Albuquerque, New Mexico, is re-thinking the role and nature of public transit as one way to fundamentally re-imagine how the concept of community works in their city.
Public transit-oriented development is not merely about serving riders; it’s also about transforming landscapes to help bring people together.
The Albuquerque Rapid Transit (ART), which officially began construction in late summer, is a perfect example of “creating place” by maximizing access to public transit.
New Mexico’s largest city is one of the most diverse places in the country, featuring a vibrant combination of Latino, Anglo, and Native cultures and an even broader socioeconomic spectrum. This mixed-use project aims to help bring residents from different backgrounds closer together by honoring tradition while also pointing an eye toward the future.
Dedicated lanes for buses will weave through several distinct neighborhoods, closely following Albuquerque’s historic Route 66 from one side of the city to the other. The system is intended to help “drive economic growth and mobility; connect people with ever-changing opportunities; [and] create public ‘places of the soul’ that connect and uplift” local communities.
Moving from Albuquerque’s Old Town to its boutique Nob Hill community for example, a trip that might take 20 minutes or more to drive in a car, could take half as long on ART. Every aspect is designed to make service as fast as possible:
- Frequent service helps reduce waiting times, and riders will be able to pay their fare ahead of time at the new stations.
- Bus stops will be raised similar to a train station platform, assisting with mobility and allowing passengers to more easily board the bus, which will also have doors on both sides.
- Riders will breeze by traffic thanks to dedicated bus lanes. Buses will rarely need to stop at intersections because the traffic lights will turn green when they approach.
- Once passengers disembark, they can easily board one of the city’s existing bus routes or its commuter train.
An Uplifting Experience
Riding public transit should be enjoyable and enriching, and ART is reflecting that:
- The stations are designed to blend in with and beautify the urban surroundings, complementing the adobe structures and neon lights that appear frequently along the route.
- Planners hope to eventually adorn the stations with work from local artists that reflects the local neighborhoods.
- New buses will be battery-electric, protecting New Mexico’s breathtaking natural environment.
Advocates of public transportation are hoping ART will be another excellent example of the benefits of investing in public transit, from driving innovation that spurs economic growth to improving the quality of life for entire communities.
Join in the conversation. Share with our community what innovations and new ideas are being deployed in your area—or what changes you would like to see.