Virginia Beach Transit Extension Study

Welcome to the Virginia Beach Transit Extension Study. It’s one of the most exciting projects in Hampton Roads – the possible extension of high-capacity transit services to Virginia Beach.

The study is examining the best transit options for a former freight rail right of way in Virginia Beach. The property runs in a west to east direction 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.

Extending high capacity transit service into Virginia Beach will provide more citizens with a transportation option they do not currently enjoy. It will give them an opportunity to travel along the heavily traveled 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 August, HRT unveiled the latest study findings, the end-of-alignment options for Town Center.  Within the Town Center options there are several alternatives for station location. Generally, stations could be located on either side of Independence Boulevard. To see a more complete presentation on the Town Center option, click here.

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. The capital and operating and maintenance costs for the Town Center options will be presented in September

Here is the most recent summary in chart form of the projected costs for the two modes – light rail or bus rapid transit – under review. A new chart reflecting developments announced in September is in design. 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 study presentations, 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.