UTA’s light rail network, which just celebrated its 20 year anniversary, has become a key component of the region’s transportation system. Although very successful, the system must adapt to growth and evolving travel patterns to retain and improve its vital function in the overall transportation network.
Over the years, through both internal processes and regional planning efforts, a range of projects have been considered to optimize the efficiency of light rail, assure sustainability, and expand to new areas. However, all of these elements have not been examined holistically. A comprehensive analysis of light rail service is needed to determine which improvements UTA should pursue in both the near and long term.
The Future of Light Rail Study will:
- Analyze and recommend:
- Service, operational, and capital improvements to the regional light rail network to optimize existing function and accommodate future growth
- A fleet strategy to address aging vehicles
- A range of possibilities related to:
- Frequency and span of service
- Potential light rail extensions and new lines
- Development of new station locations, including infill stations on existing lines
- Possible changes and additions to end-to-end routing of lines
- Costs and benefits for each potential improvement will inform the analysis
- A phased approach to implementing realistic, incremental enhancements that will meet immediate needs and optimize operational efficiencies
- Capital improvements that increase capacity to accommodate future growth and improve system efficiency
- Improving attractiveness of existing service – travel times, speeds, transit priority
- A draft light rail system plan to forward into the regional planning process
During the first phase of this study, UTA and its partners thoroughly assessed the existing conditions and current performance of existing light rail service, as well as compiled findings and preliminary considerations. Stakeholders from around the region were involved in a scenario workshop, using key goals to identify needed light rail improvements:
- Grow ridership
- Define appropriate span and frequency of service for current and project demand
- Recommend necessary fleet modifications and facility needs
- Recommend necessary projects that improve speed, reliability, and safety of existing system
UTA is now in the second phase of the study, where the team will work to screen scenarios and projects and develop an implementation plan.
Over the next several months, additional stakeholder and community outreach will occur to inform the final scenarios and projects included in the recommendations. Findings and recommendations will be available from the project team will be available in late Summer 2022.