Light rail could arrive on University Drive in Huntsville

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) – A train running through Huntsville is on the horizon for transit leaders.

There are several steps before Huntsville Transit implements a Light Rail.

City Transit Director John Autry said they would build it on their existing busiest bus line along the University Drive/Highway 72 corridor, but to proceed with this project the government needs evidence that residents of Huntsville would use it.

Autry says the federal government needs to give rail the green light because it will fund the majority of the project.

The city needs to see at least 3,000 daily riders on a single line before it can start the process. Autry says they are already well advanced. He says some lines are already seeing up to 2,500 daily passengers.

He says they could reach that goal within five years because of all the growth that’s happening in the city right now.

When they reach their benchmark, the first step is to build a According to the Institute for Transportation & Development Policy, the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, which is a “high-quality, bus-based mass transit system that provides fast, comfortable, and cost-effective metro-level service “, according to the Institute for Transportation & Development Policy.

Autry says, for now, they are trying to improve services to increase ridership.

“It starts gradually by improving and making your service more frequent where you need it most,” says Autry. “Eventually you get to the BRT, which means larger stations with more amenities similar to a light rail.”

Currently, Birmingham is in the process of building its own BRT. Autry says he will be inspired by their project. He also says he will take notes from the Greater Clevland Regional Transit Authority, as it is considered the gold standard for public transit.

Jose P. Rogers