Omaha Urban Circulator and Bus Rapid Transit
In 2012, Metro, the city of Omaha and the Metropolitan Area Planning Agency (MAPA) initiated the Omaha Transit Alternatives Analysis to consider transit alternatives to connect activity centers and neighborhoods in Central Omaha while tying together the regional transit network to improve mobility and aid employment growth and economic development.
We were selected to lead this study, developing and evaluating transit alternatives between Downtown Omaha, Midtown, the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC), the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO), Crossroads Mall and Westroads Mall.
The project included extensive public engagement, stakeholder involvement and one-on-one meetings, and leveraged an interactive online meeting platform that allowed Metro and the city of Omaha to reach a broad audience. Offering the public multiple opportunities for engagement and reaching out to those who typically do not attend in-person public meetings increased public participation and allowed the project team to develop and refine the transit alternatives.
In 2014, the locally preferred alternative (LPA) was defined as an eight-mile bus rapid transit (BRT) line between downtown, Midtown, UNMC, UNO, Crossroads and Westroads, as well as a 3.2-mile streetcar line between North Downtown, downtown, Midtown and UNMC. Together with improvements to Metro's citywide bus service, the proposed BRT and modern streetcar systems will complement each other and improve connections into and circulation around downtown. The BRT will enhance regional transit service between Westroads and downtown while the modern streetcar will serve as a "Downtown Connector" that connects people and places between UNMC and North Downtown.
We are currently leading the preliminary engineering (PE)/National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) phase of the BRT and streetcar projects. This includes PE for both projects, as well as the preparation of a documented categorical exclusion (DCE) for BRT and an environmental assessment (EA) for streetcar. Our work also includes the development of a funding and finance plan for the streetcar project. We are serving as the overall contract manager for the PE/NEPA phase and are leading the streetcar tasks, while our teaming partner is leading the BRT portion of the work.