The Transit Transformation Project was made possible with funding from the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation. This report was reviewed and edited by the project’s Regional Advisory Panel (RAP). The panel would like to thank Roy Kienitz and the teams at WSP and Foursquare ITP, as well as Dr. Brian Smith of Hampton Roads Transit, for their support.
This report is a call to action to make strategic changes to the region’s core public transportation system to support Hampton Roads in achieving its full potential for economic prosperity and quality of life. It should serve as a blueprint for policy makers at local, regional, and state levels to help move the region forward by investing in better multi-modal infrastructure and operations.
The primary focus is on the Hampton Roads Transit (HRT) bus system that has served the cities of Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Virginia Beach since 1999. At the same time, several recommendations in this report acknowledge that there are opportunities for strategic collaboration to improve public transportation across the broader footprint of the region.
Present a truly regional, cross-boundary analysis of service needs based on a blank-slate analysis of travel demand, demographics, land uses, and new service design in comparison to current system performance.
Be open to hard conversations on service trade-offs such as frequency vs. coverage, on system inefficiencies, and on planning and funding while explaining the steps necessary to implement service changes.
Think outside the box to propose solutions to operational, service provision, and financial issues: consider testing and revisiting new service/service changes, pilots for new technologies and mobilities, different service patterns for different areas, etc.
Describe and promote the value of transit as a critical regional need for supporting economic growth and access to jobs in the region.
Present clear and new options of service models for transit in Hampton Roads including high-frequency service and on- demand service, while considering local needs.
Develop a final cost-neutral plan with recommendations for service, cost allocation and funding strategy (if different from current model), and transportation improvements, which shall be adopted by HRT’s governing board and endorsed by the Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization as required by the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Develop additional options for targeted capital and operating investments for the cities and the region, including improvements to reduce trip time and appropriate vehicle investments and amenities.
Communicate broadly, spread the enthusiasm, and engage the cities, regional stakeholders, the HRT governing board, and the general public, including current users, in decision-making at all stages of the project.