There is currently an Omaha Metro Transit plan for a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project, and they have received a 2014 federal TIGER grant of just under $15 million, which would cover a majority of the initial costs. The route will connect “Westroads Mall, Methodist Hospital, Children’s Hospital, Crossroads Village, UNO, UNMC, Midtown Crossing and Downtown Omaha” (from http://www.ometro.com/tiger ).
The Central Omaha Transit Alternatives Analysis lists the primary components of BRT:
“ – Advanced bus service
– Operates in mixed traffic and/or dedicated lanes
– Low floor buses with multiple doors
– Accommodates maximum of 3 bicycles on front of bus
– Preferential bus treatments (queue jumps, traffic signal priority)
– Specially branded service
– Custom stops and shelters
– Shares travel lanes and stops with other buses
– 40-90 passengers per vehicle”
A route with these features would do a lot to improve mobility in the Omaha area, but costs, political concerns, and a tight project timeline could pressure the project partners to make sacrifices that reduce quality. We’re keeping on top of developments, and we need your help to help make sure we end up with a top notch system. Come out to the Mode Shift meeting on Wednesday January 28 from 7-8:30 at The Pizza Shoppe Collective, 6056 Maple St. You can also contact us to join the Mode Shift BRT Taskforce and stay up to date on BRT in Omaha through firstname.lastname@example.org.