Bus rapid transit (BRT) is a rubber tire-based public transportation system that’s fast, reliable, and convenient. It can provide the same benefits of rail transit at much lower costs. BRT typically offers:
BRT Benefits for the Peninsula
Provide Travel Choices
High-capacity transit can move more people in fewer vehicles, helping to offset increasing roadway congestion by offering a fast, reliable, and lower-cost option to move between activity centers on the Peninsula. High-capacity transit is consistent with past and ongoing regional transit planning which envision brining new transit services to thousands of homes and jobs in the Hampton Roads region.
Promote New Patterns of Development
The mobility, infrastructure, and placemaking benefits of transit investments will make the corridors more appealing to residents, visitors, and businesses interested in growth and relocation. Higher demand for properties near transit from these groups will attract new development. BRT creates infrastructure efficiencies (like a reduced need for parking) and lowers development costs, making the corridor more attractive to businesses. Walkable urban development is more feasible near transit.
Support Economic Growth
High-capacity, fixed guideway transit can support the economies of Hampton and Newport News by facilitating commuting, encouraging the creation of the types of jobs and employment centers that are attractive to workers, and reducing the strain of roadway congestion on local businesses. In addition, BRT has the potential to increase real estate values along the selected corridors—leading to more tax revenue for the cities.
Better Serve Existing and Attract New Riders
BRT along the Jefferson and Mercury corridors will improve mobility for Peninsula residents. BRT can catalyze mobility throughout the transit system by providing a high level of service along a transit artery that serves Peninsula activity centers and aligning complementary local and feeder service. Good transit helps seniors ‘age in place’ as it is easy to use and allows access to the broader community. Communities with robust transit choices appeal to the growing number of people who seek a car-free lifestyle.
Create Great Places to Live, Work, and Discover
Implementation of BRT can positively contribute to existing and future land uses in the two corridors. These transit corridors will support walkable, mixed-use redevelopment like that of Oyster Point/City Center in Newport News and Peninsula Town Center/Coliseum Central in Hampton. New development around transit stations will help to establish a sense of place, while also improving accessibility to/from employment opportunities, services, and amenities. BRT can contribute to the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative for the Marhsall-Ridley area of the Southeast community, where a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grant is being used to develop a community-driven neighborhood revitalization strategy, by enhancing transit access.
BRT in Action
Cities all over the United States are implementing BRT, incorporating features like large, well-lit stations, pre-board fare collection, and transit-priority traffic signals.
The City of Cleveland has had much success with the implementation of their BRT system. Following similar development to the kind proposed as part of the Peninsula BRT project—the incorporation of activity centers, creation of dedicated transit lanes, and emphasis on comfort and ease of use—the HealthLine BRT in Cleveland achieved a 48 percent increase in ridership in year one and has served more than 4 million customers every year since. The HealthLine also has contributed to the revitalization of its corridor, adding 13,000 new jobs and more than 8,800 new residential units to the area.
Often hailed as the “missing link” in Boston’s Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) transportation network, the Silver Line BRT provides accessibility and connectivity for Bostonians and their homes, workplaces, and recreational activities. The completion of Silver Line Phase III is making waves from Dudley Square to the South Boston Waterfront—resulting in a projected 40% population increase and 20% employment increase by 2025 in the South Boston Waterfront alone. Additionally, the Silver Line BRT is helping maximize untapped potential in Roxbury, a centrally-located but historically underserved neighborhood. Access to transit is fostering meaningful growth and opportunities in Roxbury as well as connecting the area to jobs, other neighborhoods and nearby Logan Airport. By 2030, it is anticipated that there will be 132,000 daily riders on the Silver Line BRT.
Twin Cities, MN
When transit agencies establish goals for BRT, they expect to see an increase in ridership and connectivity. In the Twin Cities, the A Line is generating that and much more—in the form of overwhelmingly enthusiastic feedback from individual riders. Since upgrades were completed in 2016, ridership has increased by 30%, and riders praise the BRT program for its ease of use, reduced commute times, and the frequency and speed of buses. Inspired by the A-Line leading with its A-game, 12 bus routes in the Twin Cities are upgrading to be up to speed with A-Line features and benefits, backed by a sizeable grant from the State of Minnesota.