A Transit System for Metro Richmond
What is the long-term vision for transit in Greater Richmond?
The Greater RVA Transit Vision Plan was developed to address this very question. This study used current transit and demographic data, land use data and plans, transit and population forecasts, public opinion surveys, and stakeholder input to create a vision for transit development in the region through 2040.
Having this plan is excellent and problematic all at once. It is excellent because it is an officially and regionally approved by our own Richmond Regional Transportation Planning Organization! Yet it is problematic because 2040 is a generation away! And presently Richmond ranks 92nd out of 100 top metro areas in terms of transit access. The benefits of regional transit are needed now.
Providing frequent public transit along the major corridors in our region as laid out in the Vision Plan would transform our metro area into a top-ten city for public transit.
That kind of connectivity would enhance mobility, drive economic growth, and position metro Richmond as a vastly more accessible, equitable, and attractive place for people to live, work, play, and visit. As Rev. Ben Campbell highlights, “The real question is whether now, having seen this, can we make it effective?... Once you put these major lines in, everyone can relate to them and everyone can get to them. There’s just this immense opportunity." ("Transit vision plan is an 'immense opportunity' for Richmond region, advocate says" Richmond Times-Dispatch, Dec 16, 2016).
It's time for us to join together in this common constructive cause!
Updates and avenues to take action
In the fall of 2017, Henrico County —along with GRTC and Jarrett Walker + Associates—undertook a Transit Development Plan to explore options for expanding public transit frequency and coverage in.
You can see the report on drafts of the plan here, as well as a map of recommended map for 2018 below, and what a high frequency network for Henrico could look like.
"Henrico's supervisors support extending GRTC bus service to Short Pump" Richmond Times-Dispatch, January 13, 2018
"GRTC, Henrico are expanding bus service to Richmond International Airport" Richmond Times-Dispatch, Nov 29, 2017
Chesterfield County presently has almost no public transit service. It is currently undertaking Special Area Plans for Northern Jefferson Davis Hwy as well as a Special Area Plan for Midlothian Community. Incorporating Public Transit into these plans is a key first step.
Running public transportation along Rt 1 and neighboring corridors is an even more powerful first step that would enormously benefit people's lives in communities along the corridor today.
"Getting There: Chesterfield County's rocky relationship with buses might soon take a turn" Richmond Magazine, Nov 14, 2017
"Chesterfield asks state for study of public transportation options for Jeff Davis corridor" Richmond Times-Dispatch, Sept 3, 2017
"Is tide turning for public transit in Chesterfield?" Chesterfield Observer, August 2, 2017
"Trolley isn't enough for Northern Chesterfield's transit needs" Richmond Times-Dispatch, July 20, 2017
"Supervisor pitches GRTC bus service along Jeff Davis" Chesterfield Observer, May 31, 2017
"Poverty on Jeff Davis: Dreaming of mass transit" Chesterfield Observer, December 14, 2016
In 2016, the City of Richmond—along with GRTC and Jarrett Walker + Associates—undertook a redesign of the city's bus network to connect seamlessly with the Pulse (our region's first Bus Rapid Transit line) and to work more efficiently and effectively. Planners released a recommended draft of the plan in January 2017, and City Council approved the plan that February.
The Pulse and the rest of the Richmond Transit Network Plan are scheduled to open sometime spring 2017. Updates from GRTC are available here. Other areas on which RVA Rapid Transit is working in 2018 are RVA Youth Passes for Richmond Public School high school students, akin to the program in Hampton Roads (Student Freedom Pass).
Richmond City News
"Richmond City Council signs off on bus system redesign, could open in November" Richmond Times-Dispatch, Feb 13, 2017
"New GRTC Transit route structure to favor ridership over coverage" Richmond Times-Dispatch, Oct 5, 2016
"RVA's new rapid transit line requires some big changes - will it pay off?" RVA Mag, Nov 29, 2016
"Transit opportunities mean enhanced access for RVA" Guest column, Richmond Times-Dispatch, Sept 16, 2016
"On BRT: 'We have to build a web'" Richmond Magazine, Feb 14, 2016