Invigorating Lagging Bus and Walking Networks Could Pay Dividends for the City

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Big improvements could be coming to Birmingham’s transit system thanks to a federal grant the city received in December. The program promises to enhance walkability and busability by providing critical transportation infrastructure and other amenities in targeted neighborhoods.

The grant will be used to create a rapid transit station and begin the process of enhancing other, existing transit stations and neighborhoods, according to AL.com. The project promises to achieve a variety of goals, including spurring real property development, greater freedom of access, and perhaps most importantly, improving safety.

The Details of Transit-Oriented Development

Transit-Oriented Development works at creating compact communities that are designed to connect people to “desirable places to live, work and visit that feature amenities like entertainment venues, parks, retail, restaurants, an improved pedestrian environment and diverse housing choices,” according to the Federal Transit Administration’s website.

The function of the FTA’s Transit-Oriented or even more focused Transit-Supportive Development is twofold: first, it marries transit planning, which can be messy and poorly thought out, with real estate development planning, which maximizes the payoff for both. Second, it creates transit opportunities that support development, which will in turn support the infrastructure itself.

For Birmingham, this means easily walked in communities that are home to highly accessible and wide-reaching public transportation. Orienting towards increased public transit could mean a strong shift in the right direction for the city’s economy, and offerings.

Birmingham’s Current Facilities Are Lacking

The city’s current transit options are lacking, and the city knows it. Late November saw a city council meeting where the Bus Rapid Transit project’s financial woes were highlighted, but the increased interest from the federal government could bolster or perhaps even expand the project’s scope.

The BRT is expected to install bus-only lanes, increase the number of routes provided, and change up some of the current bus system, according to WSFA. The improvements are part of a larger vision for the city’s public transportation network which encompasses TOD tenets.

With Birmingham hosting the World Games, the city is exploring its options to “become a first class transportation hub,” according to the city council’s informational video below.

Walk Score, a company owned by Redfin, publishes biking, walking, and public transportation scores for many cities in the world to evaluate. Birmingham is currently classified as a car-dependent city, with a Walk Score of 35 and a Transit Score of 25, both on a scale of 100. With the changes in place, impressions of the city’s pedestrian and public transportation friendliness could vastly improve.

Whether the tremendous project unfolds as planned remains to be seen, but fostering alternative methods of transportation can pay off big.

Enormous Benefits of Improving Alternative Transportation

Transportation opportunities like busing and walking present a windfall for Birmingham as the city begins to undergo a more cosmopolitan shift. Big events like the World Games, and the increased recognition of the infrastructure in place to hold them, could be a valuable ally on a quest to create a more robust economy.

Effective transit can be a huge asset to that end, and could provide significant land development opportunities and transportation alternatives to Birminghamians. The potential for safer, more reliable travel is also something to look forward to.

Whether by bus, car, or the power of your own two feet, accidents can happen. The BRT project and its associated developments appear promising, but they can’t eliminate all the danger drivers, commuters, and pedestrians alike face.

Our Birmingham-based attorneys are knowledgeable and ready to help investigate and build your claim. They can help you understand the complex channels of negotiating with an insurance company and represent you in court to get you the compensation you need. Fill out our free, no-risk case evaluation form if you’re ready today.

By Staff

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