Transit Mode Options

Transit Mode Options

What makes a mode?

Mode refers primarily to the type of vehicle or technology that is chosen for a transit line, corridor or system. The type of running way (e.g., roadway vs. rail) on which the vehicle will run, the locations and types of stations, and the hours and frequency of service are factors that are just as critical as the type of vehicle in determining the success of a new transit line. These factors are influenced, but not necessarily determined, by the mode selected.

What transit modes have been considered for the Route 7 corridor in the Study?

During Phase I of the study, a suite of modes were considered for the Route 7 corridor. Among them, five types of premium transit modes, in addition to existing local bus routes, were further considered based on functionality and realistic expectations. They require investment to implement and are designed to be faster, more frequent, and/or simpler to use than regular bus service, and they potentially carry more passengers. The premium transit modes evaluated under Phase I of the study included:

  • Express Bus
  • Rapid Bus
  • Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)
  • Light Rail Transit (LRT)
  • Streetcar

Heavy rail (Metrorail) and commuter rail (VRE) were modes not considered for the Route 7 corridor due to the intense space and right-of-way requirements and significantly higher capital costs involved for implementation.

What transit modes are being evaluated during Phase II of the Study?

Based on the screening process carried forward during Phase I, the premium transit modes that are being further evaluated under Phase II include:

  • Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)
  • Light Rail Transit (LRT)

In addition to these premium transit modes, Phase II efforts will also evaluate the local bus service and its effectiveness in estimated future land use and traffic conditions (this effort establishes base case scenario to compare the effectiveness of other transit options), and the effectiveness of local bus service if Transportation Systems Management (TSM) improvements are implemented. TSM refers to low-cost transit improvement options without major capital changes to the existing roadway or transit network such as enhancement in service, decreases in headways, or the provision of all-day service.