|A rendering of a BRT system. [NVTC]|
A draft proposal to be submitted to the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission (NVTC) April 7 calls for a bus rapid transit (BRT) system along Route 7 between the Mark Center in the City of Alexandria and the Spring Hill Metrorail Station in Tysons with a connection at the East Falls Church Metrorail Station.
That’s the preferred alternative proposed by the Envision Route 7 project.
The Envision Route 7 study had narrowed down various transit options to two – BRT and light rail transit (LRT) – and considered several potential routes. BRT vehicles are like buses but are larger and could operate either in dedicated lanes or in lanes with other traffic.
The draft report says the proposed BRT route would serve approximately 9,500 new daily transit riders with 70 percent lower capital costs and 40 percent lower operating costs than LRT.
While the travel demand model results showed slightly higher ridership for LRT, the much higher cost to build and run the service made BRT a more cost-effective option. Connecting BRT service to the East Falls Church Metro Station would increase ridership by 38 percent. Terminating the service at Mark Center, rather than the King Street Metro Station would reduce ridership by less than 10 percent.
Public comment on the Envision Route 7 project indicated strong support for a connection at the East Falls Church Metro Station, but did not indicate a strong preference for extending the line to the King Street station.