The Amp will be unlike any other transit service currently offered in Nashville. It is a 7.1-mile rapid transit project that
will travel through the heart of the city — from Five Points in East Nashville to the St. Thomas Hospital area in West
Nashville. It will transform public transit by providing a fast, convenient, affordable alternative to traveling by car.
Known as Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), The Amp is one of the most practical and flexible ways to provide quality public transit at
a fraction of the cost of other types of systems. It will offer predictable, reliable and convenient public transportation
that gets people where they need to go. It will use dedicated bus lanes to bypass traffic, allowing for regular arrivals
similar to a subway and travel times faster than a car stuck in traffic. And it will be built with easy-to-access platforms,
so seniors, people with disabilities and those with strollers can roll on and off the bus easily and quickly.
By 2035, the Nashville area will add almost 1 million new residents. Nashville's Midtown area between I-40/Broadway and
I-440/West End is growing rapidly, and a wide variety of new developments — from offices to hotels to residential buildings — are expected to reach completion over the next five years. Without an alternative to driving, daily traffic will exceed the
capacity of the road and create gridlock.
Specifically, the commute from St. Thomas Hospital to Bridgestone Arena is projected to become about 32 minutes in the next
three years — nearly double what it is now. The Amp will be able to cut that commute to about 17 minutes for its riders.
But it won't just benefit riders; it will also reduce the drive time for automobile drivers to about 28 minutes.
Today the typical Nashville-area household spends nearly 25 percent of its income on transportation, and the average
Nashvillian loses about 35 hours and wastes 10 gallons of fuel per year sitting in traffic.
It's time we give ourselves a better option.
Not only will The Amp improve quality of life for transit riders and drivers alike by making bus service better and taking
cars off the road, it will make our neighborhoods cleaner and healthier by reducing air pollution from congestion.
Investing in The Amp will also help strengthen our local economy, create jobs and help Nashville stay competitive with cities
like Charlotte and Austin, where high-quality public transportation systems are attracting new jobs and residents. Many of
the cities that have implemented BRT have experienced dramatic economic growth as a result of their investment. For example,
in Cleveland, a city that is otherwise experiencing economic challenges, the Healthline helped generate an estimated $4 to $5
billion worth of investment. And in Eugene, Oregon, $100 million worth of construction projects are underway near the
Franklin EmX line.
Everyone. The Amp is designed to improve quality of life for everyone in the city by providing people with predictable,
reliable, and convenient mass transit that takes people through Nashville's "Main Street." It will serve a wide variety of
riders from all over the city—from residents to students to visitors—who want a convenient, quick, safe and economical
There are some 25,000 residents and 170,000 employees on this corridor, and 11 million visitors come to Nashville each year.
With the new Music City Center expected to bring in 550,000 people each year, many arriving without a car, The Amp will
connect visitors, as well as people of all ages and income levels, to restaurants, tourist attractions, businesses and other
important destinations along the route.
While there are almost 800,000 transit trips occurring within this corridor today, The Amp is projected to almost double the
number of trips to 1.6 million in the first year of operation. Ridership is projected to increase another 55 percent in the
first five years, with annual ridership totaling almost 2.5 million by 2022.
Most Nashvillians will use dependable mass transit, and The Amp is a big step in that direction.
A 2013 public opinion survey sponsored by The Rockefeller Foundation found that 66 percent of Nashville voters are
likely to switch from driving to riding mass transit if it provides easy access to work and popular destinations.
"Millennials" (young people born between 1983-2000) in particular are leading a historic
decrease in driving trends in America today. (For more information, visit http://www.planetizen.com/node/63966.)
The Amp will provide a predictable, reliable, and convenient way to travel from Five Points to St.
Thomas Hospital and to all of the 14 stops in between.
The experience of taking The Amp will be much like using light rail or a subway. You'll
arrive at a station and pay the fare before you board. The vehicle will pull up level to the platform, and double sets of
doors will slide open to allow everyone to get on quickly without waiting in line or going up steps. And then off it will go
to the next stop without getting stuck in traffic.
Amp vehicles will arrive at stops every 10 minutes during peak periods and every 15 minutes during off-peak periods.
Every station will be equipped with real-time information that will tell riders when the next vehicle will arrive. The Amp
is expected to run from 5:45 a.m. to 12:15 a.m. on weekdays (2:15 a.m. on Fridays), from 6:45 a.m. to 2:15 a.m. on Saturdays
and from 6:45 a.m. to 11:15 p.m. on Sundays. These extended hours will make The Amp convenient for everyone to use.
