It's about you. It's about your quality of life. Improved public transit is for everyone. Improvements to our municipal transit system will improve our city with cleaner air, better access to free parking, facilitate a pedestrian lifestyle, and provide a truly functional alternative to the car when gas prices rise.
It's about our visitors. When new friends arrive, they will find a city that welcomes them. They will find a city that they can easily navigate, a city they remember as World Class.
It's about our disabled and elderly. This project empowers them with mobility. It inspires a greater respect towards those in need of further personal independence.
It's about our economy. Strategic development of transit will stimulate our economy, create jobs, and attract investment. Improvements can spur private development valued at 10 to 20 times the transit cost, further generating taxable revenue for other city services.
The Campaign Starts Now
The Modern Transit Project presents the first comprehensive campaign for major transit improvements in 40 years. The campaign was created in response to the growing desire for system improvements reflected again and again as citizens' #1 or #2 priority for the last several years in public surveys.
- Modernize System
- Expand Access and Connections
- Convert to Oklahoma's Own Fuel Resources
- Develop Sustained Operating Resources
- Improved Quality of Life
- Advances our Burgeoning World Class Stature
- Greater Alternative Mobility
- Cleaner Air
- Reduced Wear on City Streets
- Quieter Operation
- Economic Development
- Greater Corporate Relocation Attraction
- Support for our Local Wind and Natural Gas Producers
- Greater State Revenue Through Consumption of Local Fuel
The MTP is focusing on the most obtainable goals first.
- The first rail public transit in Oklahoma's recent history utilizing electricity generated by our own prairie wind.
- The conversion of existing buses and purchase of new buses that utilize our own natural gas resources.
The MTP advocates system wide improvements to service and commuting capability. In 2005 the City of Oklahoma City and related authorities commissioned a blue print for the future. The Fixed Guideway Study contains information for a metro-wide transit solution. The MTP proposes the streetcar and bus upgrades act as a down payment on procuring additional federal funds to implement the other identified improvements to designated corridors.
The Association of Central Oklahoma Goverments (ACOG) has recently developed a regional committee to partner with the City of Oklahoma City and other metro cities to utilize the Fixed Guideway Study as a springboard for coordinated transit improvements. This will lead to joint planning and system integration with our neighboring communities of Edmond, Moore, Norman, Del City, Midwest City,
Sustained Transit Funding
The City of Oklahoma City currently approves funding for transit on an annual basis. The funding is limited and services fluctuate according to budget available. The operational budget has been directly affected by dramatic increases and decreases in fuel cost. Sustained funding would provide better operational stability and allow for improvements to service. The MTP advocates the necessary steps to determine a dedicated funding source.
Streetcars - Let's Bring It Back
MTP has developed a concept to harness Oklahoma's own prairie wind to power the new streetcar. Original streetcars were once powered at the Belle Isle coal-fired power plant. Oklahoma's new wind industry holds promise for a new electricity resource to power the modern streetcar.
- Powered by Electricity
- Up to 140 Passengers at one time
- Air Conditioned
- Curb Height Access (Easy ADA Accessibility)
- All Wheel Drive
- Regenerative Braking (Braking sends power back into the grid)
- Passenger Information System (Digital displays and audible announcements)
- Real-Time Location Through GPS (Global Positioning Satellite)
- Live Information Displayed at Stops and on the Web
Frequently Asked Questions
What is streetcar transit?
Streetcars are a simple mode of public transit that operates along a fixed rail guideway that is embedded within the surface of the roadway. While streetcars cannot deviate from the path of the guideway, the operator of the streetcar "drives" the vehicle, accelerating and braking to move along with traffic that also may operate in the same lane as the streetcar.
Is streetcar the same as light rail?
Streetcars are related to "light rail" transit; the difference is that streetcars are smaller, lighter, less expensive, and usually run in traffic, rather than in their own exclusive right of way. Powered by quiet electric motors, these vehicles use a simple pole, the pantograph, to collect power from an electrified wire that is suspended approximately 20 feet over the lane in which the streetcar runs.
