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Learn about Projects for Utah Transit Authority, including Box Elder to Weber County Corridor Preservation, Davis-SLC Community Connector, and Future of Light Rail Study.
The Brigham City Transit Corridor Study was completed it 2007. It examined options for a transit link between Ogden and Brigham City. The report found that commuter rail would be the best mode to connect the two communities. Shortly after the corridor study was completed, Box Elder County passed a sales tax to support the development of the extension of commuter rail to Box Elder County.
In 2008, UTA implemented FrontRunner service between Ogden and Salt Lake City, including trips to Pleasant View. Service to Provo began in 2012. UTA owns the track for FrontRunner starting 12th street in Ogden. Previously UTA was operating on a shared track with Union Pacific to provide service to Pleasant View. The Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 required that all rail providers implement positive train control (PTC) systems by the end of 2018. Union Pacific and UTA have developed different PTC solutions. Using the shared track would require a significant investment in PTC equipment by UTA. As such, service to Pleasant View was suspended until UTA can purchase the right of way and build a track separate from Union Pacific.
The 2019-2050 Regional Transportation Plan identifies the need to preserve the corridor between Ogden and Brigham City for future transit service. See https://wfrc.org/vision-plans/regional-transportation-plan/2019-2050-regional-transportation-plan/ for more details.
UTA is working with willing sellers to purchase a 50-foot corridor adjacent to Union Pacific’s Track. In Box Elder County, funding accumulated from the sales tax passed in 2007 is being used to buy the property. Acquiring these properties ahead of housing and commercial development will reduce future impacts and costs. UTA has a surveyor on board to develop right of way plans and other documents needed to purchase the land. UTA has successfully obtained several properties, including a future station site, in Box Elder County.
UTA is working in partnership with city and regional representatives to plan for public transportation improvements to support growth between southern Davis County and northern Salt Lake County. Building on the successes of routes 455 and 470, and aligning with the larger plan for transportation in the area (Wasatch Front 2019-2050 Regional Transportation Plan), the Davis-SLC Community Connector is a proposed Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system connecting communities to opportunities including jobs, entertainment, and recreation. The recommended route is shown in the map below.
UTA’s light rail network, which just celebrated its 20 year anniversary, has become a key component of the region’s transportation system. Although very successful, the system must adapt to growth and evolving travel patterns to retain and improve its vital function in the overall transportation network.
Over the years, through both internal processes and regional planning efforts, a range of projects have been considered to optimize the efficiency of the network, assure sustainability, and expand to new areas. However, all of these elements have not been examined holistically. A comprehensive analysis of the network is needed to determine which improvements UTA should pursue in both the near and long term.
The Future of Light Rail Study will:
The Federal Transit Administration and the Utah Transit Authority – in partnership with Taylorsville, Murray, West Valley City, UDOT, WFRC, SLCC, and Salt Lake County – is preparing an Environmental Assessment (EA) and design for a new bus rapid transit (BRT) facility from Murray Central Station to the SLCC Redwood Campus in Taylorsville and West Valley Central Station.
With the planning and alternatives analysis process completed, the Point of the Mountain Transit Study is moving into the initial stages of project development, which will include conceptual engineering and environmental documentation. UTA will again work together with the Utah Department of Transportation, Draper City, Lehi City, South Jordan City, Sandy City, Wasatch Front Regional Council, Mountainland Association of Governments, Salt Lake County, and Utah County to complete this phase of the project.
This phase of the project will include environmental review and documentation of the project consistent with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). It is anticipated that an Environmental Assessment (EA) or potentially a DCE (Documented Categorical Exclusion) is the appropriate environmental document for this project. The environmental process will help to integrate design, transportation, environmental, and public outreach efforts leading to a project ready for approval and possible funding from the Federal Transit Administration.
