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Study Info

At its April 19, 2017, meeting, the CATA Board of Directors resolved to suspend the Bus Rapid Transit (“BRT”) project until such time as CATA has reasonable assurances as to the availability of adequate federal funding to support the BRT and authorized the CEO/Executive Director, Sandy L. Draggoo, to take actions to suspend the project on such terms and conditions as she deems necessary and are approved by legal counsel.

Study Process and Schedule

Study activities began in August 2009 and were completed in February 2011. There were four main phases to the project. View a visualization of the sudy process. 

Project Initiation: Vision/Ideas

Summer 2009

Brainstorming Session

Members of the Technical and Steering Committees worked with the consulting team to generate ideas that would kickstart the project and form the basis for future planning activities.

Public Involvement Plan

The Steering Committee created a Public Involvement Plan, which outlined strategies for obtaining the meaningful participation of the public, governmental agencies, non-governmental organizations, and others.

Public Survey

In an online survey, the general public was asked about transportation issues along the Michigan / Grand River Corridor. This input helped define the Project's Purpose and Need.

Review of Previous Corridor Planning Work

Read a summary of relevant planning work that has taken place over time in the Corridor, which helped to identify corridor problems, needs, and opportunities.

Review of Existing/Future Corridor Conditions

Read a memo that summarizes the existing conditions within the Corridor as they relate to transportation, and how these conditions are projected to change over the coming decades.

Project Goals and Objectives

Read Goals and Objectives for the project, which were developed by the Steering Committee in consultation with stakeholders from each of the four participating communities.

Purpose and Need Statement

Read the project Purpose and Need Statement, which describes the problems, needs and opportunities related to transportation in the Corridor. This document set the stage for how different kinds of improvements would be developed and evaluated.

Vision Statement

Based on the work during the Project Initiation Phase, the Steering Committee adopted a Vision Statement for the Michigan / Grand River Corridor.

Development of Corridor Transportation Options 

Fall 2009

Conduct A Transit Rider Survey

Review the Transit Rider Survey, which served as a guide for understanding how transit system improvements might be designed to better serve existing riders and attract new riders.

Transit Mode Options

A number of transit mode options have been considered for the Corridor. Review Transit Mode Options presented at the December/January Public Meetings.

Corridor Segment Options

The Corridor has considered a number of options for different segments of the Corridor. Review Corridor Segment Options Boards A-4 presented at the December/January Public Meetings.

Online Surveys

The website included interactive online surveys for the public to express preferences about different transit modes and how transit would share the public right-of-way with other users.

Meetings with Corridor Businesses and Developers

Two meetings were held with Corridor businesses and developers in December 2009 to provide an opportunity for meeting attendees to review project activities and share preferences, concerns, and recommendations. Review materials from the December/January Public Meetings.

Public Open Houses

Three public open houses were held throughout the Corridor in January 2010 to provide the public with an opportunity to review project activities and provide preferences, concerns, and recommendations. Review materials from the December/January Public Meetings.

Evaluation of Alternatives

Spring/Summer 2010

Fatal Flaw Analysis

A "Fatal Flaw Analysis" eliminated a number of options from further consideration because they did not meet project criteria related to the Purpose and Need. Only Bus Rapid Transit, Modern Streetcar and Light Rail Transit running in the center of the right-of-way remain under consideration. Review a summary of that analysis.

Detailed Definition and Evaluation of Alternatives

The study developed detailed definitions of three transit modes that survived the fatal flaw analysis: BRT, LRT and Modern Streetcar. In addition, the Study developed a lower-cost "Baseline Alternative" that improves existing service. One Pager #8 describes the alternatives and the results of the evaluation.

Public Open Houses

Open houses to review and discuss the results of the detailed evaluation of alternatives were held November 9–11. Review information that was presented.

Selection of Locally Preferred Alternative

Winter 2010/2011

Selection of Locally Preferred Alternative

Following the open houses on November 9–11, the Steering Committee may make a recommendation on a Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA) for the Michigan/Grand River Corridor at its meeting on December 2, 2010.

Study Update

CATA and its study partners completed detailed discussions about three potential “Build Alternatives” for the Michigan/Grand River Corridor: Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), Light Rail Transit (LRT), and Modern Streetcar. These discussions included an evaluation of their potential costs and benefits, as well as how they meet goals and objectives for the Corridor.

From the beginning of the Study in the summer of 2009 through February 2011, the Study Partners identified and considered a large number of possible transit options for the Michigan/Grand River Corridor. On February 24th, 2010, several transit options, such as Personal Rapid Transit and Commuter Rail, were dismissed from further consideration because they did not meet criteria related to cost, ridership, environmental impact, consistency with local plans, and public support.

The study partners completed a more in-depth evaluation phase of the three remaining alternatives to compare their costs and benefits. Activities included conceptual engineering, transit service planning, cost estimates and review of economic development potential. A fourth alternative, called the “Baseline Alternative”, was also developed for comparison purposes. The Baseline Alternative was a lower cost approach that attempted to address the needs of the Corridor without the significant infrastructure costs of each of the three Build Alternatives. This would include enhanced bus shelters at major stops, new park-and-ride facilities and the use of traffic signal priority for buses.

The Study Partners hosted open houses in November 2010 for the public to review and comment on the alternatives and the results of the evaluation. Public input was extremely important as the CATA Board expressed its support of BRT on Michigan/Grand River Avenues as the Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA) at their meeting on February 16, 2011. (See One-Pager #9 for more information on the LPA.)

Now that an LPA has been selected, the next step is to apply to enter FTA’s Small Starts program. As part of the application process, CATA will conduct National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Scoping, the formal process that ensures citizens, elected officials, and appropriate government review agencies are involved early in the decision-making process and in outlining the scope of the study so comments and concerns can be addressed during the Project Development. In addition, the application process entails the following tasks:

  • Refine Capital Cost Estimates
  • Refine Operating and Maintenance Cost Estimates
  • Estimate Ridership on Opening Day
  • Quantify Auto and Transit Travel Time Savings for the Region
  • Develop a Funding Plan
  • Document Existing Land Use
  • Demonstrate Future Transit-Supportive Development Plans
  • Identify potential impacts to natural, physical, and social environment

Study Material

Review study material approved by the Steering Committee and Technical Committee. This material includes technical reports, memoranda and presentations.

Purpose and Need

Review the Purpose and Need Statement, which describes the problems, needs and opportunities being addressed by the Study.

Goals and Objectives

Review a set of goals and objectives that are helping guide the development and evaluation of corridor transportation options.

Study Lingo

Review a list of transportation planning terms that you may not be familiar with.