I-55/I-69 Alternative Analysis

DeSoto County, MS, United States of America
Mississippi Department of Transportation

Responding to rapid growth in northwest Mississippi, the Federal surface transportation bill included a provision for high-speed, high-capacity transit in the I-69 corridor, titled the “I-69 HOV (High Occupancy Vehicle)/BRT (Bus Rapid Transit)” project. Regional systems planning, such as the Memphis Area Transit Authority’s Regional Transit Plan and the Memphis Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Long Range Transportation Plan, also identified a “South Corridor” as a priority corridor in the Memphis metropolitan area for fixed guideway transit. The project’s purpose was threefold:

  • Increase regional mobility and access
  • Expand the availability and quality of transportation options
  • Improve intermodal connections (highway, transit, air, rail, walking and bicycling)

Under contract with the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT), we conducted an alternatives analysis study for the I-69 corridor in northwest Mississippi and the Memphis region to determine if there was a demonstrated local need for multimodal transportation improvements in the corridor, and if so, whether there was a feasible way to fund them.

Working with a local Steering Committee, Technical Committee and the general public, we developed a series of alternatives that combined different transit technologies, including commuter rail, light rail and bus rapid transit, with different route alignments that serve a range of major activity and employment centers in the region.

Based on three rounds of technical screenings against locally established criteria and input from the general public, the Steering and Technical Committees recommended a Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA) consisting of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) operating on I-69 and local feeder routes on the major east-west arterials. The I-69 BRT Alternative is envisioned as the north-south backbone for regional transit service in the corridor and would serve a 43-mile route between Tunica resorts and downtown Memphis with new or enhanced local bus service in Tunica, DeSoto and Shelby counties.

A distinct advantage of the proposed LPA is the flexibility it affords stakeholders to implement services as demand requires and resources allow. As growth continues along the I-69 corridor, the region now has a road map for future multimodal transportation investments in northwest Mississippi.

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