What is High Capacity Transit?

High capacity transit is a transit mode that offers substantially higher levels of passenger capacity with fewer stops and operates at higher speeds than traditional local bus services. High capacity transit also offers faster travel times and more on-board and station amenities for passengers. Some high capacity transit modes include bus rapid transit, light rail, express bus, commuter rail, and streetcar.

Commuter Rail

Service Area

Long-Distance Commuters from Suburbs into a Central City

Frequency

20/30 Min Peak and Limited Off Peak Services

Avg. Corridor Length

20+ Miles

Avg. Distance Between Stations/Stops

2-5 Miles

Light Rail

Service Area

Variety of Trips From Regional to Local

Frequency

10/20 Min 4 A.M. to 1 A.M.

Avg. Corridor Length

10-20 Miles

Avg. Distance Between Stations/Stops

1 Mile

Bus Rapid Transit

Service Area

Variety of Trips from Regional to Local

Frequency

10/20 Min 4 A.M. to 1 A.M.

Avg. Corridor Length

10-25 Miles

Avg. Distance Between Stations/Stops

0.5-2 Miles

Express Bus

Service Area

Daily Commuters from Park-And-Ride Locations to Employment Centers

Frequency

20/30 Min Peak and Limited Off Peak Services

Avg. Corridor Length

15-20 Miles

Avg. Distance Between Stations/Stops
Regional

5 Miles

Urban

1 Mile

Streetcar

Service Area

Daily Commuters from Park-And-Ride Locations to Employment Centers

Frequency

10/20 Min 4 A.M. to 1 A.M.

Avg. Corridor Length

1-7 Miles

Avg. Distance Between Stations/Stops

0.25-0.5 Miles

Candidate Corridor Analysis

To develop and evaluate potential corridors where high capacity transit lines could be implemented in the CONNECT Beyond region, our Team followed a Candidate Corridor Analysis that is outlined below.

1

Initiate Project

  • Define Study Area
  • Form Stakeholder Committees
  • Develop Project Purpose; Mission & Vision; and Goals
2

Analyze Existing Conditions

  • Evaluate Existing Transit System
  • Conducted Travel Market Analysis
  • Transit Propensity Analysis
  • Review of Applicable Plans and Prior Studies
3

Develop A Range of 32 Candidate Corridors Based On:

  • Previous Public Input
  • Project Goals
  • Project Vision & Mission
  • Travel Market Analysis (Travel Patterns & Behaviors)
  • Transit Propensity Analysis
  • Applicable Plans & Prior Studies
  • Population & Employment Growth
  • Land Use Growth & Changes
  • Additional Stakeholder Input
  • Results of Existing Transit System Evaluations

Level 1 Screening

4
Candidate Corridor Evaluation

Screening Criteria:

  • Agency & Public Stakeholder Feedback
  • Guiding Principles
  • Ability to Meet the Project's Purpose, Vision & Mission, and Goals
  • Readiness of Each Candidate Corridor
  • Community Transit Priority Statements
5

12 Priority High Capacity Transit Corridors

20 Proposed Emerging Mobility Corridors

Level 2 Screening

6
Candidate Corridors Evaluation
7

High Capacity Transit Solutions

Enhanced Bus Solutions

Mobility Solutions

Understanding Our Region

To understand the transit conditions and needs in the region, the CONNECT Beyond Team conducted:

Evaluation the Existing Systems

Our team conducted an in-depth analysis of the region’s existing transit systems and services, looking closely at transit performance and ridership in order to understand the existing transit conditions in the CONNECT Beyond region.

Transit Market Analysis

Our Team conducted a Transit Market Analysis to assess the existing and potential transit demand for different areas throughout the CONNECT Beyond region.

Transit Propensity Analysis

Our team completed a Transit Propensity Analysis, which is an analysis that identifies areas of a region that presently have the greatest potential to use public transportation based on specific socioeconomic indicators.

Review of Past and Current Plans

Our Team reviewed past and current planning efforts from communities across our region. We also conducted stakeholder interviews with planning officials and transit service providers to understand more about their community’s transit needs, current transit services, and their short- and long-term plans.

Public Involvement

We’ve been working with community members from around the CONNECT Beyond region for several years to reach this point. CONNECT Beyond builds on two complementary regional visioning and planning initiatives led by the Centralina Regional Council: the CONNECT Our Future Project and the Regional Transit Engagement Series. The priorities established by our communities in these previous engagement efforts have been used to inform CONNECT Beyond. The CONNECT Beyond Team also hosted an Online Public Meeting & Community Survey to present the candidate High Capacity Transit Corridors that are being considered for the CONNECT Beyond region and seek input from community members. This on-demand Online Public Meeting & Community Survey was available to the public from November 17 to December 31, 2020.

Advisory Committees

We have invited stakeholders from across our project study area to join three advisory committees that will focus on developing key elements of this plan, including major policy decisions, community impacts and technical feasibility. The CONNECT Beyond Team has held with regular meetings with these advisory committees and committee members are actively involved in the planning process. Based on their local knowledge of mobility needs and opportunities, our 175+ advisory committee members provide important insights to our Team and help ensure that interests from across the region are heard during the development of this regional transit plan.