Along 80 percent of the corridor, dedicated travel lanes will be added for use by Amp vehicles and emergency vehicles
only. Once the project is completed, 60 percent of the corridor will have the same number of through lanes for motorists
that currently exist today, including the two most congested portions of the corridor (I-440 to 31st Avenue and 16th Avenue
to 12th Avenue). The remaining 40 percent (2.8 miles from I-440 to I-40/Broadway) will have reduced traffic lanes for four
hours a day (7-9 a.m. and 4-6 p.m.). Notably, parked cars and delivery vehicles already often reduce the capacity of these
lanes during those hours. And nowhere on the corridor will The Amp reduce travel lanes to one in each direction for
automobiles on Broadway or West End.
Engineers made room for The Amp but maintained lanes for motorists by maximizing existing roadway space. There is currently
excess shoulder space, on-street parking and a continuous center turn lane along much of the route. The engineers plan to
redefine existing pavement, acquire small slivers of right-of-way, and give the on-street parking back to motorists.
The Amp will prevent congestion and keep traffic jams along the corridor from getting worse. Riders will take an estimated
1.6 million trips on The Amp system in its first year alone, reducing gridlock, cutting traffic jams and taking cars off the
A new system of synchronized traffic signals will be installed to keep traffic flowing. While motorists will not be able
to drive across the dedicated transit lanes, U-turns will be allowed at traffic lights, and turn lanes will be 45 percent
longer on average to accommodate protected left and U-turns. This will enable drivers to more safely access the
neighborhoods, stores, restaurants and other businesses along the corridor.
Planners of The Amp are working hard to create a system that will provide many benefits to the neighborhoods along the
corridor. The stations are designed to create a safe environment for pedestrians, riders and motorists in these
neighborhoods. And along with The Amp will come neighborhood amenities like crosswalks and improved traffic signals,
sidewalks, curb ramps, trees, lighting and transit markers — creating "complete streets" along the corridor.
A new system of synchronized traffic signals will also be installed to keep traffic moving. U-turns will be allowed at
traffic lights, and turn lanes will be lengthened an average of 45 percent to accommodate protected left turns and U-turns.
This new system will give drivers a safer way to access their neighborhoods.
Some have asked if motorists will prefer to use parallel side streets to avoid West End Avenue.
While cut-through traffic is a possibility, traffic engineers found that The Amp will not add to such diversions because
it will make West End function more efficiently than it does today.
If you want to invite a member of The Amp team to speak to your neighborhood organization, please contact The Transit
Alliance at (615) 252-8740.
The next phase of the Amp project is final design and engineering. This phase will determine a more exact price tag for
The Amp. Once Metro knows how much its local share will be, it will be able to finalize a specific method for financing it.
No such funding decisions need to be made for a year or more.
Estimates put the cost of The Amp at about $174 million—a price that will be shared between the federal, state and local
governments. As much as $75 million may come from the federal government's Small Starts program, which is a competitive
program administered by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). Mayor Dean's Office and MTA have been communicating with
the FTA to apply for this vital funding and are optimistic as a result of those discussions.
Additionally, Metro has been working with the Tennessee Department of Transportation and with the Metropolitan Planning
Organization, and it expects these agencies to contribute a significant portion of the total Amp budget.
While Metro has not made any final funding decisions, a number of potential financing options are available. Metro expects
that it will have sufficient capacity to fund its portion of the project in the same way it funds the other infrastructure
improvements that help maintain our quality of life. It is important to note that Metro's total contribution to The Amp will
be only a portion of the $174 million total, bringing the local share in line with a number of projects that the city does in
the ordinary course of business, like building schools, parks and roads.
A number of other cities have dedicated-lane BRT similar to The Amp, including Cleveland, Ohio;
Eugene, Oregon; Los Angeles, California; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Las Vegas, Nevada, among others. Just as each of
these cities has unique characteristics, each of these BRT systems is different, but in every case the impact of the BRT has
Denver, Colorado and Charlotte, North Carolina — two of Nashville's biggest competitors — received more than $200 million in
federal New Starts funding for their transit projects in 2013. (The Small Starts program, which is the funding source that
MTA will be applying for, is a part of the same New Starts program.) Investing in The Amp will help Nashville continue to
compete with these cities and others for new businesses and new workers.
The proposed corridor is the best place to begin The Amp infrastructure for a number of reasons:
(1) A year-long study concluded that mass transit is needed and can be effective along this corridor.
As part of its 2009 Master Plan, the MTA studied density and concluded that the Broadway-West End corridor was a high-growth,
high-job and high-housing area where mass transit like The Amp could thrive.
