What Is Plan “B”?
Rideshare Mass Transit
The intent of this proposal is not to prevent the expansion of mass transit in Nashville. Instead, the proposal offers alternative options that can be implemented for a fraction of the cost, and provide a more efficient, scalable system. This concept has already been adopted in a variety of large cities, and a similar model is currently being added to our sister city Austin, Texas.
Utilize rideshare technology on a countywide basis, to serve as both a core transportation method, and to augment volume mass transit during high demand times. Additionally, this system could be expanded to surrounding counties, creating a regional transit solution while lowering metro traffic congestion. By leasing a large fleet of commercial transport vans, we would: reduce maintenance costs, operating costs, and the upfront capital requirements now and in the future.
This proposal could be initiated for a fraction of the cost of the current transit plan. Given its much lower startup and ongoing operating costs, the plan would not require a referendum to be adopted, nor would additional tax increases be required to fund it. User adoption of residents who do not currently use mass transit is also more probable, given the plan’s ability to solve the “first mile/last mile” issues that plague all mass transit systems. Moreover, the ability to expand or contract the system based on ridership demand requires significantly lower future capital insertion than buses or light rail.
And Cost Comparison
Learn more details about the concept of rideshare mass transit and a cost comparison to current and future MTA budget and costs. This presentation provides a more comprehensive analysis.
For the plan to be executed, a primary requirement for both user adoption and transport capacity is a high volume of transport vans. Since the system would be creating routes dynamically based on demand and final destination of riders, in order to be effective, the ability to pickup and dropoff quickly is paramount.
The dispatch system must be modern, allow for customized profiles of users, scheduling of pickup times, and account for special service vehicles to directly meet the needs of the elderly and disabled. Additionally, this system must operate dynamically to address demand based on time of day, real-time ride requests, and geolocation of these variables. To meet these requirements, the concentration of transport vehicle locations must be dynamic. Similar technology systems already exist and the barriers to utilization are minimal.
Expansion Of System
Davidson County Expansion
While this plan could be inserted in a smaller geographic radius initially, expansion to the entire county would not require construction, widening of roads, or creation of new costly terminals. As new apartment complexes, subdivisions, and other residential areas are developed, the only requirements for residents of these locations to utilize the system would be the insertion of pickup point GPS coordinates and acquisition of additional transport vehicles should demand exceed current capacity.
As this system is perfected in Davidson County, expansion in the surrounding counties could be accomplished by creating partnerships with them directly, in which they split new vehicle and operating costs, or by allowing them access to our dispatch system software and controlling operating costs internally.
It is an accepted fact based on previous studies that the current mass transit plan will not impact regional traffic congestion. The plan being proposed has the ability to provide mass transit in Davidson County, while enabling rapid adoption in surrounding counties. Once regional governments adopt this model, commuter traffic volume will decrease. By preventing the loss of traffic lanes to light rail and the increased traffic congestion due to its construction, this system could utilize existing roadways and lower traffic volume across Middle Tennessee.
In the infographics you will see projections of upfront and ongoing costs, and a comparison of rider capacity to the current MTA mass transit assets. While there are likely some costs unaccounted for, it is extremely unlikely that the ongoing costs would exceed the current MTA budget for the near future. Additionally, the number of vehicles needed could be higher or lower than the projection to meet initial demand. We hope you will take this proposal into consideration as we prepare to place our city in an unprecedented level of debt. We ask you to be open minded regarding modern, innovative solutions for our mass transit needs.