Welcome to the Virginia Beach Transit Extension Study
HRT is conducting the Virginia Beach Transit Extension Study (VBTES) to examine the best transit options available for a former freight rail right of way in Virginia Beach. The property runs from Newtown to Birdneck roads in a line roughly parallel to Interstate 264. The study includes options for extending transit service east of Birdneck Road to the Oceanfront.
In September and at the earlier request of Virginia Beach, HRT asked the Federal Transit Administration to study additional fixed-route alignments through the Hilltop Area along Laskin Road.
All of the work falls under the formal title of the Draft Environmental Impact Study (DEIS). Four alternatives are being considered: extending The Tide light rail into Virginia Beach, building a bus rapid transit line, enhancing local bus service, or doing nothing at all.
Bus Rapid Transit vehicles seat up to 80 passengers and can operate in mixed traffic or on a separate guideway. Light Rail Transit vehicles can carry 160 passengers per vehicle and operate on a separate guideway. The study also will consider station and park and ride locations, supporting bus services, potential elevated and at-grade stations and crossings, ridership estimates and preliminary capital and operating costs. It also will look at local cultural and environmental impacts.
The DEIS is expected to be ready for public review between the fourth quarter of 2013 and the early part of 2014. After public review and comment, the Virginia Beach City Council must then take formal action on the study by selecting what is called a Locally Preferred Alternative. That is expected in the second quarter of 2014. The final work on the environmental impact statement would then follow.
- 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.