NASHVILLE, TENN – Since public outreach began in April for the yearlong strategic planning process known as nMotion 2015, more than 5,000 responses have been collected by the Nashville Metropolitan Transit Authority (Nashville MTA) and the Regional Transportation Authority of Middle Tennessee (RTA).
The latest phase of outreach began with a survey on future trade-offs facing the transit system. Seven survey questions asked respondents to allocate $10 between two options, such as improving existing service or expanding it to new areas; improving downtown versus crosstown service; and developing more premium services, like bus rapid transit, streetcar and light rail, versus increasing regular local service.
The survey was developed to challenge residents to think about weighing future trade-offs. MTA/RTA has been tracking survey responses and collecting comments via the project website and social media. MTA/RTA has also presented at a number of community events and hosted two public meetings on Aug. 11 and 12 that attracted approximately 150 attendees. Interested residents can also request a presentation by a representative from MTA/RTA by visiting http://nmotion2015.com/request-transit-talk/.
From the responses and comments, MTA/RTA found a great deal of discussion and enthusiasm for developing more premium options that would provide a higher level of service, like the Music City Star. Other common suggestions were around developing more service outside of the downtown area and providing more frequent service over longer hours. Respondents also expressed some concern that, before the system is expanded, a number of improvements need to be made to the current service.
“The point of the exercise was for people to take a look at the types of choices we face as we think through how to make improvements to our transit system,” said Steve Bland, CEO of MTA/RTA. “Once we begin to develop a plan and ask for feedback, we’re going to face a difficult series of trade-offs similar to the options posed in the survey.”
The next phase of outreach will be focused on collecting feedback on strategies to improve the transit system. MTA/RTA has begun releasing reports as part of a Transit Strategies Series and collecting feedback on the project’s discussion forum athttp://nmotion2015.com/our-blog/. Each report in the series explains how that strategy was implemented in other regions across the country and discusses the challenges and considerations to implementing that approach in Middle Tennessee. Reports on frequent service networks, downtown service redesign, bus rapid transit (BRT), family of services,airport service and freeway BRT are available now. Reports on rapid bus, transit-oriented development, first mile/last mile connections, light rail, and stop consolidation will be available over the next two weeks. A total of more than 20 reports will be available for review and comment by the end of September.
“We encourage everyone to visit the nMotion website to learn about and comment on some of the future strategies that could be used to improve our service,” Bland said.
MTA/RTA will continue to collect feedback online and at community meetings as more reports are released over the next few weeks. This input will be used to put together a number of scenarios for Middle Tennesseans to consider starting in October.
A full summary of the latest phase of outreach, including geographic location, gender, race and ethnicity of the respondents, with comments is available on request.