COTA × LinkUS
Central Ohio’s growth and mobility initiative
Mobility options are powerful. Whether you choose to drive, cycle, walk, scoot or roll with COTA, that choice is impacted by the available mobility infrastructure in our region. We need safe bike lanes for cyclists, accessible sidewalks for pedestrians and reliable transit for everyone. LinkUS is the region’s growth and mobility initiative that will provide a world-class mobility and transportation system that links residents to opportunities.
LinkUS is a collaborative effort to enhance Central Ohio’s mobility options – and COTA plays an important role.
- Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC)
- Franklin County
- City of Columbus
- Additional business and municipal partners
Together with our LinkUS partners, COTA is investing in the research and development of mobility enhancements for our region. The LinkUS program will create:
- Rapid transit (BRT)
- Increased fixed-route lines, frequencies and hours
- More on-demand zones, shelters and technology for convenience and communication
- Bicycle and pedestrian improvements
- Expanded greenways and trails
- Equitable access to housing and jobs
So what is rapid transit? And why should you care about it? Rapid transit is enhanced transportation that can take many forms: Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), light rail, street cars, commuter rail and other emerging modes. After extensive research, LinkUS determined that BRT is the best fit for our region’s rapidly growing transportation needs.
This is not your standard bus service. BRT combines the capacity and speed of a metro with the flexibility and affordability of a bus system.
|Standard Fixed-Route (Bus) Service||CMAX||Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)|
|Bicycle Racks on Front of Vehicle||×||×|
|Safe & Affordable Transportation||×||×||×|
|Traffic Signal Priority (TSP)||×||×|
|Bike Storage in Vehicles||×|
|Dedicated Transit Lanes (Enforced With Infrastructure)||×|
|Off-Vehicle Fare Payment (Fast Boarding)||×|
|Transit-Supportive Development Around Stations||×|
With a BRT system, customers pay fares before getting on the vehicle. That means that, as soon as the doors open, customers can efficiently transfer on and off the vehicle to allow for more reliable service timing. Moreover, you won’t have to step up into the vehicle. The boarding platform will be level with the floor of the vehicle, so you can stroll or roll right inside. This level boarding also allows you to roll your bike right into the vehicle and stow it safely in an on-board bike rack, rather than locking it to the front.
Once customers are safely inside, the doors close. Unlike noise pollution created by streams of cars, our region’s BRT system will be electric and easy on the ears. BRT vehicles will zip through the region in dedicated lanes with Traffic Signal Priority (TSP). TSP means that the traffic lights will adjust to let our BRT service through so that we can easily reach the next stop right on time. In other words, public transit will have “priority” at these intersections.
Once you reach your destination, customers can stride right off the vehicle onto another level platform (no steps required), to allow for a safe, efficient exit. In the spaces surrounding our BRT stations, LinkUS is laying the foundation for beautiful greenways, safe bicycle lanes and accessible pedestrian paths for the next stretch of your journey.
Excited yet? We are, too.
Rapid Transit Service
So where will you be able to ride BRT? LinkUS and our partners have conducted extensive research and community surveys to determine corridors where rapid transit service will operate the best and help the most customers. The foundational phase of this research, COTA’s NextGen vision plan, was completed in 2017. NextGen identified 14 mobility corridors that are suitable for this type of development.
A corridor is a term used to describe major thoroughfares in the region and the communities along them that will be the focus for significant transportation investments, including rapid transit and other multimodal improvements, coupled with strategic housing and job creation opportunities.
Then, the 2019 Insight2050 Corridor Concepts Study built on NextGen insights by taking a more detailed look at five corridors. The goal was to provide a demonstration of how more transportation choice and strategic development along each corridor could create more efficient and affordable options for working, commuting and living in the region
Of the 14 major mobility corridors identified, the first in development are the East-West Corridors and Northwest Corridor.
Two corridors—East Main and West Broad—were officially accepted into the Federal Capital Investment Grant (CIG) Program by the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Transit Administration in October 2021. The Northwest Corridor is anticipated to be adopted as a Locally Preferred Alternative in late 2022.
Stay tuned for updates from COTA and LinkUS as these plans continue to develop because the future of mobility in Central Ohio is bright.
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