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TACIR Publication Policy - Tennessee · PDF file about public transportation. Tennessee cannot wait on the federal government or other state governments to pave the way to its future

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  • TACIR Publication Policy

    Staff Information Reports, Staff Briefs, Staff Technical Reports and Staff Working Papers and TACIR Fast Facts are issued to promote the mission and objectives of the Commission. These reports are intended to share information and research fi ndings relevant to important public policy issues in an attempt to promote wider understanding.

    Only reports clearly labeled as “Commission Reports” represent the offi cial position of the Commission. Others are informational.

    The Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations

    226 Capitol Boulevard Building Suite 508 Nashville, Tennessee 37243 Phone: 615.741.3012 Fax: 615.532.2443

    E-mail: [email protected] Website: www.tn.gov/tacir

  • Moving Forward: Public Transportation in Tennessee

    Principal Author:

    Reem Abdelrazek, M.P.A. Senior Research Associate

    Other Contributing Staff:

    Cliff Lippard, M.P.A. Associate Executive Director

    Elizabeth Swartz, Ph.D. Contributing Author

    Stanley Chervin, Ph.D. Senior Research Associate

    Teresa Gibson Web Development & Publications Manager

    Harry A. Green, Ph.D. Executive Director

    January 2011

  • Acknowledgments

    TACIR staff wishes to thank the following individuals and their respective organizations for their support and cooperation: Mark McAdoo (Environmental Policy Offi ce, Tennessee Department of Transportation); Jeanne Stevens (Long Range Planning Division, Tennessee Department of Transportation); Steve Allen (Project Planning Division, Tennessee Department of Transportation); Ed Cole (formerly with the Environment and Planning Bureau, Tennessee Department of Transportation and currently with the Transit Alliance of Middle Tennessee); and Michael Skipper (Nashville Metropolitan Planning Organization). TACIR staff would also like to thank the MPO directors in Bristol, Chattanooga, Clarksville, Cleveland, Jackson, Johnson City, Kingsport, Knoxville, Lakeway (Morristown), and Memphis for generously providing necessary data for this report.

    Purpose This report is a staff-generated TACIR report written in response to the rapid expansion in federal spending on transportation as part of the stimulus package. It is part one of a four-part series on transportation and land use. This series is included under the broader category of growth policy and infrastructure, which is part of TACIR’s fi scal year 2010 work program. The work program was approved by the TACIR Commission on June 30, 2009.

  • Moving Forward: Public Transportation in Tennessee

    TACIR 1

    TABLE OF CONTENTS

    EXECUTIVE SUMMARY .............................................................................................................................................................3

    SUMMARY OF FINDINGS ..................................................................................................................................................................................3

    IDEAS ..............................................................................................................................................................................................................................4

    STATEMENT OF PURPOSE ......................................................................................................................................................6

    INTRODUCTION ..............................................................................................................................................................................6

    TENNESSEE TRANSPORTATION HISTORY: A FOCUS ON ROADS ............................................................................................9

    PLAN GO: AN EXPANDED VISION ............................................................................................................................................................11

    TRENDS & DEMOGRAPHICS ..............................................................................................................................................12

    PUBLIC RIDERSHIP IN NUMBERS ............................................................................................................................................................12

    COMMUTING ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................13

    POPULATION TRENDS.......................................................................................................................................................................................16

    TENNESSEE’S PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION SERVICES .........................................................................................17

    STRUCTURE ..............................................................................................................................................................................................................17

    MODES .......................................................................................................................................................................................................................19

    PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION ISSUES IN TENNESSEE ............................................................................................22

    FINANCE ....................................................................................................................................................................................................................22

    PERFORMANCE SCORECARD .....................................................................................................................................................................30

    RURAL MASS TRANSIT .....................................................................................................................................................................................35

    CONCLUSION ...............................................................................................................................................................................40

    IDEAS ...........................................................................................................................................................................................................................41

    APPENDIX A .................................................................................................................................................................................43

    APPENDIX B .................................................................................................................................................................................57

    REFERENCES ................................................................................................................................................................................61

  • Moving Forward: Public Transportation in Tennessee

    TACIR2

  • Moving Forward: Public Transportation in Tennessee

    TACIR 3

    EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

    There is a growing need and demand across Tennessee for sustainable, fundable, multimodal transportation options that include traditional highway traffi c and public transit options. With changing travel patterns, billions of dollars being spent on transportation yearly, and federal stimulus dollars supplementing those funds, a perfect storm is brewing to transform attitudes about public transportation.

    Tennessee cannot wait on the federal government or other state governments to pave the way to its future. Although the federal government recently changed how transportation projects are awarded funds,1 giving public transportation policy a needed boost, now is the time to critically assess and improve the state’s transportation systems to secure Tennessee’s place in the global economy. As suitably stated in a Hudson Institute report on the nation’s transportation future, a transportation system “is a necessary element in maintaining national economic competitiveness in a world where the value of saving time and money when it comes to moving people and goods grows by leaps and bounds.”2

    SUMMARY OF FINDINGS

    While Tennessee has always prided itself on having some of the best roads in the nation and a pay-as-you-go funding method, long range transportation planning only became a focus of the state Department of Transportation in the last ten years. In 2005, the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) published its fi rst long range transportation plan that outlined a 25-year vision for the state’s transportation systems. This was an important fi rst step toward modernizing Tennessee’s transportation system and expanding public transportation services. There are 28 public transit systems serving residents across the state, and in 2007 almost 33 million passenger trips were made using public transportation.

    1 Lambert (2010). 2 Giglio (2005).

    With changing travel patterns, billions of dollars being spent on transportation yearly, and federal stimulus dollars supplementing those funds, a perfect storm is brewing to transform attitudes about public transportation.

  • Moving Forward: Public Transportation in Tennessee

    TACIR4

    Data from TDOT’s State Transportation Improvement Program and the 11 statewide metropolitan planning organizations sh

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