Since 2005, transit ridership has increased by 40 percent in Middle Tennessee. Even as the ridership has increased on the region'surban transit systems, the options consist mainly of bus systems operated with limited service hours and routes which run in traffic.
Currently, Middle Tennesseans have access to a number of bus routes that primarily operate within Nashville, Murfreesboro, Franklin and Clarksville. These routes are operated by local transit authorities: Nashville Metropolitan Transit Authority, Murfreesboro Rover, Franklin Transit Authority and Clarksville Transit, respectively. There are also regional bus routes operated by the Middle Tennessee Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) that connect downtown Nashville to cities throughout the region, including Brentwood, Clarksville, Franklin, Gallatin, Hendersonville, LaVergne, Murfreesboro, Smyrna, Springfield, Spring Hill and Thompson's Station. In addition to bus routes, the RTA operates the Music City Star regional rail, which connects Davidson and Wilson counties, and provides weekday service to commuters. It is currently the only rail option available for public transit in the region.
Regional Transit Initiatives
- In 2015, the Nashville Area Chamber, in partnership with the MPO and regional transit agencies launched Moving Forward: Transit Solutions for Our Region to achieve community-based goals for the expansion of public transit options. This effort enhances the public planning process by broadeing citizen understanding of the benefits of tran-sit and the cost of the status quo; and provides an opportunity for the private sector tol enrich community engagement and help create public buy-in of the plans that local govern-ments, transit agencies and TDOT are responsible for implementing. Holding these organizations accountable will keep us on the right track.
- Initially created in 2009, the Transit Alliance of Middle Tennessee is focused on building widespread support for securing the funding needed to implement the regional transit vision. The Transit Alliance runs a regional educational program, Transit Citizen Leadership Academy, which equips private and public-sector leaders across Middle Tennessee with the ability to lead conversations about the value of public transit within their own networks. In the coming years, the Alliance will play a critical role in the campaign to dedicate a share of local funding to transit.
- National organizations, Transportation for America and TransitCenter, have partnered to create a new academy aimed at outfitting local community leaders from emerging transit markets with tools for success. The Nashville region was selected along with Indianapolis and Raleigh as the inaugural cohort. The academy provides peer exchanges with regions that have successfully implemented transit plans and provides access to best practices and lessons learned. Middle Tennessee participants represent banking, education, real estate development, local non-profit work, elected office, the Nashville Area Chamber, and the Transit Alliance.
Current Transit Planning Efforts
nMotion 2015 is the MTA/RTA's Strategic Plan, a 20-year comprehensive plan designed to meet the Nashville area's vision for transit. The plan will look at how the transit system works today and identify opportunities to enhance the transit system, improve service, attract and retain new riders and meet the growing needs of the Nashville region. Throughout the project, the public will engage in developing the blueprint of actions to make the best opportunities a reality. Find out how to participate here.
The Northwest Corridor Transit Study is a transit based corridor study that will be undertaken in accordance with processes established by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). While the FTA no longer requires that applicants complete an Alternatives Analysis (AA) study, following the previously outlined AA process is generally advisable as it will yield products, analysis and information which may be used in further project development. Public input is encouraged during the process.