Public feedback will now be sought on the recommendations of the nMotion plan before approval by the boards of the two authorities next month.
Since the start of the nMotion planning process in April 2015, more than 25 technical documents and studies have been released and the two authorities have considered more than 18,000 survey responses. This has fed into the recommended plan, which includes short-term enhancements and a framework for longer-term improvements.
A key recommendation is the development of a light rail network with four lines radiating from Nashville city centre to Gallatin Pike, Murfreesboro Pike/Airport, Nolensville Pike, and Charlotte Avenue.
The plan proposes increasing services on Nashville’s only existing commuter rail line, the Music City Express from Riverfront in the city centre to Lebanon, to operate all day seven days a week. A new station would be built at Hamilton Springs and services would be extended to Lebanon’s planned Expo Center. New rolling stock would be acquired and track-doubling would be needed on most or all of the 51km line to accommodate increased frequencies.
Some improvements to Music City Star, including a Saturday service are proposed for short-term implementation.
A transit study on the northwest corridor from Nashville to Ashland City and Clarksville is nearing completion and this is expected to recommend commuter rail. However, nMotion notes that it will not be possible to bring the line into the centre of Nashville, requiring a transfer at Farmer’s Market which is likely to suppress potential ridership. It also suggests that more growth will be needed along the corridor to make the operation of the service cost-effective, making the development of commuter rail along this route a longer-term project.
nMotion envisages planning for the future development of the rail network will take place over the next five years with the network being built in phases between 2021 and 2041.
If all of the measures put forward by nMotion are adopted, transit ridership is expected to increase from 34,000 passengers per day to 180,000 per day and 391,000 Davidson County residents will live within 800m of a bus stop or railway/light rail station, compared with 230,000 at present.