate street network and are committed to maintaining it, we really owe it to ourselves to take full advantage of them. The same cannot be said for subways or light rail systems, which both require brand-new infrastructure just to get up and running.Underlying our redesign is a belief, based on data, that faster, more frequent buses will attract more riders; thus, all of our recommendations are geared towards speeding up vehicles and pumping more of them through the redesigned routes. As a sanity check, we constrained ourselves to the existing service hours that the MTA currently allocates to bus service in Brooklyn. Then, we translated best practices from other cities into the Brooklyn context.Here are our recommendations. You can explore the proposed route map we built here, or in the interactive map below. The colors correspond to frequency, with blue routes as the most frequent, followed by green and red.