The environmental review will include evaluation of the following categories:
The “Common Ground Segment” is the Preferred Alternative transit corridor for the juncture of southern Salt Lake County and northern Utah County. Bus Rapid Transit was identified as the best-performing and optimal transit technology for the corridor. The Point of the Mountain Transit Study developed these recommendations through its analysis, including extensive community input, of alternative transit pathways to connect southern Salt Lake County and northern Utah County. The analysis concluded in December 2020 and the final report was issued in early 2021. UTA facilitated the study in partnership with state and local jurisdictions and other key stakeholders. As of early 2021, partner cities, as well as UTA, are ratifying the Common Ground Segment’s selection.
The Cities of Provo, Springville, Mapleton, Spanish Fork, Salem, Payson and Santaquin, in collaboration with Mountainland Association of Governments (MAG), Utah Transit Authority (UTA), and Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT), have initiated the South Valley Transit Study to evaluate options for providing high-capacity transit service in the southern portion of Utah County, between Provo and Santaquin.
As Tooele Valley continues to rapidly develop, it is imperative to proactively plan for multi-modal transportation solutions for the growing population. In an effort to plan proactively, Utah Transit Authority, Tooele County, Tooele City, Grantsville City, Wasatch Front Regional Council and Utah Department of Transportation are working together to study potential transit solutions for the area that take into account current and future growth.
The objective of this study is to evaluate and recommend transit services to meet the demands of population growth, continue supporting economic development opportunities and maintain regional mobility for connections within Tooele Valley and between Tooele Valley and Salt Lake Valley.
For many years, UTA has been making plans to replace its 45-year old Central Bus Garage, which is fast approaching the end of its useful life. Currently, 100 buses are maintained at the 7.3 acre garage facility designed to serve a maximum of 90 vehicles. The facility was last modified in 1987 and cannot be expanded due to lack of available adjacent land.
The Central Bus Garage is also not large enough to store UTA’s current fleet, forcing the agency to park 20 of its buses at its administrative offices. The lack of space makes it impossible for UTA to expand bus service, as there is no available room to store and maintain the necessary additional vehicles.
The new Depot District Clean Fuels Tech Center will provide UTA the bus storage and maintenance resources needed for Salt Lake County’s growing population and demand for public transit service. When completed, the center will offer:
Until the late 1950s, the Denver and Rio Grande Western (D&RGW) railroad shops operated as a regional railroad facility located west of the Salt Lake Central FrontRunner Station. The Locomotive Shop, part of the facility, is pictured below. Other buildings on the site included a roundhouse, a wood car shop, a steel car shop, and a storehouse.
As of 2020, the land west of Salt Lake Central Station and north of UTA’s existing headquarter offices is being used to build a new Depot District Clean Fuels Tech Center (the conceptual illustration shown above). The new site will encompass a fuel and fare building, a bus wash building, bus parking, and a new bus maintenance building.
The D&RGW railroad route from Denver to Salt Lake City was completed in 1883. It elevated Salt Lake City's status as a transportation crossroads. Below are photographs of the D&RGW railroad and its workers, including photos of the Depot District facility.
As UTA builds this new garage and clean fuels center, special care is being taken to identify, protect and preserve artifacts from the historic D&RGW railroad facility. Bottles, bricks, dishes and other items have been collected during closely-monitored excavations at the site.
This new facility will consolidate key bus operations and functions currently located at various locations in the Salt Lake Valley. Most importantly, the new garage will provide capacity for the area’s existing bus fleet, as well as room to expand for future growth. As the population grows along the Wasatch Front, this facility will enable UTA to continue providing bus service to meet community needs.
Positive Train Control (PTC) is a system of safeguards designed to prevent commuter and freight accidents. Specifically, PTC is used to prevent train-to-train collisions, derailments due to excessive speed, accidents caused by track malfunctions and incursions into work zones. Federal regulations require all heavy rail, freight and commuter train systems, including UTA’s FrontRunner, to fully implement all aspects of PTC by Dec. 31, 2020.
There are two types of PTC to be used at UTA. The first is Enhanced Automatic Train Control (E-ATC), which is designed to automatically regulate train speed and prevent trains from running red stop signals or from operating outside their given track segment. E-ATC also ensures track switches are properly positioned during rail operations.
