Join 3,377 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


New Public Transit Locales
September 20, 2010 9:33 AM   Subscribe

Where are the *newer* public transportation systems in the US (implemented, let's say, within the 2000s)?

I'm interested in places which recently went from being completely car-dependent (having zero public transit options) to having AT LEAST ONE option (whether it be rail, bus, trolley, cart, boat, carriage, or shuttle network) for carrying many people around town/city/region.

Did your town, or a town you visited, recently put such a system in place? Help me identify some places!
posted by The Biggest Dreamer to Travel & Transportation (25 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
In Minneapolis, MN we had a bus system that was very underutilized and added light rail.
posted by VTX at 9:36 AM on September 20, 2010


Minneapolis, MN opened a light rail line in 2004. At least one more line is planned and a few others have been proposed.
posted by TrialByMedia at 9:39 AM on September 20, 2010


Same with Phoenix/Tempe, Arizona.
posted by hermitosis at 9:39 AM on September 20, 2010


Houston's METRORail opened in 2004. They've had buses for years, though, so I'm not sure Houston meets your criteria. FWIW, the rail is nice, but just doesn't go many places yet, and their expansion just got sidetracked by legal issues.
posted by chrisamiller at 9:40 AM on September 20, 2010


Austin, TX just added a lightrail to their previously bus-dependent system.
posted by youcancallmeal at 9:48 AM on September 20, 2010


Phoenix, AZ completed the first phase of their light rail in Dec, 2008. They also started Sunday bus service in 2001, but there has been some community-wide bus service Mon-Sat since 1985.

Flagstaff, AZ has a bus service that I know is pretty recent, and since I can't find anything about online before 2001, I'm guessing it started around then.
posted by wending my way at 9:49 AM on September 20, 2010


Most of the previous responses do not answer the question.

It's about going from zero options to at least one, not going from bus to bus+rail. The Flagstaff answer is the only one that potentially answers the question so far.
posted by grouse at 9:53 AM on September 20, 2010


There are a number of areas with new rail transit systems, expansion of existing systems, or other improved transit (Los Angeles Metro did a lot of work in the 2000s, opening busways, rail lines and instituting a fairly high-quality bus system. Another one is the North County area of Oceanside and Escondido, CA who added a rail system). But any examples of zero public transit to something are probably either going to be new suburban growth on the edges of cities, where there once was green fields and now there are houses and a bus, or tiny places (Lassen County, CA) where they bought a couple of buses one time a few years ago.

I'm not familiar with any city of any size in the US (not that I'm a super-expert) that doesn't operate some form of public transit. They're usually just so lousy that they may as well not exist, unless you don't have another option.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 9:54 AM on September 20, 2010


One of the nicest I've seen is Salt Lake City's UTA TRAX light rail system; it was built after Salt Lake won their bid for the 2002 Winter Olympics, so most of it was completed between 1999 and 2001.
posted by koeselitz at 9:56 AM on September 20, 2010


The Utah Transity Authority in Salt Lake County and Utah County are currently working on the Frontlines 2015 project that aims to build 70 miles of light rail and heavy commuter rail by 2015. We have public bus service as well but it's terrible, slow, and isn't worth anything that's more than 5 miles away. The rail is really opening options to people for mass transit across the Wasatch front, which runs from Ogden to Provo, an 80 mile length.
posted by msbutah at 9:59 AM on September 20, 2010


Tiny little Sandy, Oregon, had ZERO public transportation options. In 1999 they added free bus service (SAM). Mostly it connects residents to the Portland metro area's Trimet system.
posted by peep at 9:59 AM on September 20, 2010


It's about going from zero options to at least one

I agree that it will be difficult to find any cities that do not offer some kind of bus system, which may limit the answers to very boring small town choices.
posted by smackfu at 10:00 AM on September 20, 2010


It's about going from zero options to at least one

Pointing out that there are very few "zero option" cases in municipalities of any size is answering the question. Even rural areas and unincorporated exurbs tend to have some kind of non-scheduled mobility or paratransit service that counts as 0.13 of a public transit option.

