Huntsville focusing on bus rapid transit system, not light rail

By Scott Turner

An average of 2,300 riders are using the Orbit bus system a day. Huntsville needs more than 3,000 riders a day to qualify for federal funding for a bus rapid transit system. (City of Huntsville photo)City of Huntsville photo

The city of Huntsville is focusing on bringing a bus rapid transit system to town in the near future.

City Public Transportation Manager John Autry said the Huntsville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization has contracted with a transit planning firm to complete a high capacity corridor study that is due out by the end of the year.

While a rapid bus system is under discussion, Autry said that the transit staff has not discussed bringing a high-speed rail service to the city, contrary to published reports. That possibility remains far in the future, according to city officials.

While the study is not complete, Autry said the consultant team has identified a rapid transit bus corridor that runs from Huntsville Hospital on Gallatin Road through downtown Huntsville on Church to University Drive west all the way out to near County Line Road.

“A presentation was provided by [City Planner] James Vandiver in a recent MPO meeting that shows transit oriented development along the University Drive corridor with a connection to Providence,” he said.