Transportation / Transit
A quality transportation system provides mobility to all users. While we typically think of roads and cars in America, a complete transportation system includes walking and biking options, roadways, rail and water ways, and mass transportation. A complete multi-modal transportation system is vital to a region’s economic and environmental health and functioning. Inefficient, congested systems impact mobility for residents, the ability to deliver goods and services, and the quality of the air we breathe.
Why It Matters
Current research by CRT in 2011 reveals that 62 % of our ten-county region’s workforce live and work in different counties. This data, from 2010 U.S. Census Report, indicates that the Middle Tennessee region is highly interconnected—many people from neighboring counties are traveling back and forth every day. Intense inter-regional travel combined with intra-regional thru traffic on Middle Tennessee’s four major interstates compounds congestion further. This reality of Middle Tennessee’s current transportation situation has caused regional leaders to work together, consider, and embrace the need for a diversified transportation system.
A recent 2011 report by CEO for Cities cited the Nashville Region as having the worst commute in the country based on total hours of peak travels. That same year a Brookings Institution report, Missed Opportunity: Transit and Jobs in Metropolitan America, ranked the Nashville Metropolitan Statistical Area No. 93 out of 100 in terms of transit access. This report stated, “An estimated 32.2 % of working-age residents have access to public transportation such as trains, buses and other alternatives.”
Regional leaders in Middle Tennessee have recognized the need to provide a variety of transportation options to address growing traffic congestion, mobility needs, pollution, and health concerns. A multi-modal transportation system that moves people and goods efficiently supports our region’s future economic vitality, livability, and sustainability.
Transportation / Transit
Middle Tennessee has made good steps in providing citizens more options for transportation. Currently the region provides Park and Ride commuter programs across the metropolitan region. The Music City Star, running between Wilson County and downtown Nashville, is the first modern commuter rail line in Tennessee. The region has made great strides in planning for the future needs of the additional one million new residents projected to call Middle Tennessee home by 2035 in our adopted MPO 2035 Regional Transportation Plan, that calls for a mix of mass transit systems and improvement of existing roads and infrastructure.
The Nashville Area MPO leads in the development of the region’s long-term range transportation plan and short-range transportation improvement program through a partnership among HUD, DOT, Tennessee DOT, local elected leadership, local planning and public works directors, the business community, and citizens across Davidson, Rutherford, Sumner, Williamson, Wilson and parts of Maury and Robertson counties. The MPO is funded by local partners and through grants from the United States DOT.
The Middle Tennessee Mayors Caucus was formed in July of 2009 to provide leadership on important issues facing a rapidly changing regional landscape. Transportation, and particularly the pursuit of a modern mass transit system, served as the early catalyst, but in its brief history the Caucus has served as an effective forum for building personal relationships among Mayors and has helped local governments support each other on issues ranging from flood recovery to proposed state legislation.
The Transit Alliance brings together leaders from all ten counties of Middle Tennessee to address fulfilling the need of an efficient mass transit system in the region. The Sustaining Contributors represent businesses, educational institutions and individuals who are committed to the mission of the Alliance, and through the Alliance, to the future of our region.
The Transit Alliance Advisors work closely with the Middle Tennessee Mayors Caucus to provide a forum for the elected leaders of the cities and counties of Middle Tennessee to discuss regional issues, including transportation.
The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) operates multiple regional bus routes between downtown Nashville and surrounding counties. The RTA’s regional rideshare program also organizes vanpools and carpools throughout Middle Tennessee. The RTA currently operates the Music City Star commuter rail system.
Transportation / Transit
- 62% of our region’s workforce live and work in different counties
Source: US Census tool: on the Map
- In 2010 our region’s commuters spent an average of 35 hours stuck in traffic congestion
Source: The Nashville Business Journal, 9-27-11
- The Nashville region ranks at the bottom, 93 out of 100, for transit access
Source: Brookings Report
- The average commuter drives 37 (VMT) miles a day in our region
Source: 2010 VMT Data
- In 2010 the Nashville region was ranked number one for the most hours spent in rush hour traffic per person.
Source: 2011 CEOs for Cities Report: Driven Apart
In mid-February of 2014, Franklin Tomorrow released the results of a transportation issues study conducted in 2013, revealing that people want reduced congestion and less delay, more transportation choices, and a better street network.
The survey was formulated by a citizen task force working to expand on results of the 2011 Visioning Process, which drew over 1,000 participants, and a 2012 Household Survey conducted with the Williamson County Association of Realtors, which reached a 400-household count and was conducted by a national polling firm.
The 50-plus question online survey included responses from almost 1,000 people, including more than half who identified themselves as living in the City of Franklin, while the remainder identified themselves as working in the city.
The answers indicate 90% of people participating drive to work alone and had schedules which did not make ridesharing possible. Of the resident participants, 46% identified themselves as having lived in Franklin for more than 10 years, while one-third said they had school-age children. The highest percentage of residents had two or more vehicles.