(2) This is an important first step for Nashville, and it needs to be a slam dunk.
No other corridor in Nashville has the same high level of growth, jobs,
residents, tourist attractions and major destinations. These destinations for work and play, along with the corridor's high
density, are critical both for securing the federal funding that is vital for the project and for ensuring the success of The
Amp once the project is complete.
(3) The Amp will serve as the backbone of our regional mass transit efforts.
Regional leaders are working hard to find ways to provide more transit options and ease congestion on the roads leading to
and from Nashville. The Amp will provide vital connections to those who take mass transit into the city. In the future,
this full-service BRT concept could be replicated on other major corridors in Middle Tennessee.
Minimizing disruption will be a high priority. There will be multiple ways to ensure a smooth
construction period, and they will differ along the route. MTA has met with other cities that have successfully constructed
dedicated-lane BRT, and it will utilize many of the best practices they identified. Some of the ideas from other cities
include (1) providing a dedicated staff person for businesses to contact; (2) offering regular updates to businesses along
the corridor; (3) communicating in advance of major construction activity; and (4) conducting the construction in phases so
as to limit the impact on any particular business.
As described above, MTA will work directly with business owners along the corridor to minimize the
disruption they experience. Ultimately, The Amp will increase the number of potential customers able to access their
business. And by shortening future commute times for Amp riders and car drivers alike, it will help the customers they
already have access their location more easily.
The Amp's construction will result in a vastly improved pedestrian
environment along the corridor, including additional trees, lighting and benches.
The corridor will perform and look like a "complete street" that serves multiple modes of transportation.
At this time the parking options on the western terminus range from 150-250 parking spaces in the
St. Thomas/Harding Town Center area. At the eastern terminus near the branch library and East Nashville Magnet School, 150
spaces are proposed. Parking will also be available at other locations, including LP Field and Elmington Park. MTA also has
had conversations with some churches along the route where shared parking might be possible.
The function and beauty of Elmington Park will not change. Under current plans, all the existing green space will stay
intact—no new asphalt will be added, and all trees will be protected—and park users’ access will not be limited.
The Amp project has the potential to benefit Elmington Park and its surrounding neighborhoods in a number of ways. Amp planners
understand the neighbors' strong desire for a traffic signal at the Elmington Avenue/West End intersection, and that signal
is included in current plans. Additionally, Amp resources will be used to bring a number of benefits to the park itself,
from walking trails that provide station connectivity to improved traffic flow within the park.
Some commuters already use Elmington Park as a place to leave their cars during the day. MTA planners are working with the Metro Parks Department
to formalize this arrangement in a way that will allow Amp riders and park users to efficiently share space. At this time,
the proposal is primarily focused on re-striping the existing parking lot and "formalizing" the parking on the east side of
the park along Elmington Avenue to provide for new parallel parking spaces. Parking spaces will be maintained for park
In general, properties near transit stops tend to see increases in value.
Statistics from other cities with BRT (Cleveland,
Ohio and Eugene, Oregon, for example) suggest that property values along BRT routes in particular tend to increase as well. For
more information, see this 2012 report by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office:
At this time, the fares have not been determined, but MTA expects that all of their current fare
cards will work on The Amp system. A one-way fare will probably be the same as it is for the bus now — $1.70.
The Amp will connect directly to 42 existing MTA bus routes and nine RTA bus routes
through the station at Music City Central as well as at locations throughout the corridor.
The Amp will not only serve as the backbone of a future countywide system of rapid transit,
it will also immediately broaden the reach of Nashville’s existing mass-transit system.
One of The Amp's advantages will be its ability to move large crowds quickly during special
events. For example, a number of Amp vehicles could be waiting at the LP Field station to transport fans leaving a Titans
Flexibility will be another advantage of The Amp. During special events, Metro Public Works and MTA will work together to
ensure that an event is successful and that Amp riders are able to access it quickly and conveniently.
Yes. Safety is MTA’s number-one priority. All MTA buses are designated "Safe Places,"
and MTA has received a number of
national awards from the American Public Transit Association in recognition of its safety program.
Amp vehicles will be driven by highly trained operators who are required to meet additional safety standards associated
with BRT service. All station locations will have ample lighting, raised platforms and traffic-signal-controlled access for
Yes. Access to and from The Amp vehicles will be very simple and easy for all. Double sets of sliding doors will allow
for easy access on and off the vehicles. The boarding will be level, so there are no steps to climb up or down. Strollers
and mobility-aid devices may be rolled directly onto the vehicle.