Letters to November 2018 Candidates

Transit Now Nashville prepared a letter to local and state political candidates, in an effort to receive a response we can share with voters, regarding the candidates position on the topic of multimodal transportation in Middle Tennessee.


Dear [Candidate],

Multimodal transportation options are vital to sustaining economic growth in cities, towns and regions across Tennessee. Incorporating active transportation options, walkability, bicycle lanes and transit into our communities has proven benefits to human health and safety, environmental sustainability and inclusive economic development.

There is a high cost to not addressing Tennessee’s transportation challenges:

● Only 20% of Tennessee households are affordable, when transportation costs are factored into living expenses.

 ● Tennessee ranks 40th in the nation for physical inactivity and 45th for obesity.

 ● Memphis was ranked the 9th worst US city for pedestrian fatalities.

 ● Nashville was ranked the 17th worst city for traffic in the US, which will cost drivers $8.4 billion by 2026 if nothing is to change.

 ● Metro Nashville’s current population of 1.9 million is projected to increase to 2.6 million by 2035, compounding the strain to our infrastructure.

Tennessee’s population growth is the 12th highest in the US.6  As we continue to grow, we have a great opportunity to be proactive in creating solutions. Increasing access to active transportation can help people meet a minimum healthy amount of physical activity.7  Public transportation is also great for economic development, as an average investment of $1 billion over a twenty year period yields a return of $3.7 billion in additional GDP.8  Tennessee could be a national leader in demonstrating how growth can have remarkable outcomes.

Should you become elected to office, what efforts will you make to address the multimodal transportation challenges facing the growing cities, towns and regions in Tennessee? How should the state support cities’ efforts to build competitive transit systems? How will you work towards reducing roadway fatalities, including the increasing number of pedestrian fatalities, in our state?

Please let us know your response by October 17th and if we may share the information with our members. Your response will help voters understand where their prospective leaders stand on these important issues.


Transit Now Nashville

The Equity Alliance Transit Alliance of Middle Tennessee

Greater Nashville Association of Realtors

Labor Union Services

Nashville Civic Design Center

The Urban League of Middle Tennessee

Walk Bike Nashville


Transit Truths

our local partners

transit alliance of middle tennessee

The Transit Alliance of Middle Tennessee is a non-profit organization with the mission of encouraging private sector as well as public sector support for new investments in mass transit in the ten county region of Middle Tennessee. Committed to communicating the value of regional mass transportation needs and options, the Alliance fosters education across the region about the economic value of mass transit investments. Through these communication and education efforts, the Alliance will actively participate in the steps necessary to secure dedicated revenues for mass transit investments in the months and years ahead.

WeGo Public Transit (of nashville-davidson county)

We Go Public Transit (formally MTA) is a private, non-profit organization with a Chief Executive Officer, a Metropolitan Government position, currently held by Paul Ballard who reports directly to the MTA Board of Directors and is responsible for managerial oversight of the entire system. The WeGo Board of Directors is a five-member panel appointed by the Mayor and approved by Council, which makes policies regarding the operation of WeGo. The Davidson Transit Organization (DTO) Board of Directors and Officers have control and general management of the affairs and business of the corporation. Annually, the WeGo Board of Directors appoints the DTO officers. They are responsible for seeing that the orders and resolutions of the Board of Directors are carried into effect.

regional transportation authority (of middle tennessee)

The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) offers Middle Tennesseans transportation solutions. The mission of RTA is to offer the citizens of Middle Tennessee choices and alternatives on how they commute to work each day and to coordinate local regional transportation services. By maximizing federal, state, and local funds with fares, RTA provides and/or manages regional commuter bus service, hundreds of vanpools and carpools, and Tennessee’s first regional rail service, the RTA Music City Star. The RTA is dedicated to providing alternatives and choices of programs designed to meet the specific needs of the riders and area employers, and more importantly, improve the air quality for all Middle Tennesseans.

metropolitan planning organization (nashville area)

The Nashville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) is committed to providing leadership to the region in the planning, funding, and development of a regional multi-modal transportation system; one that promotes personal and social economic prosperity while encouraging sustainable growth and development practices to protect and preserve valuable community and natural assets. The Nashville Area MPO is the federally-designated transportation planning agency for over 2800 square miles and more than 1.5 million people throughout Davidson, Rutherford, Sumner, Williamson, Wilson and parts of Maury and Robertson counties.

real-time transit mobile app

Wouldn’t it be nice if the bus was never late nor early ever again?  With real-time data in the palm of your hand, you’ll know exactly where the bus is… just five blocks away, stuck in traffic, or right around the corner. You’ll be able to plan your movements around town on public transportation more efficiently and reliably.

