New Orleans Makes Big Plans for Transit

Still recovering from the long-term impacts of Hurricane Katrina, the city is looking to build out and modernize its transit system to improve mobility for its many transit-dependent residents.

1 minute read

July 12, 2023, 7:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Red and yellow New Orleans streetcar running down street lined with palm trees

Historic streetcar in downtown New Orleans. | f11photo / Adobe Stock

In an article for Governing, Jared Brey outlines plans to improve transit on land and water in New Orleans on the heels of the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority hiring a new CEO earlier this year.

In addition to opening a new ferry building this summer—“a major accessibility upgrade for the ferry system”—RTA plans to overhaul its bus network, which took a major hit after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. “According to The Data Center, just 4 percent of New Orleanians take public transit to work as of 2021, compared to 14 percent in 2000.”

To improve bus service, “RTA has begun collecting funding for a new downtown transit hub, and it has secured grants this year to buy new electric buses and to make upgrades to the ferry terminal in Algiers Point. It’s also in the early stages of planning its first-ever bus rapid transit (BRT) line — a service that could potentially slash commuting times for residents coming from outlying neighborhoods to the downtown job centers.”

According to the agency, which says roughly 22,000 people live within a quarter-mile of the line’s proposed stops, “The proposed 15-mile route would have fewer stops than traditional bus service, but, if it works correctly, more frequent and faster service with priority on the roadways.”

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