High-capacity public transit in Reykjavik

Traffic and transportation planning Solutions

Reykjavik is developing rapidly, seeing considerable population growth and high tourism growth. Today, the car is the preferred mode of transport and public transit accounts for a mere four per cent of the total transport volume. As a result, the city is struggling with increasing congestion.

Consequently, Reykjavik Municipality wants to promote the use of public transit and has decided to work towards a high-capacity public transit solution such as a light rail or BRT (bus rapid transit) system. The goal is to increase the share of public transit to 12 per cent.

COWI has vast experience in both development of high-capacity public transit solutions and targeted urban development. On this basis, we helped Reykjavik determine where and how the city would benefit from a BRT or light rail system towards 2040, and uncover the strengths and weaknesses of integrating either solution in Reykjavik.

A total of 16 alternative alignments were developed and outlined as both light rail and BRT system. The potential, strengths and weaknesses of all alternatives were mapped by analysing parameters relating to service, passengers and costs. The result was a vision report, which recommends a BRT solution and suggests specific expansion phases towards 2040.



2016 - 2018

Samtök Sveitarfélaga á Höfuðborgarsvæðinu (SSH) (Authority of the capital region)


  • Preparation of vision
  • Screening of alignments
  • Outline of alignments
  • Passenger estimates
  • Impact assessment and recommendation
  • Selection of system.

Get in contact

Michael Goth-Rindal
Project Manager
Transport Planning, Denmark

Tel: +45 56401556