The Transit Advisory Committee (TAC) met for the third time on April 8, 2015, to begin preparing for the next phase of the transit investment strategy. During the meeting, the committee was updated on the results of the Transit Choices Report survey, which received approximately 3,900 responses from the public.
Transit consultants Jarrett Walker & Associates and Kimley Horn presented several options for transit solutions in a matrix format, each with a price tag for infrastructure and the resulting available funding for operating ancillary transit service. One axis of the matrix was a ridership versus coverage spectrum; the other axis of the matrix was a high infrastructure to high service spectrum.
Transit technology types were reviewed and the concept of Rapid Rail Transit (RRT) was introduced. This option had not been discussed previously, but was suggested as a possible best fit rail service because it costs less than light rail transit and can provide a variety of frequency options. RRT would be more expensive than a bus-only option, but would offer the benefit of a reliable and frequent rail service through Raleigh, Cary and Morrisville, out to RTP. After discussion, the Advisory Committee voted to remove the light rail option from consideration due to its high cost and remove stand-alone commuter rail because it would not provide a good return on investment. The committee also voted to consider bus-only scenarios with Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) elements in both a ridership scenario and a coverage scenario. Bus Rapid Transit refers to a number of possible infrastructure projects that would make bus vehicles run faster and more reliably. A key advantage of Bus Rapid Transit investments is that they can be scaled directly to demand and can be implemented incrementally.
The work completed at this event, along with public input gathered over the last several months and technical input from local planners, will be used to develop specific transit scenarios that will make up the Expanded Transit Choices Report.