What is Aberdeen Rapid Transit?

Aberdeen Rapid Transit, or ART, is a Bus Rapid Transit system planned to improve and enhance public transport in Aberdeen.

ART aims to offer fast, frequent, reliable services with features like dedicated bus lanes, off board fare collection, fast and efficient boarding and alighting. It seeks to provide high-capacity and high-quality vehicles, that offer journey times competitive to car, and is fully integrated into the wider transport network. It would provide an attractive way to travel, being accessible and easy to use.

ART will support the region’s economic growth, social inclusion, and net-zero carbon ambitions by improving access to jobs, education, health, and leisure as well as supporting the transformation of our city centre.

Nestrans and its partners Aberdeen City Council, Aberdeenshire Council and the North East Bus Alliance, are working to develop the vision for ART as part of wider efforts to establish the North East as a revitalised, inclusive, sustainable and better-connected place in which to live, work study and visit.

Where will ART go?

We’ve been working to develop our vision for a network of two cross-city ART routes that connect people to the places they want to go to. This includes key education, employment, healthcare, retail and leisure destinations along key corridors into Aberdeen; the airport and rail station, as well as the city centre.

The aim is for ART to operate as two cross city lines, connected at each end to a new mobility hub, providing park and ride and integration with other modes and facilities.

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    What has been the progress so far?

    Over the last three years, ART partners have undertaken a lot of work to set out the best path for developing ART.

    The project kicked off after securing funding as a result of a successful bid from the North East Bus Alliance for £12 million of funding from the Scottish Government’s Bus Partnership Fund. This has also helped to deliver improvements to South College Street and implement city centre bus priority.  These improvements are already delivering public transport journey time and reliability benefits that will enable ART to operate successfully in the future.

    Work has also been ongoing to develop the business case and designs for ART. Undertaking detailed planning helps us understand how ART could be implemented so it best meets local needs.  Work to date has included:

    What happens next?

    Now that we have a developed a business case for the need for ART and the benefits it could bring, supportive feedback from stakeholders and the public, and an assessment of the routes, we have more work to do including:

    • Developing infrastructure designs
    • Exploring options for how and who would run ART
    • Identifying funding to deliver ART

    To continue these works, funding has been secured from the Aberdeen City Region Deal (a £250million investment package to boost the region’s economy and infrastructure), with our vision to deliver ART within the next 5-10 years.

    Your feedback so far, whether through ART engagements or the corridor studies consultations, has been important in shaping an ART solution that is right for our region. We want to keep the public, stakeholders and businesses involved and informed as the project as it progresses, and will be engaging further on the plans as they are developed.

    If you would like to keep up to date with the project and be alerted to future engagement activities and decisions, please sign up to our mailing list.

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    Why do we need ART?

    Aberdeen is facing several transport challenges, such as increasing traffic, poor accessibility, poor air quality, and climate change.

    Current bus services are often slow and unreliable, resulting in low customer satisfaction and high car dependency.

    ART aims to offer a modern and attractive alternative to private cars, encouraging more people to use public transport and active travel modes, such as walking and cycling, and is an important part of wider ambitions to improve the region’s transport system, as set out within Nestrans’ Regional Transport Strategy (RTS).

    As well as providing a new form of transport, ART should complement and enhance the wider public transport network. By investing in the bus priority infrastructure to support ART, we expect that many of the region’s other bus services would also become faster and more reliable. This would go alongside other ongoing investment in public transport, including the introduction of the world-leading hydrogen bus fleet, investment in electric vehicles and the Grasshopper multi-operator bus ticket.

    Alongside the significant enhancement in public transport provision, ART will support the rebalancing of streets in favour of people, and the creation of high-quality public spaces that people want to visit and spend time in.  ART is being developed in collaboration with and to support other major investments including the exciting changes happening in the city centre.

    How might ART help me?

    We spoke to local people to see how they thought ART might benefit them.

    What we've learned from other BRT systems

    Our aspiration to develop a bus rapid transit system has followed extensive research and analysis of successful schemes in other cities.  Rapid transit systems exist across the world and have a range of different characteristics, but share common elements; they are fast, reliable, comfortable and easy to use. This means less congestion, shorter travel times, a more attractive option for travel, supporting a reduction in traffic and pollution.

    In the UK, rapid transit systems operate successfully in Belfast (Glider) and Bristol (Metrobus) and are being developed for the West Midlands (Sprint); each designed as an integral part of the transport network in these regions and delivering economic, social and environmental benefits. More information on these systems and their features can be found in the Useful links section below, and you can read about the benefits of these systems here.