Overall takeaways from the survey include:
- Roadway congestion in Franklin is a problem and has gotten worse in the past 12 months
- Roadway congestion is bad during normal times and is worse during temporary conditions
- Address congestion on existing roadways (reduce delay & improve travel times)
- 3/4th of respondents think traffic congestion affects Franklin’s character, reputation, recruiting of new businesses.
From residents, survey results indicate:
- Residents want reduced congestion and less delay, well-maintained roadways, a better street network, improved safety, and more transportation choices.
- The biggest reason people don’t walk or bike is the lack of sidewalks and bikeways.
- If there were adequate trails and sidewalks, 87% say they would use them more.
- Residential & employment center placements are important for greater transit use.
- ¾ of respondents think congestion affects Franklin’s character, reputation, and job recruitment efforts.
From the commuter survey, results indicate:
- The highest percent of commuters into Franklin comes from areas outside the City within Williamson County as well as from the Counties of Davidson, Rutherford, and Maury.
- There appears to be an opportunity to increase commuter participation in carpooling, vanpooling, and express bus services.
- Additionally, if there were adequate trails and sidewalks to get around Franklin from employment centers, 76% say they would use them more.
Franklin Tomorrow is a non-profit community visioning nonprofit which has as its mission to engage the community, foster collaboration, and advocate for a shared vision for the future of Franklin that includes a vibrant economy, great people, distinct character, and robust neighborhoods.
For more information or to schedule a presentation of the survey results, contact Mindy Tate, Franklin Tomorrow executive director, at 794-0998 or [email protected].
Many Middle Tennessee communities have taken advantage of Safe Routes to School Funding to enhance connectivity and accessibility at existing school sites. The community of Nolensville recognized that improving walking and biking access to Nolensville Elementary would accomplish several objectives. It would provide help to many families who lived nearby the school but were unable or felt uncomfortable letting their children walk there.Read More»
Many Middle Tennessee towns and cities are currently implementing projects in 2014 to create connectivity and enhance transportation choices for their residents, with an emphasis on safe personal travel options. An article published yesterday in the Tennessean spotlights sidewalk construction underway in Gallatin, which is intended to help improve pedestrian safety and access in some of the city’s most heavily travelled areas. In May of 2013, the Tennessean reports, Gallatin Mayor Jo Ann Graves organized a team of city engineering and planning officials to focus on where new sidewalks could be added.Read More»
The Nashville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, in partnership with area transit operators, has fabricated a more graphically-appealing way to convey the “bold, new vision for mass transit” from the 2035 Regional Transportation Plan. Today, the MPO released a greater-Nashville “route” map, illustrating the major transit-planning elements over the near, mid, and long-term – the style of which is based upon the now-ubiquitous passenger-wayfinding schematics used by world-class transit systems, such as the London Underground, New York City MTA, and D.C. Metro.Read More»
CRT Announces 2013–2014 Rockefeller Grant in Support of TDOT Multimodal Opportunities for Tennessee Communities
Cumberland Region Tomorrow is happy to announce that Tennessee has been selected to receive Rockefeller Grant funding in 2013 and 2014 that will be focused to support TDOT Multimodal Programs and Funding Opportunities for Tennessee communities through Smart Growth America and Transportation for America. CRT will serve as project manager for the $150,000 grant effort as Tennessee’s leading smart growth organization and will work in conjunction with TDOT Multimodal leaders and Tennessee Regions’ Roundtable Network members to take advantage of Rockefeller grant resources to complete research on community leaders’ priorities and perceptions across the state. That research will support the joint development and dissemination of new communications and outreach materials targeted to community leaders across Tennessee.Read More»
The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) is creating a new long-term vision for transportation in Tennessee and public input is needed. This 25-Year Long-Range Transportation Plan provides the foundation for prioritizing transportation investments across the State. The updated plan will aid in accomplishing TDOT’s mission to serve the public by providing the best multimodal transportation system in the Nation.Read More»
The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) announced this week the creation of the Multimodal Access Fund. The Multimodal Access Fund is a new program to support the transportation needs of transit users, pedestrians, and bicyclists through infrastructure projects that address existing gaps along the state highway network.
“This fund is designed to help communities provide transportation choices for people across Tennessee,” said TDOT Commissioner John Schroer. “Improving the facilities for walking, biking, and transit is essential to the continued growth and success of our towns and cities.”Read More»
TDOT Aims to Improve Service While Saving Tax Dollars
The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) is seeking to improve driver navigation and pedestrian safety through a reconfiguration of the square’s roundabout and Lebanon business leaders are hoping the project will help to revitalize the city’s historic business district.Read More»
Clarksville City Council members discussed going the Regional Transportation Authority of Middle Tennessee, which would give local commuters one more option. Clarksville Transit System Director Jimmy Smith said it would be the first step in implementing a commuter bus service.Read More»