NORFOLK — A new regional project launched on Nov. 1 could lead to a dramatically regional bus network.
Hampton Roads Transit hosted a kick-off event last week for the Transit Transformation Project, which aims to develop a new strategic plan for the region’s public transit system.
The goal is a system that is more efficient and relevant to the daily needs of Hampton Roads residents, according to a news release from HRT. The effort is the first of its kind for the region.
In 2018 the Virginia General Assembly passed legislation requiring 16 transit agencies across the state to develop new strategic plans.
HRT will be one of two agencies that will be first to do so. The other is in Lynchburg.
The work is being performed by WSP, a Washington, D.C.-based firm with significant experience completing similar work across the United States.
Despite periodic adjustments to local routes or the occasional addition or subtraction of a new route, the current network of HRT bus routes has not changed much over the years, according to the news release.
The Transit Transformation Project will evaluate the performance of the existing system and take a “blank slate” approach to designing a new network that could perform better.
“The transportation marketplace is evolving, and we can’t keep doing business as usual,” said William Harrell, HRT’s president and CEO. “The future of public transportation is a strategically important issue for Hampton Roads. We’re excited to collaborate with community stakeholders across the region to determine what that future should look like. We’re here to meet the needs of customers as effectively and efficiently as possible, and to help the region thrive economically.”
The Transit Transformation Project will run between Fall 2018 and Winter 2019. The public is encouraged to actively participate and provide input throughout the duration of the project.
More information is available at the project’s website, including a short survey that is open through February.
Next spring, residents will have opportunity to review preliminary scenarios and provide input into the design of best future system. A regional transit summit is planned for May.
The lead organization for the Transit Transformation Project is the Transportation District Commission of Hampton Roads (which does business as Hampton Roads Transit).
It is a regional transportation organization comprised of six local governments: Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth and Virginia Beach.
Through coordination and collaboration, the commission has the primary responsibility to weigh factors that influence the quality of bus service and to identify the sustainable and appropriate role for bus service across the six-city area.
For more information on the project, visit Transit Transformation Project.