Virginia Beach Transit Extension Study

HRT is conducting the Virginia Beach Transit Extension Study (VBTES) to examine the best transit options for a former freight rail right of way in Virginia Beach. The property runs from Newtown to Birdneck roads roughly parallel to Interstate 264. The study includes options for extending high-capacity transit services east of Birdneck Road to 19th Street at the Oceanfront and for service to the Laskin Road corridor.

Extending high capacity transit service in to Virginia Beach will provide citizens with a transportation option they do not currently enjoy. It will give people an opportunity to travel along the main east-west corridor of Norfolk and Virginia Beach without depending completely on a car or truck. It would also connect two of the region’s major activity centers: Downtown Norfolk and Virginia Beach Town Center.

What’s new?

In March, HRT received a request from Virginia Beach to add a new alignment option to the study. The new option would be at Town Center. This means that the draft environmental impact study will be delayed while the additional work is performed. We will post the new completion date and the cost for the additional work as soon as it is known.

In January we presented information on projected capital, operating and maintenance costs for the three previous alignments: Newtown to Rosemont Road, Newtown to the Oceanfront, and Newtown to the Oceanfront via Laskin Road. We also included estimates for operating and maintenance costs and the projected average daily boardings for a potential new service. The costs reflected two technologies – light rail or bus rapid transit.

Here is a quick summary in chart form of the projected costs for the two modes under review: Click here for information.

The information also helps you understand the potential property impacts of an extension, its overall impact on the environment, the existing traffic network, and the impacts of noise should a high-capacity alignment be constructed. Taken as a whole, these figures give the public an insight into what effect extending The Tide light rail – or bus rapid transit – would have on the resort city.

The study is not complete. When new information is made public, we will post it as soon as possible.  To read the latest presentation, click here.

Project Goals

  • Improve access, operations and reliability of the public transportation system
  • Provide a cost-effective, efficient travel option that connects residential and employment areas as well as recreational venues
  • Implement service that helps manage growth in vehicle miles traveled and supports the development of sustainable and livable communities
  • Support Virginia Beach economic development activities consistent with the City’s Comprehensive Plan and related land use strategies
  • Support the tourism industry of Virginia Beach and the Hampton Roads region by providing an alternative to travel on congested roadways
  • Support preservation and protection of the environment

This webpage will provide up-to-date information on the VBTES.  HRT welcomes your input on the VBTES.