I-35 Fixed Guideway Corridor Alternatives Analysis
- Enhance Mobility Through and Within the Corridor
- Provide Efficient, High Quality Transit Improvements
- Financial Considerations
- Support Existing and Planned Business, Transportation and Residential Investments
- Support Effective Land Use and Development Patterns
- Provide a Cleaner, Safer Environment
- Provide Service for Transit-dependent Persons
An Implementation Phasing Study will be conducted to develop a plan for moving forward with the I-35 Alternatives Analysis Locally Preferred Alternative of Bus Rapid Transit on I-35 using existing infrastructure. The study will lay the framework for service deployment and will include how to get the service started, what the phasing would be, whether there would need to be policy changes at KDOT, getting law enforcement involved and how implementation would be done.
In 1998, a Major Investment Study (MIS) for the I-35 corridor concluded that a commuter rail option was the most viable alternative for reducing increasing traffic congestion over the next 20 years. Based on that study, Johnson County moved forward with follow-up planning for a potential commuter rail system. However, detailed analysis determined escalating costs for commuter rail required review of the original finding.
Therefore, an update of the I-35 Fixed Guideway Alternatives Analysis
was initiated in October 2004. The updated study has evaluated the
feasibility of previously studied alternatives, including commuter rail, light
rail, additional express bus service, high occupancy vehicle lanes, as well
as a mode not previously studied Bus Rapid Transit (BRT).
The specific study goals of the I-35 Fixed Guideway Study were to:
- Enhance mobility through and within the corridor.
- Provide efficient, high quality transit improvements.
- Be mindful to financial considerations in determining the best options.
- Support existing and planned business, transportation and residential investments.
- Support effective land use and development patterns.
- Provide a cleaner, safer environment.
- Provide service for transit-dependent persons.
Extensive public participation was utilized throughout this project to gain
public input, provide informational updates to our local, state and federal
partners, and to get consensus on a Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA).
In addition, a Technical Committee and an Advisory Committee were
formed to help guide the project team and process.
Recommendations based on findings: Both Committees recommend moving forward with the Bus Rapid Transit option, knowing that (if feasible) a rail option could be incorporated at a later date and time. The recommendation for BRT is based on the following information:
- Ridership estimates for commuter rail are in the range of 800 to 1,000
daily passenger trips. Ridership estimates for the Bus Rapid Transit
(BRT) alternative are approximately 4,300 trips per day.
- The ridership estimates for commuter rail are lower than expected, and
are likely not sufficient to justify FTA funding through the New Starts grant program. Commuter rail is estimated to have an initial capital cost near $228 million. Preliminary operating cost estimates are $6.3 million per year.
- The ridership estimates for BRT are encouraging and are at levels that
appear to justify a transit investment in the corridor. Capital cost
estimates for the BRT alternative are about $50 million. Preliminary
operating cost estimates are $6.2 million per year.
- BRT services can be developed and deployed incrementally as
resources become available whereas rail service must be fully developed
and funded (upon completion of design and engineering) prior to construction.
The Johnson County Board of County Commissioners unanimously
approved the I-35 Fixed Guideway Alternatives Analysis Locally Preferred
Alternative of Bus Rapid Transit on I-35 on May 15, 2008.