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City of Huntsville awarded $850,000 grant for transportation planning

Published on May 3, 2024

The City of Huntsville received an $850,000 grant from the Federal Transit Authority (FTA) as part of a pilot program for land-use study along a potential bus rapid transit (BRT) corridor.

Emphasizing three key areas along University Drive with the greatest potential for Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) — Northwoods, University of Alabama in Huntsville and Mid-City — the study will explore unique prospects for residential and mixed-use growth catering to essential workers, students and families. The City of Huntsville will work closely with stakeholders in all three areas to develop concepts for BRT station areas and first/last mile connections to visualize how TOD might look along the corridor and how it could connect to nearby areas.

Addressing affordablity was a central concern in this year’s grant allocation. The TOD study will review an array of policies tailored to supporting diverse housing options. The study is slated to commence this summer, culminating in a comprehensive report by mid-2025.

“This grant highlights our commitment to innovative housing and transportation solutions,” said Mayor Tommy Battle. “If implemented, bus rapid transit has the potential to transform our transportation landscape, providing residents with enhanced mobility options while promoting economic vitality and environmental sustainability.”

Quisha Bryant, Huntsville’s Director of Parking and Public Transportation, said BRT could revolutionize public transportation in Huntsville. Many major North American cities have BRT systems, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Cleveland and Jacksonville, Florida.

“A city of our size needs to provide transportation options for its residents, and as we grow, transit needs to grow with us,” Bryant said. “This is the first step in building upon our existing transit network and creating a regional system.”

Huntsville was one of 20 communities in 16 states to have received FTA funding as part of a pilot program for the TOD planning grant. Awarded annually, the initiative offers funding to facilitate the seamless integration of land use and transportation planning alongside the development of new high-capacity transit projects.  The project is 100% federally funded, with no local or state match required.

What is bus rapid transit (BRT)?

BRT is an advanced bus-based transit system that features dedicated rights-of-way, unique branding and distinctive stations.

It incorporates technological improvements and leverages frequent operations to ensure effectiveness. Because of its reliability, convenience and speed, BRT circumvents common causes of delays experienced by traditional bus services, such as congestion and the need for on-board payment methods.

Spanning 9 miles from Providence Main Street to downtown Huntsville, the proposed BRT line would improve accessibility to key employment and activity centers while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. If implemented, BRT would offer commuters a fast, reliable and efficient transit option, facilitating greater mobility and connectivity within the community.

Learn more about Huntsville Transit here.

Learn more about Bus Rapid Transit here.