Chapel Hill North-South BRT: a vital link to our transit future

Earlier this summer, the Town of Chapel Hill formally submitted an application for Small Starts federal funding as part of the Town’s request for a Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Capital Investment Grant. The application is for the North-South bus rapid transit corridor project.

The Regional Transportation Alliance business coalition has endorsed this project as a vital component of an emerging regional bus rapid transit network and we look forward to its rapid and successful implementation.

Around 65% of the corridor will run in dedicated transit lanes — we plan on calling them RED transit lanes — while another 35% will be in mixed traffic. Transit signal priority (TSP) will be implemented at all traffic signals along the route to keep buses on schedule.

It is important to note this project will also benefit a number of existing local and regional routes besides the future North-South BRT corridor service. Several Chapel Hill Transit, GoTriangle, and Piedmont Transit (PART) routes that will be able to take advantage of all or part of the new transit priority infrastructure.

There will be around 15 BRT stations per direction, from Southern Village, through Downtown Chapel Hill to the corridor’s terminal station at a park and ride location near Eubanks Road and I-40. All stations will have level boarding platforms to make it easier for everyone to get on and off transit buses, and to keep those vehicles moving.

Here are some key elements about the project frequency and span of service:

  • Weekday buses will run every 7.5 minutes all day, from 7 am to 6 pm— this will be a welcome improvement from the already very good current 10-minute peak, 20-minute off-peak frequency along the existing NS route.
  • Early evening buses will run every 10 minutes — this too will be an improvement from the every 10-40 minute weekday evening service currently on the NS route.
  • Service hours will be extended on Friday and Saturday evenings, and Sunday service will be initiated.

Now that the Town has submitted its Federal Transit Administration Small Starts funding application, here are some important target dates for the upcoming project timeline:

  • Now – Design work underway to finalize station locations, transitway
  • December 2020 – Environmental approval
  • 2021 – Federal capital investment grant (70% of total project funding) received
  • 2022 – Construction begins
  • 2025 – North-South BRT service begins

This is an exciting time for bus rapid transit and enhanced bus service overall throughout the Triangle. We have been pleased to support the consideration and development of BRT for more than a decade, and we applaud the progress that our partners with the Town are making towards its implementation.


Joe Milazzo II, PE
RTA Executive Director

RTA is the voice of the regional business community on transportation

post reference: th3.2019.41

Gold members

Thank you to our Omnia Gold, Sustaining Gold, and Gold members

Omnia Gold