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About the Project

The Transit Transformation Project is an opportunity shape the future with more efficient and effective bus transit to serve the region better. The HRT bus system should be as relevant and reliable as needed to support the region’s economic health and prosperity.

Bus transit has been important to citizens across Hampton Roads for decades. For millions of trips each year, buses are how many citizens get to work, school, medical appointments, shopping, and access other opportunities to “do life.” We want to create a better regional bus system.

With today’s new technologies and transportation options, it’s more important than ever that core bus service is a dependable and integrated part of the region’s mobility ecosystem. It’s time to take a fresh look at the design and performance of our system. In doing so, we can determine how a re-designed bus network could improve service to serve more people more effectively.

What will the project accomplish?

The project will result in a new strategic plan with specific action steps needed to implement transformational changes to the current HRT bus system. To achieve this, the project will evaluate the performance of the current bus system and take a “blank slate” approach to designing scenarios for a new transit network. The goal is to design a new bus network that is more relevant and responsive to the needs of Hampton Roads citizens.

This project is not a high-level study to evaluate corridors for improved transit. It is also not focused on developing new detailed bus service plans (for example, creating new stops and route schedules). Rather, this project will take a fresh look at the overall transit system design and performance, and determine what changes should be made to make the region’s core bus system (HRT) as effective and efficient as possible.

Why is the project being done now?

The transportation marketplace is evolving. New technologies and options like Uber and Lyft are influencing consumer expectations and transportation choices. Bus ridership nationally – and on the current HRT system – has been declining in recent years. It is important for public transit agencies to adapt and evolve to meet the needs of the changing environment. Meanwhile, in 2018 the Virginia General Assembly passed legislation requiring certain transit agencies – HRT included – to develop new strategic plans once every 5 years. This project will satisfy this new strategic planning requirement.

When is the project happening?

The project will run between Fall 2018 and Winter 2019. The public will be encouraged to actively participate, providing valuable input throughout the duration of the project.

Who is involved in the project?

The lead organization for the project is the TDCHR – the Transportation District Commission of Hampton Roads (which does business as Hampton Roads Transit). The public-at-large, transit riders, bus operators, transportation organizations, the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation, local governments, and community stakeholders will all be involved in the project.

The TDCHR is a regional transportation organization. It is comprised of 6 local governments: Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth and Virginia Beach. Through coordination and collaboration, the TDCHR has the primary responsibility to weigh factors that influence the quality of bus service across the 6 cities (for example, costs, technology, governance, operational challenges, etc.) and to identify the sustainable and appropriate role for bus service across the six-city area – both today and for the years ahead.

Will current bus service that I rely on be changed?

The project will not result in immediate changes to any bus service. However, the identification of a new bus network design and mix of services may result in the need to change existing bus routes as part of future implementation plans.

Any major service changes will require additional public outreach, more detailed planning and analysis, and approvals by the TDCHR and any City government in which the service changes would take place.

How has my input been included?

Input has been critical to the analysis of the current bus system. Click on the Public Involvement page to read about what we’ve heard and use the Contact Us link to provide your input. 

Who is the TDCHR Management Team?

This group includes senior transit agency managers who are responsible to obtain and review all necessary inputs into the project, to ensure thorough and responsible vetting (including that known constraints and strategic considerations are taken into account) and project outcomes that meet legislative and regulatory requirements.

Who is the Inter-agency Coordinating Committee?

This group is comprised of representatives from the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation, the Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization, and the Transportation District Commission of Hampton Roads (HRT), which are three agencies that have responsibilities for transportation planning, service outcomes related to the project, and ensuring compliance with legislative and regulatory mandates.

Who is the Regional Advisory Panel?

This group is an advisory committee providing input in the planning process from a broad range of perspectives from across Hampton Roads. Members include representative business and civic leaders from public, private, and non-profit sectors.

Who is the Technical Work Group?

This group is comprised to local and regional transportation planning and budgeting experts. They provide critical technical inputs to support viable outcomes from the planning process. Members include 2 representatives from each local government that is a member of the Transportation District Commission (Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Virginia Beach), 2 representatives from the Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization, and 2 representatives from Hampton Roads Transit.