UTA currently has installed elements installed all necessary hardware and software on FrontRunner for the PTC system. UTA is currently testing system functionality.
UTA is set to have all required elements of PTC on its FrontRunner system and approved by the Federal Railroad Administration by Dec 2020. PTC is not required on the TRAX light rail system or on the S-Line streetcar.
In July 2016, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) awarded the Utah Transit Authority a $20 million grant that will be used, along with matching funds, to build hundreds of active transportation projects connecting to the regional rail system.
UTA and more than 30 cities and counties, non-profit groups and state and local organizations worked closely together to secure the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant funding. The projects funded by this grant will benefit residents of more than two dozen cities in Weber, Davis, Salt Lake, Tooele, Utah and Summit counties.
The TIGER funding will be used for hundreds of projects throughout the UTA Service Area designed to make it safer and easier to walk and bike to transit. The projects are also designed to improve air quality by making it easier for residents to leave their cars at home as they travel to and from public transportation.
The project will take a regional approach to addressing first/last mile connections, enhancing transit access for residents throughout the UTA service area. Anticipated benefits of the project include:
UTA is working with project stakeholders to help finalize the project list. Details on specific projects will be finalized by the end of 2016, and construction on some could begin as soon as early 2017.
In 2015, voters in Weber, Davis and Tooele counties voted in favor of Proposition 1, a local sales tax measure that funds transportation improvements including roads, sidewalks, trails and transit. As a result of the vote, UTA has been making a number of improvements to its bus system in these areas including increasing service and enhancing bus stops as well as improving sidewalks and trails that help riders access the transit system.
Weber and Davis Counties
In 2016, UTA started an extensive, multi-year enhancement of bus service in Weber and Davis counties. These areas saw a 15 percent increase in bus service, which reflects the resolution passed by the UTA Board of Trustees in August 2015 committing that funds from Proposition 1 sales tax revenues would be used to improve service, primarily bus service. Routes that were improved saw an average 12 percent ridership increase. Additional service and infrastructure improvements will be made over the course of several years, and UTA will continue to work with Weber and Davis county leaders and residents to develop transit plans that will be of most benefit to the local community.
Besides UTA's service additions, one of the key transit improvements started in 2016 was the establishment of a new mobility management program. The program is a partnership between UTA and other community providers to help fulfill local transportation needs. Currently, details are being finalized, and the program will soon be available as a resource to help meet the area's mobility needs.
2016 Progress for Weber and Davis Counties
15 percent increase in annual bus service
2 new bus routes
4 routes with increased weekday span of service (1,250 earlier/later hours)
2 routes with added peak hour service
36 percent increase in annual weekend bus service
New mobility management program
Ski, trolley and regular buses on order
Improved bus stops, shelters and other amenities
70 improved bus stops
2 sidewalk projects
2 bike lane projects (in partnership with North Ogden City)
8 bike amenity improvements at park-and-ride lots
Tooele, Grantsville and Stansbury
Additions to service and increased rider amenities are coming to Tooele, Grantsville and Stansbury. These improvements, funded through the passage of Proposition 1, include extended service hours on the Tooele County public shuttle service (known as the Tooele Shuffle), enhanced bus stops, and new first/last mile solutions like bike trails and sidewalks.
Proposition 1 improvements in the area are already underway and will continue to be implemented throughout the next several years. The Tooele Shuffle service, operated in partnership between UTA and Tooele County Aging Services, extended its hours of operations to 7 a.m. - 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. Previously, the route operated from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. This service makes stops by appointment at designated places throughout Tooele, Grantsville and Stansbury Park.
Design work for bike paths along Vine Street and 100 East in Tooele was completed with work scheduled to begin in 2017. Bus stop improvements, which will bring shelters, benches and garbage cans to select stops in Tooele and Grantsville, will also take place next year. In addition, work is expected to begin on sidewalks connecting Grantsville’s Main Street and senior center to public transportation hubs.
