Silver Line Bus Rapid Transit
In 2003, The Rapid identified the need to include bus rapid transit (BRT) as part of its service offerings in the Great Transit Grand Tomorrows study. This was followed by an Alternatives Analysis (AA) study that identified the Silver Line BRT as the locally preferred alternative (LPA) in 2007. The project was accepted by the FTA into the Very Small Starts program. However, funding for the project was defeated in a 2009 vote.
As a result of this, The Rapid engaged our services to develop a 20-year Transit Master Plan (TMP). This TMP, completed in 2010, included validation of the Silver Line BRT as a key addition to The Rapid's service offerings, along with expanded service hours, improved frequencies, route extensions and a number of new service lines, including two BRT routes, seven express bus routes and two modern streetcar lines. This plan was taken to voters in the form of a millage to pay for the increased public transit services and passed in 2011.
The Silver Line BRT project provides a critical connection for the residents of Grand Rapids, Wyoming, and Kentwood, Michigan, linking the downtown core to regional employment centers, an educational campus and medical facilities from Division Avenue up to Michigan Street, a highly diverse and active corridor.
HDR was selected as the BRT Technical Support Consultant overseeing project design and construction. In this role, we oversaw the development of the Silver Line Project Management Plan, design and construction activities of the project. We also coordinated project construction activities with the FTA. This monthly coordination effort was critical to the project's success.
The $40 million, 9.6-mile Silver Line BRT opened to the public in August 2014. It features branded buses, pre-paid boarding and bus shelters with real-time arrival signage. In its first two months of service, the Silver Line averaged about 2,500 riders per weekday, which is a nearly 40 percent increase in ridership along the same corridor in 2013. We continue to provide technical support to The Rapid on this project, the first BRT system in the state of Michigan.