Thursday, April 9, 2009

Moving LANTA Forward has tangibles

LANTA’s regional development plan Advisory Committee met February 4th to review service alternatives. Three phases are proposed for expanding public transit in the Valley:

Phase 1- Improving the Core System.

The first proposed phase of the regional transit development plan focuses on simplifying our route structures and making a number of key improvements. These suggestions call for more north/south routes, running multiple routes on the busiest corridors, added weekend and evening service, and buses operating on trunk routes every 10-15 minutes in the peak.

This phase could include an improved limited stop express service, like the current Silver Line and a ride request, curb-to-curb service within limited areas. This reservation service could become a model to expand access in the suburbs.

Phase 2 – Expanded suburban service.

A suburban connection network would have suburban satellite hubs and connections between to include Park-n-Ride facilities and LVIP I. This service could include flexible ‘off-route’ services along corridors between hubs that could change daily based on passenger reservations. The map above is an example of what a map of where suburban hubs could be placed.

Phase 3 - Bus rapid Transit.

The ‘latest thing’ in public transit, Bus Rapid Transit, or BRT, means limited stop service along major corridors. BRT would require capital improvements such passenger amenities and new technology for fares and passenger information.

With the three phases completed, LANTA could be running an additional 225,000 revenue hours per year!!

With the establishment of effective BRT services, there is the potential for higher modes of transit including light rail.

Phase 4 – Rail Modes Planning

Phase 4 of the recommendations deals with Commuter and Light Rail. Current population densities in the Valley do not call for either type of rail in the near future. Down the road, however, LANTA will need to 1) be part of any planning process 2) be prepared to adjust service to rail stations and 3) preserve rights-of-way for future rail path purposes.

While there are discussions about service into New Jersey and coming up from Philadelphia, these are not on the drawing board as yet. However, LANTA should be involved in the discussions and prepared to respond should plans be developed for implementing commuter and/or light rail.