Virginia Beach Transit Extension Study

Welcome to the Virginia Beach Transit Extension Study, one of the most exciting transportation projects in Hampton Roads.

The study is examining the best transit options – light rail or bus rapid transit – for a former freight rail right of way in Virginia Beach. The property runs generally west to east from Newtown to Birdneck roads, roughly parallel to Interstate 264. The study includes options for extending service east of Birdneck Road to 19th Street at the Oceanfront and for service to the Laskin Road corridor. Four possible alignments and two possible modes are under consideration.

Extending high capacity transit service into Virginia Beach will provide citizens with mobility options in the heavily congested east-west transportation corridor in the city – including better connectivity between Town Center and Downtown Norfolk.

What’s new?

In October, HRT submitted the draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) to the Federal Transit Administration for review and approval. The DEIS is the document that fully describes what is included as part of each project alternative under study. Specifically, the study describes each alignment alternative, potential station locations, how many customers are projected to use the system, the park and ride lots needed to support service, and additional local bus service needed to support the project. The DEIS identifies the projected capital and operating costs for each alternative.

In order to understand how the project impacts the human and natural environment, the DEIS addresses potential property impacts of an extension and impacts on the environment and surrounding communities such as increased noise. Taken as a whole, the study gives the public information into the potential effects extending The Tide light rail – or building a bus rapid transit system – would have on the resort city before any final decision has been made.

The study is not complete. In 2015, HRT will host a series of formal public hearings to provide the public another opportunity to comment on the proposal and the information in the DEIS. The study must then continue into a Final environmental impact statement describing the locally preferred alternative prior to a final close of the study process.

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.