Develop a Range of Candidates Corridors

Our team used stakeholder and agency input, information from previous and ongoing transportation planning efforts, findings from our Existing Transit System Evaluation, Travel Market Analysis and Transit Propensity Analysis, CONNECT Beyond’s Purpose, Vision & Mission, and Goals, as well as the HCT Guiding Principles to develop 32 candidate corridors for high capacity transit.

32 candidate high capacity transit corridors were identified based on:

  • Previous Public Input
  • Project Goals
  • Project Vision & Mission
  • Project Purpose
  • HCT Guiding Principles
  • Travel Market Analysis (Travel Patterns & Behaviors)
  • Transit Propensity Analysis
  • Applicable Plans & Prior Studies
  • Population & Employment Growth
  • Land Use Growth & Changes
  • Additional Stakeholder Input
  • Results of Existing Transit System Evaluations

A multilevel screening process was performed to refine the total number of candidate corridors. During the Level 1 Screening, our Team evaluated the 32 candidate corridors and sorted them to be advanced as either “Priority High Capacity Transit Corridors” or “Proposed Emerging Mobility Corridors.”

The Level 1 Screening Criteria for the Candidate Corridor Analysis included:

  • Agency & Public Stakeholder Feedback
  • Adherence to Guiding Principles
  • Ability to Meet the Project’s Purpose, Vision & Mission, and Goals
  • Readiness of Each Candidate Corridor
  • Adherence to Community Transit Priority Statements

Following Level 1 Screening, 12 candidate corridors were advanced as Priority High Capacity Transit Corridors and 20 candidate corridors were advanced as Emerging Mobility Corridors.

32 Candidate Corridors

12 Candidate Corridors

20 Emerging Mobility Corridors

During Level 2 Screening, the 12 Priority High Capacity Transit Corridors and 20 Emerging Mobility Corridors were evaluated and sorted again depending on how prepared each candidate corridor was to sustain a future transit investment. During this screening level, the Team analyzed the densities around the candidate corridors, because density is the leading determinant of potential transit productivity and performance. The greater the density, the greater the likelihood that residents and visitors will utilize public transit.

During Level 2 Screening, the candidate corridors were sorted into one of three preparedness stages:

  1. High Capacity Transit Solutions: Candidate corridors that are currently ready for high capacity transit.
  2. Enhanced Bus Solutions: Candidate corridors where Enhanced Bus service is currently warranted to enhance transit service delivery. In the future, these candidate corridors could potentially warrant and support high capacity transit investments.
  3. Mobility Solutions: Candidate corridors where Mobility Solutions may be used to build a transit ridership base in the short-term and where enhanced bus solutions or high capacity transit could be implemented in the long-term.

Priority High Capacity Transit Corridors

From our Candidate Corridor Analysis, 12 candidate corridors were advanced as Priority High Capacity Transit Corridors for the CONNECT Beyond region. The Priority High Capacity Transit Corridors are candidate corridors along which high capacity transit lines could be implemented in the near-future and would provide the greatest mobility benefits and return on investments. These are currently ready for high capacity transit investments.

You can use the interactive map below to view the Priority High Capacity Transit Corridors. If you click on each corridor, you can read a description of it.

Emerging Mobility Corridors

From our Candidate Corridor Analysis, 20 candidate corridors were advanced as Emerging Mobility Corridors along which Enhanced Bus Solutions or Mobility Solutions could be implemented in the near future. Emerging Mobility Corridors are corridors that may be good candidates for high capacity transit investments in the future, but are currently better suited for other types of transit investments like Enhanced Bus Solutions and Mobility Solutions. Enhanced Bus and Mobility Solutions would likely help these candidate corridors to build a transit base and pre-position them as candidates for future high capacity transit investments. As regional funding becomes available and these candidate corridors grow and densify, they may be considered for future high capacity transit investments.

You can use the interactive map below to view the Emerging Mobility Corridors. If you click on each corridor, you can read a description of the Emerging Mobility Corridor and which type of solution is being recommended for that corridor by our Team.

Next Steps

Now that our Team has identified the first layer of mobility for CONNECT Beyond, the next steps will be developing the other layers of mobility that will be included in this regional transit plan. The CONNECT Beyond Team will now begin to develop integrated bus strategies to better coordinate local and regional bus services, identify mobility hubs that can serve as connection points for our region, create rural to urban strategies to improve connection between rural and urban transit services, and many other transit and transit-supportive strategies that will enhance transportation choice, improve mobility, and help better connect our communities. CONNECT Beyond is a living effort, an effort that will continue after this regional transit plan is finalized and published.

This regional transit plan will serve as a blueprint that will help guide our region as we work together to develop and implement an interconnected regional transit system. The recommendations included in this plan will continue to evolve during future planning and project development processes, but it will be through working together and collaborative support from local stakeholders, municipalities, regional planning organizations, transit providers, other regional bodies, and community members that these recommendations will come to fruition in some form. By planning ahead and working together, our region can develop an interconnected regional transit network that will allow residents and visitors to travel seamlessly through our 12-county region using modern, high quality transportation services.

Visual representation of next steps