PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Pittsburgh is one of four cities getting a special grant from the Rockefeller Foundation. It’s aimed at bringing faster bus service between two parts of the city.

It’s called BRT or Bus Rapid Transit; and the idea is a simple one, to get you from Downtown Pittsburgh to Oakland and the East End and back again on buses that — just like the T — use dedicated lanes, elevated platforms and off-bus fare collection.

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“Downtown, Oakland, and the east corridor include southwestern Pennsylvania’s top two activity centers, and some of Pittsburgh’s most distinctive neighborhoods, heavily traveled and often quite congested,” said Court Gould, of Sustainable Pittsburgh.

The grant from the Rockefeller Foundation will help community leaders promote the benefits of BRT here in Pittsburgh.

“On a daily basis, almost 30 percent of Port Authority riders travel through this corridor,” said Gould.

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Ellen McLean, interim CEO of the Port Authority, says BRT could attract more riders to the Port Authority.

“BRT provides the opportunity to increase service productivity, to increase its efficiency, its reliability, its predictability; overall, improving the customer friendliness of the service,” she says.

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald says a similar BRT in Cleveland, linking their medical and educational areas to downtown, has spurred other development.

“Four billion dollars’ worth of investment along that corridor, and that’s what we’re looking at linking – these two vital and growing, and two largest job centers in western Pennsylvania,” said Fitzgerald.

The Port Authority has already engaged an engineering company to conduct a route analysis and environmental impact study, but nothing is likely until 2016.

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