Moving forward, UTA will work with Tooele and Grantsville to plan transit improvements. These may include additional bike paths that facilitate connections with public transportation, additional midday service, increasing peak service between Tooele and Salt Lake City, and preparations for long-term projects such as developing a transit master plan and identifying areas for new park-and-ride lots.
2016 Progress and Future Plans for Tooele, Grantsville and Stansbury
Increase service on Tooele Shuffle route
Increased route by 500 hours
Improved stops and first/last mile solutions
Improve 8 stops – planned for 2017
2 bike lanes planned and designed, construction to begin in 2017
Transit Master Plan - 2017 planned completion
Park-and-ride lots - plans in place for 2019/2020
When TRAX made its debut in 1999, a fleet of Siemens SD100 light rail vehicles began transporting thousands of Utahns along the Wasatch Front each day. As UTA’s light rail service grew, UTA added 17 Siemens SD160 light rail vehicles. UTA is in the midst of an extensive overhaul program designed to sustain the life of both the SD 100 and SD 160 vehicles as required by the Federal Transit Administration. This will enable UTA to safely operate the fleets up to its projected 30-year lifespan.
Establishing an overhaul program is an industry-best practice that will significantly impact most of the vehicles’ systems and components for the purpose of improving safety, efficiency and passenger comfort.
To begin the project, UTA evaluated every system in each fleet to determine the appropriate time and cost for overhauling/replacing components. Whenever possible, UTA will perform the work in-house enabling us to create several full time positions to compete the overhaul. Developing the employees skill set enables UTA to build a solid foundation for future long term maintenance needs. UTA has also set up specific maintenance shops for overhaul implementation. These shops will help sustain our light rail fleet throughout its useful life.
The overhaul process includes:
Some items to be overhauled in 2017 include couplers, pantographs, brakes, HVAC, and the vehicles’ traction motors and propulsion systems. UTA will also add cameras to the fleets to improve safety and security.
One of the long term goals of the program is the ability to run mixed fleets. This improvement will eliminate the high block loading platforms and make it easier for customers to board the train.
Safety, reliability, efficiency and passenger comfort have always been key to the UTA mission. The overhaul program is just another example of UTA providing world class transportation to the customers we serve.
Bus Rapid Transit or BRT combines the capacity and speed of light rail with the lower cost construction of an integrated bus system. Once complete, Ogden BRT(formerly route 603) will provide riders a clean-air ride in an electric bus from the Ogden FrontRunner Station, through downtown, along dedicated bus lanes in the center of the road on Harrison Boulevard and through the Weber State University campus, and to McKay-Dee Hospital. When operational, riders will be able to catch the bus every 10-15 minutes on weekdays and 15-30 minutes on weekends. The project will benefit the community by reducing vehicle trips, supporting the economy and providing transportation choices.
Utah Transit Authority, Jacobs Engineering, AECOM, WCEC, and Stacy and Witbeck have partnered to design and construct the Ogden BRT line over the next three years. Project segments will be constructed simultaneously in multiple locations to ensure project completion in a timely manner.
More information can be found here.
UTA, in collaboration with the Utah Department of Transporation (UDOT), Mountainland Association of Governments (MAG) and seven cities in Utah County (Lehi, American Fork, Pleasant Grove, Lindon, Orem, Vineyard and Provo), have initiated a study to evaluate options for faster and more frequent high-capacity transit service between Lehi and Provo. Transit is a vital part of the broader transportation network needed to accommodate growth and guide planning in Utah County. Public input will be gathered throughout the process and will be a key component to shaping the study.
In the Fall of 2019, UDOT, UTA and UVU broke ground on a pedestrian bridge that will provide access between Orem Central Station and the UVU campus. The bridge will span almost 1,000 feet across I-15 and will be 15 feet wide. Elevators on each side of the bridge will accommodate pedestrians, bikes and scooters. The project will dramatically improve safety for pedestrians and decrease congestion on nearby streets. It will make transit, biking and walking more appealing to University students, staff and visitors while improving the integrated transportation system in central Utah County.