PVTA to Explores BRT

Jan. 29, 2015

The Pioneer Valley Transit Authority (PVTA) has chosen URS Consulting to conduct a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Study for State Street. in Springfield, Massachusetts.

State Street is one of PVTA's busiest transit corridors and carries 5,500 passengers per day which is about 20 percent of the people traveling on State Street. Many of PVTA's other routes intersect State Street and offer transferring opportunities. Eighty percent of the funding for the $200,000 study will be provided by MassDOT and PVTA will provide the local match. PVTA's recently completed comprehensive service analysis recommended many service improvements that have been implemented and it also recommended BRT service for State Street.

“Public transit ridership is growing across the Commonwealth, and PVTA is a big contributor to this growth.  Improvements to bus service are the best strategies for quickly delivering better transit options to our customers.  MassDOT is excited to support PVTA in its analysis of the potential to implement bus rapid transit in the State Street corridor, not only as a way to improve service and support new economic development in Springfield, but because of the opportunity this work has to inform investments in bus service across Massachusetts” said Beverly A. Scott, MBTA general manager and MassDOT rail and transit administrator

BRT generally is described as a specially designed bus service that enhances the passenger experience by offering such amenities such as bus only lanes, traffic signal priority, articulated buses, customer friendly stations with real time departure information and pre fare boarding.

PVTA already has in place many of the elements of BRT. These include articulated buses which are operating in Amherst and Northampton, real time departure information at the Springfield and Holyoke terminals and a smart card fare system which will be introduced in the next several months.

BRT service is available in many cities across the country and has produced increased ridership and generated further economic development. The only closest example of BRT in Massachusetts is the Silver Line in Boston.

"The city of Springfield is on the move and its transit system needs to keep pace with its growth and development. BRT will bring PVTA to the next level in bus transit and provide a better experience for our existing riders and attract a wide range of new riders who never have used our services in the past. PVTA is always willing to assist MASSDOT in their efforts to expand transit ridership across the state and appreciates the funding and support for this study" said Mary MacInnes, PVTA administrator.

The study will have a strong civic engagement component to seek input from riders and stakeholders along the State St. Corridor. It will also include an alternatives analysis that will include fleet analysis, station locations, traffic impacts, ridership estimation, construction impacts and costs.