Providence Multi-Hub Bus System moving forward

Nov. 6, 2020
State, local and transit leaders say the multi-hub approach will improve connectivity and expand access to transit.

A plan – six years in the making – to create a multi-hub bus system in Providence, R.I., is progressing, according to state leaders, and the project will start with community engagement.  

The proposed Multi-Hub Bus System would build three hubs, which state leaders believe will improve connectivity and expand access to transit. The three hubs include Innovation District Bus Hub to be constructed on Dyer Street, Kennedy Plaza hub and the Providence train station hub. The Innovation Hub will include the rehab of a historic structure, which stakeholders say will transform the facility into a “vibrant transit center with an expansive network of transit options.”

"Our Multi-Hub System, which was developed after years of stakeholder feedback and input, will be good for riders, good for the environment and good for jobs," said Rhode Island Gov. Gina M. Raimondo. "With this project, we will not only improve the experience for existing riders but encourage many more Rhode Islanders to use public transportation in the years to come."

The Multi-Hub System is also designed to connect existing and future employment and residential centers. It will also provide necessary charging infrastructure among the three hubs to support an all-electric fleet. The governor’s office explained a single central location, such as Kennedy Plaza, could not support the charging infrastructure needed for a modern electric bus fleet.

The new hubs will be designed to provide amenities, including restrooms, indoor waiting areas with real-time boards, benches, ticket vending machines, bike racks and bike/scooter share areas at Innovation District and Providence Train Station hubs. Direct bus to rail connections will link to downtown employment centers.

"We are listening to our passengers and we will work with our partners on this project to ensure that it provides the maximum benefit to transit users, and to the public," Rhode Island Public Transit Authority Chief Executive Officer Scott Avedisian said.

Providence has hired Arup “to advance the city's plans to create a unified vision for Downtown Providence's public spaces to guide a significant investment in infrastructure and place-making in Greater Kennedy Plaza.”

The city and Arup will launch the public engagement process as the parties work to create what is described as a cohesive vision that connects Downtown Providence's public space network while maintaining an easily accessible, transit-rich environment.

"Successful cities are transit-rich cities," said Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza. "Investing in both robust transit systems and dynamic public spaces will transform Greater Kennedy Plaza into a true civic hub. With active and meaningful input from community stakeholders, I look forward to advancing the plan for downtown transit investments with our statewide partners as we collectively develop a vision for a more active, vibrant and safe downtown."

The project will be funded by the $35 million bond approved by Rhode Island voters in 2014.

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Group Editorial Director

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine and group editorial director of the Infrastructure and Aviation Group at Endeavor Business Media. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the editorial direction of the group and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.