VHB was awarded a contract from LYNX, the Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority, to study transit and transportation options on 31 miles of U.S. Highway 192, the busiest roadway corridor supporting traffic leading into Walt Disney World. The goal of the LYNX U.S. 192 Alternative Analysis (AA) project is to determine the best ways to improve mobility, community connectivity and economic development along the corridor.
The study follows parallel and complementary regional planning efforts, LYNX's Vision 2030 and Osceola County's Long Range Transit Master Plan both completed in 2011, which identified bus rapid transit (BRT) as a possible approach to increasing bus ridership in the region with a high tourism-service employee population. The study will determine what fixed-route bus users, business owners and residents would prefer as alternatives to the current transportation system offerings.
Additionally, the study will analyze emerging opportunities from the Osceola Parkway and Kissimmee Stations, part of the Phase 2, $1.3 billion, 61-mile SunRail commuter rail project scheduled to be operational in 2014. VHB LYNX AA team members have been involved in the LYNX, County and SunRail projects in the corridor which serve as the foundation for this effort.
To fund the project, LYNX and Osceola County applied for and received an $800,000 Federal Transit Administration (FTA) grant, and LYNX funded an additional $200,000. The FTA grant requires that the AA study helps advance a major transit investment which fosters the DOT-HUD-EPA Partnership's Six Livability Principles to support community sustainability. Accordingly, VHB's approach to the study is to not only provide more transportation choices, but also to support sustainable housing, to enhance the economy and existing communities, and to do so through coordinated policies across multiple government entities.
VHB's technical approach will be to include recommendations that will meet future, known federal and local funding requirements and strategies that will help move recommendations to implementation in a timely manner.
"This is an important piece of work for our client LYNX, Osceola County, our US 192 Team, for the cities and businesses served by U.S. 192, and most importantly, for the residents and visitors who use the corridor," said Michael J. Carragher, P.E., project manager for VHB.