Local Leaders Look to the North for Triangle Traffic Solutions
Posted September 7, 1999 7:00 a.m. EDT
DURHAM — It will not be easy to solve the traffic problems in the Triangle. Some local leaders are taking on the challenge and say a partial solution may come from Canada.
Durham and Chapel Hill leaders recently visited Ottawa to see their much-talked-about busing system.
The Triangle Transit Authority, along with Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill's bus systems, carries a total of 10 million passengers a year. Ottawa has fewer people, but its transit system carries 70 million passengers a year.
If the Triangle area had the same ridership, 320,000 car trips a day would be taken over by transit.
"What a great thing for those 320,000 people who won't have to have a car, pay for insurance, won't have to have all the things that have to go with owning a car and can still get around the area," says Durham Mayor Nick Tennyson.
Just because you have buses does not mean people will ride them. The Triangle's transit system already has low ridership. The trick will be to change that.
The Ottawa system attracts bus riders with short bus intervals."In the busways areas there's a bus every three minutes," says Tennyson. "Typical would be a 10-minute headway so any time you walk up to the bus stop you don't have a long wait. And that convenience is a critical factor."
Neither mayor is supporting buses over a light rail system. They hope the bus service will compliment rail service in the Triangle.