Here is one of the providers for the real-time open data: http://thetransitapp.com/

market demand

There is a strong need for a mobile transit application in Nashville to help improve the lives of current and future riders. During the 2012 Transit Week, an online poll found 93% of respondents interested in a real-time mobile app, and 82% said they would be more likely to ride public transportation with real-time data in the palm of their hand.

At the same time, each MTA vehicle is equipped with an AVL unit that is broadcasting its current geographical location. There are 44 fixed routes in the MTA system with close to 9.4 million annual trips (2008) and signs point to further growth. Pew Research took a poll in May 2011 and found that 85% of Americans have a cell phone, and 42% of those people have a smartphone. Android comes in at 35% and iPhone is second at 25%. On top of that, 81% of American households have internet access. In a second report, later in 2011, it was found that 62% of Americans between the ages of 25 and 34 owned a smartphone.  Transit Now’s online poll found that 76% of respondents have a smartphone.

reliability and public perception improve

Taking public transportation in any city can be frustrating because you never really know when the bus will show up. Buses can be early, late, or on time. On-time performance has a direct impact on perceptions of public transportation. If a public transportation system is known to be off-schedule, public transportation is perceived as being unreliable. Also fears of potential mechanical difficulties or accidents affect public transportation’s perception as being undependable. Currently, riders are relying on fixed paper schedules, online trip planning tools, Google Maps, or some unregulated third party mobile app that just shows images of the paper schedules. In each scenario, the rider is discerning information that is based on the ideal fixed schedule.  Most of which is out-of-date.

On top of that, there are two types of riders. Captive riders are those who regularly take public transportation because they have no other choice. Health and social-economic factors play a part in this group. The other group is known as the “Choice Riders” who own a single-occupent vehicle and have both the health and economic means to travel independently. This group has two subsets. The first subset is the group that chooses to take public transportation for a variety of reasons such as saving money or easing the impact on the environment. The second subset is the group that consists of people who take public transportation out of sheer dumb luck and curiousity. Their car may be at the mechanic, or their best friend is getting married and the bachelor party takes a bus during the night. This is the group who will form strong opinions about public transportation if they have just one bad experience.

The perception of public transportation is very fragile in today’s economic climate of budget cuts, road lobbyists, and lack of a dedicated source of funds. Millions of people rely on public transportation every day. Middle Tennessee is projected to grow by another 900,000 people by 2035 and a significant percentage will be seniors. On top of that, our youth, specifically the Millennial Generation, want to live in denser, more livable urban centers where they don’t need or want a car. People also have hectic lifestyles and can’t afford to wait 30 minutes for the bus that will already take 45 minutes to get them to their destination.

the project mission

Improve the reliability of public transportation in Nashville by removing the concept of time and replacing it with precise real-time geographical locations of transit vehicles on smartphones and signs. The bus will no longer be early or late. It will be exactly where it is right now in proximity to your current location.




Historic Subway Tunnel Discovered Downtown

Historic Subway tunnels being excavated at Nashville Yards construction site

Construction on the Nashville Yards development has revealed a stunning discovery. Excavation crews working on underground utilities near 10th Ave and Church St have discovered a long forgotten subway tunnel, built over 100 years ago. Further excavation is needed to explore the extent of the tunnel. For a better understanding of the tunnel’s history, the archives at the Downtown Library Nashville Room provided newspaper coverage of the subway’s groundbreaking.

From the archives of The Nashville Banner, May 10th, 1907

From the archives of The Nashville Banner, May 10th, 1907

The Banner close up

The Banner close up

The Banner continued

The Banner continued