Metropolitan Cincinnati has announced which two corridors will be the first in the region Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) routes..
The Hamilton Avenue and Reading Road corridors were chosen after months of community engagement and analysis by Metro. Metro says the other two corridors that have gone live, Glenway Avenue and Montgomery Road, will still receive “enhanced treatment” as part of the project.
“We have worked diligently to understand where we should begin to implement BRT in the region, and we believe this decision will successfully launch BRT in Hamilton County and provide us with a strong foundation for expansion,” Khaled Shamout, Chief Strategic Planning Officer, development and innovation. for Metro, according to a press release. “However, we also know that the Montgomery and Glenway corridors are very important segments of the subway system. Based on the study, we will also increase services and amenities along these two corridors to better serve these communities.”
BRT is part of the Reinventing Metro plan, which was approved by Hamilton County voters in 2020 with the passage of Issue 7, which provides additional funding to support new innovative transportation vehicles. Metro says construction on the two corridors is slated to begin sometime in 2025, and the Federal Transportation Administration will help Metro stay on schedule along the way.
The Hamilton Avenue Corridor extends 12 miles from the intersection of Hamilton Avenue (US 127) and Ronald Reagan Cross County (SR 126) to downtown Cincinnati.
Metro’s website says major roads in the corridor include Hamilton Avenue, Ludlow Avenue, Clifton Avenue and Vine Street. Corridor neighborhoods include College Hill, Northside, Clifton, CUF (Clifton Heights, University Heights, Fairview), Curryville, Mount Auburn, Over-the-Rhine, and Downtown.
Metro routes already along the corridor include Route 17 (Clifton Avenue, between Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and OTR), Route 15 (Mt. Halsey to Northside), Metro*Plus (MLK to Downtown), Route 46 (William Howard Taft Road/Macmillan). Street to Downtown) and Route 78 (MLK to Downtown).
The Reading Road Corridor extends 12 miles from the intersection of Reading Road (US 42) and SR 561/Seymour Avenue to downtown Cincinnati.
Metro’s website says major roads in the corridor include Reading Road, Martin Luther King Jr. Road and Vine Street. Corridor neighborhoods include Golf Manor, Roselawn, Bond Hill, Paddock Hills, North Avondale, Avondale, Corryville, CUF (Clifton Heights, University Heights, Fairview), Mt. Auburn, Over-the-Rhine and Downtown.
Other Metro routes that already travel along the Reading Road corridor include Route 43 (Summit Road to MLK), Metro*Plus (Burnet Avenue to Downtown), Route 46 (Taft/McMillan to Downtown), and Route 78 (MLK to downtown).
Advantages of BRT
Brandi Jones, Metro’s senior vice president of external affairs, explained Difference BRT to CityBeat in October.
“The closest comparison is if you’re familiar with rail,” Jones said at the time. “It’s faster down the corridor, there’s off-board pay, it’s a lot more compelling to go a long distance, but it has the flexibility of a rubber tire.”
Jones said BRT is more like a train than a bus because it stops frequently for both passengers and traffic lights. Any BRT corridor would need its own dedicated bus lane to enable the speed and efficiency of the rapid route. As more passengers board the BRT at the same time, they will pay for their fares in advance, speeding up the process. Although there will be fewer stops, Jones says riders can expect a BRT bus to arrive every 10 to 15 minutes.
Another BRT difference that speeds up the route is signal priority.
“If the traffic signal indicates a BRT bus is coming — say, there’s a green light — it will stay green longer to allow the bus to travel down the corridor, or simply give the bus the right of way so you don’t get stopped at as many lights as a car,” Jones said. “In some ways, you can travel down the corridor faster than you can in a private car.”