Perhaps more importantly, streetcars and light rail transit serve different trip purposes and transportation needs. Light rail transit services primarily serve long haul commuter trips, and streetcars are primarily designed to connect local areas with more frequent stops. In addition, outside downtown areas light rail requires a dedicated right-of-way. The street provides the right-of-way for streetcars.
Why can't we just add more buses Downtown?
There are three key reasons why adding more buses will not work as well as the streetcar for circulation:
- The number of buses required to equal the capacity of one streetcar makes buses more expensive to operate and maintain.
- Examples show that streetcars attract new riders (people who otherwise would not ride a bus) because of the convenience, comfort, attractiveness and reliability of the streetcar – thus, the streetcar increases the number of people who will use transit.
- A streetcar has a fixed route that cannot easily change, demonstrating to riders as well as potential project developers that the streetcar will indeed come by regularly. This stability is particularly reassuring to visitors unfamiliar with our city.
How will streetcars operate in mixed traffic?
The proposed streetcars will operate in a designated lane of traffic in essentially the same manner that buses do today. The driver of the streetcar can accelerate and brake to move along with traffic but does not have to steer the vehicle because it runs along the rails embedded in the roadway surface. In some cases, streetcars can be provided traffic signal priority that enables the streetcar to clear congested intersections and maintain schedule during heavy traffic.
The streetcar design process will coordinate with the City of Oklahoma City Public Works Department regarding traffic signals along the project alignment. Coordination will continue through design and construction, to ensure safe and efficient traffic operations.
How will streetcars affect on-street parking?
Parking impact generally would be minimal. Existing on-street parking spaces may be needed to construct the loading platform at stop locations. The size of the loading platform is equal to about 2 - 3 parking spaces for a single streetcar stop.
Converting City Buses to CNG
Avoid Costs and Attract Business
"Although we remain one of the largest cities in the country still in compliance with the Clean Air Act, that status is in jeopardy." Mayor Cornett 2007 State of The City Address
As required by the Clean Air Act, EPA has recently tightened the national air quality standard for Ozone. Oklahoma is now dangerously close to moving out of attainment of this standard and much will depend on whether the 2009 Ozone season is similar to the last two years or to the hot, sunny summer of 2006. We have been fortunate in that our air quality has been healthy for our citizens and attractive to industry, visitors and for economic development in general. In the event that Oklahoma City becomes a "nonattainment" area for Ozone, The State of Oklahoma, Oklahoma industry and society in general will all likely incur increased costs that could range from vapor recovery at gas stations, vehicle inspections, reduced company relocations, and potential loss of federal highway funding. Reduction in emissions of Nitrogen Oxides and Volatile Organic Compounds through increases in efficiency and new technology is a key way to avoid these costs. Substantial reduction of pollution from our buses can be a significant public step forward to maintain and improve air quality.
Why haven't we done this sooner?
Oklahoma City Experimented with Early Natural Gas Buses
In the 1990's, Oklahoma City's Transit Authority experimented with two buses powered by natural gas. The buses held promise but still had not overcome day-to-day technical issues that impeded the equipments performance. In addition, two buses out of an entire fleet proved simply inefficient to deal with. Traditional diesel buses received priority in order to keep a consistent servicing and operational schedule.
The State of Oklahoma and Federal Government are now making available funds to construct fueling infrastructure for natural gas. This shift in policy and funding now makes CNG an attractive solution with funding for fueling facilities.
The Time is Now
The time is now to convert our city's public transit bus fleet over to clean Oklahoma natural gas. Talk to city leaders and encourage them to incorporate conversion to Oklahoma's Natural Gas as part of our transit improvements.
$100 Million for Central City Streetcar
$40 Million for Bus System Upgrades
Sustained Funding Mechanism for Stability
Secondary Local Investment
Application for $20 million in State Funds for CNG Fueling Infrastructure
Potential of up to $18 million in private investment for Transit Oriented Development Connections to Municipal Infrastructure. (Developers could invest funds to expand the streetcar lines into new developments)
Did You Know?
Since MAPS Projects started to come online in 1998, it is estimated that MAPS 1 and MAPS for Kids have generated over 4 Billion Dollars in further private investment and development.