We exploit a simple and accurate matrix method to analyze the effects of introducing a linear chirp either in thickness or in refractive index of the cladding layers on the propagation characteristics (loss and dispersion) of 1D photonic band gap planar Bragg reflection waveguides (BRWs). We show that an appropriate chirp in the otherwise periodic claddings of finite extent BRWs could be gainfully exploited to tailor its leakage loss and waveguide dispersion features. In particular, we theoretically demonstrate that for some reported sample BRWs, leakage loss and waveguide dispersion could be significantly reduced by a factor of 30-50 and by about two orders of magnitude, respectively as compared to un-chirped BRWs. Furthermore, we also show that in contrast to un-chirped BRWs, how chirped BRWs could be designed with attractive feature like much less number of cladding layers and nearly wavelength independent losses. Our analysis and proposal should serve as a useful design tool to tailor the propagation characteristics of BRWs. © 2007 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.