Budget related to the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) program is one of the topics we’ve heard Calgarians would like to discuss. You'll find some information about this topic and the opportunity to provide feedback below.


The capital budget approved by City council in 2014 allocated $78M to the BRT program, which includes the South Crosstown, North Crosstown, 17 Avenue S.E., and Southwest BRT projects. In the fall of 2015 the Government of Alberta approved The City of Calgary’s application for $130M in GreenTRIP funding for the BRT program, bringing the total approved BRT program funding to $208M.

The $208M BRT program budget was developed based on the following project estimates:

  • South Crosstown BRT – Class 5 – Order of Magnitude estimate - $20M
  • North Crosstown BRT – Class 5 – Order of Magnitude estimate - $50M
  • 17 Avenue SE BRT – Class 4 – Conceptual Design - $98M
  • Southwest BRT – Class 4 – Conceptual Design - $40M

Infrastructure programs and projects follow The City of Calgary Project Management Framework, which uses the following five stage process for estimating and establishing program and project budgets:

Class 5 – Order of Magnitude—Generally prepared based on very limited information. They’re often based on judgment and/or experience.

  • Expected accuracy range is -50% to +100%

Class 4 – Conceptual Design—Generally prepared based on conceptual or feasibility studies considering project options and known constraints.

  • Expected accuracy range is -40% to +75%

Class 3 – Preliminary Design—Generally prepared based on preliminary design information. Project assumptions and constraints have been defined.

  • Expected accuracy range is -30% to +50%

Class 2 – Detailed Design—Generally prepared on detailed design information. Project constraints have been resolved and detailed design is advanced.

  • Expected accuracy range is -15% to +20%

Class 1 – Final Design/Pre-Tender—Generally prepared based on the final design information. At this stage the design is complete.

  • Expected accuracy range is -10% to +10%

The $208M BRT program budget was established based on project estimates at the Order of Magnitude and Conceptual Design stage. The Conceptual Design was based on having basic bus stops with limited features, similar to a standard bus shelter on a concrete pad. In the years since the conceptual design was produced, we’ve heard from Calgarians, through engagement as part of RouteAhead in 2012, that they’d like to see a higher level of service, with better features for an improved customer experience. This will have an impact on the cost of individual projects.

The City is currently in the design phase for all four of the new BRT projects. As design progresses, we know that the costs of some projects will decrease and others will increase. The City is in the process of balancing the costs of each project to deliver the entire BRT program within the approved budget of $208M.

An update on the budget for the BRT program will be presented to the Transit and Transportation Committee of City Council on April 20, 2016.

Do you have any questions about the BRT program budget?

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