In most cases, the examples have bus service, but it's spotty, rundown, highly localised, disjointed, ghettoised or all of the above, and BRT with upscale buses or light rail are an attempt to appeal to suburban commuters. Charlotte's LYNX fits that description.
posted by holgate at 10:03 AM on September 20, 2010


I agree that it will be difficult to find any cities that do not offer some kind of bus system, which may limit the answers to very boring small town choices.

To me, that is a lot more interesting, and harder to find. If you just want to find new rail systems, it should be pretty easy to pick it out from Federal Transit Administration New Starts annual reports.
posted by grouse at 10:06 AM on September 20, 2010


Murfreesboro, TN started a local-level bus system called The Rover a couple of years ago.
posted by jquinby at 10:25 AM on September 20, 2010


Salt Spring Island in BC, Canada got a bus system a few years ago. Before that there were some private shuttle services and taxis, but nothing I would describe as public transit.
posted by Emanuel at 10:32 AM on September 20, 2010


Seattle just got started. Really only useful at the present time for airport runs from downtown.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:37 AM on September 20, 2010


Arlington, TX (aka suburban hell) is apparently the largest city in the US that doesn't have a real public transportation system. And it doesn't look like they're getting one any time soon either.
posted by kmz at 10:44 AM on September 20, 2010


Grand Junction, Colorado, which is my hometown, started its first bus system in 2000. It did so reluctantly, basically, since it was going to lose out on some important federal funding if it didn't have a public transportation system. It's still pretty crappy, really.
posted by heurtebise at 10:47 AM on September 20, 2010


Arlington, TX (aka suburban hell) is apparently the largest city in the US that doesn't have a real public transportation system. And it doesn't look like they're getting one any time soon either.

But they are going to host the Super Bowl next year, so if you are planning to come for that, get used to sitting in traffic.
posted by CathyG at 12:07 PM on September 20, 2010


In the New Jersey metro area, there's the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail system, which started operations in 2000.

And there's the Airtrain system (2003), connecting the JFK airport terminals to the LIRR's Jamaica station.
posted by monospace at 12:08 PM on September 20, 2010


Cool Papa Bell - that's just the Light Rail. Not all public transportation.

We have had a somewhat functional multi-county, multi-system bus system in the Greater Seattle Area for decades now.
posted by spinifex23 at 12:28 PM on September 20, 2010


Iqaluit, in Nunavut, had a bus for a couple of years, from 2002 to 2005. It was a singular converted school bus, with one driver, named Bob Hanson. Unfortunately, low ridership caused the bus system to be cancelled in 2005.
posted by spinifex23 at 12:32 PM on September 20, 2010


Austin, TX just added a lightrail to their previously bus-dependent system.

Not to nitpick, but this is sort of a pet peeve of mine. The Austin MetroRail/red line/commuter rail is not light rail. It's a diesel train on an old track, and can never be extended into areas of urban density. It's designed to get people from the exurbs into downtown, but doesn't go very far in at that. There's some fuzziness around what is light rail vs. heavy rail, but most light-rail systems carry passengers through the urban areas, the lines can be extended, can be electric, and can run with traffic or in a dedicated lane. I make the point only because when real light rail does come up for a public vote next year, there should be a clear distinction between it and the utter failure that is the red line.
posted by lunalaguna at 12:57 PM on September 20, 2010


I don't have time right now to check out links, but this is all very interesting :) But like a few have confirmed it's about going from 0 to 60 (or however many mph it goes..)!

Just wanted to chime in that small towns aren't necessarily boring! Bring em on! And they won't be THAT small if they can make a public transportation system..
posted by The Biggest Dreamer at 2:38 PM on September 20, 2010


« Older I have my former roommate's se...   |  What online resources are the ... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.