Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) systems are becoming popular in congested cities around the world. Since this mode of transportation is still evolving, there is a lack of clear definition of what constitutes a BRT system. This paper reviews the BRT systems around the world and characterizes their infrastructure and operational features. The most common features found are those that lead to travel time reduction or ridership attraction relative to regular bus services. However, not all the features must be implemented for a BRT system to be successful. Based on the features reviewed, this research recommends three sets of features that correspond to three phases of deployment in U.S. cities, depending on the project budget, time frame, users, and traffic and corridor characteristics.