Slog tipper Tim sent along a blog post from Greater Greater Washington about a report from the The Institute for Transportation & Development Policy that "describe[s] minimum characteristics necessary for a bus route to qualify" as bus rapid transit.
So far, only 5 lines in the United States have scored highly enough to qualify as true BRT, and all 5 rank at the bronze level. Not one is even silver, let alone gold.
According to ITDP, the best performing BRT systems in the world are Bogota, Colombia and Guangzhou, China, which score 93/100 and 89/100, respectively. They are the gold standard.
By comparison, the United States' highest-scoring BRT route is Cleveland's Health Line, which hits bronze with a score of 63. The other 4 bronze BRT lines in the US are in Eugene, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, and Las Vegas.
You can read the full report as a PDF right here. Needless to say, Seattle's Rapid Ride doesn't merit the Institute's consideration as real bus rapid transit. In fact, the report even accuses Rapid Ride, along with other so-called BRT systems in New York City and Kansas City, of helping to "confuse the American public about what exactly constitutes BRT." Slog already knew that Rapid Ride is not bus rapid transit, but it's always nice to get confirmation from the experts.