Information about route

While it is fortunate not to be encumbered with traditional fixed-route mass transit, lower-cost and more nimble technologies evolving the Morgantown PRT demand-responsive modality into the 21st century warrant major investment to accommodate peak hour trips and guide future growth.  Vehicle-Miles-Traveled in this area are already out-of-proportion to the level of economic activity.  As the region matures into a medium-sized metropolis, it will confront the logistical impossibility and technical infeasibility of continuing massive highway expansion for single-occupant car commuters.

In relation to need to reduce VMT, spending over $1 billion and creating years of traffic delays and negative impacts to adjacent communities to further widen I-80 and reconfigure the “Spaghetti” junction of I-80/US-395 produces diminishing marginal returns in terms of long-term mobility.  Improvements to the trunk freeways should be limited to auxiliary lanes and reconfigured interchanges, such as the addition of a northbound-Vista-to-westbound-80 loop in the same manner as was recently completed at Sparks Blvd./I-80.  Relying strictly on current funding sources to the exclusion of tolls leaves our region without an essential tool for matching the incremental cost of additional lane-miles to the benefits received by peak hour commuters.

The Pyramid route would be the northerly extension of a network with its core a “box”:

NE corner – John Ascuaga Nugget / Victorian Square

NW corner – UNR / Downtown Reno

SW corner – Atlantis / Convention Center

SE corner – Reno-Tahoe Int’l. Airport

Illustrated via this link: https://iet.solutions/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/RTC-2035_WJS-variant_Transitway.jpg , an easterly extension would run to the Legends and southerly extension to Meadowood Mall.  Emerging technologies with acronyms ‘PRT’ (Personal Rapid Transit), ‘GRT’ (Group Rapid Transit), and ‘ULRT’ (Ultra-Light Rail Transit) cost roughly $35 million per mile exclusive of stations.  Stations for offline loading can be much more conveniently located for passenger egress without degrading network performance than conventional system-oriented technologies.  ULRT simulated on Portland’s MAX light rail network more than tripled average speeds from 16 to 51 mph while running on the same gauge rails as the MAX trains.  Next generation PRT is being implemented by Ultra:  http://www.ultraglobalprt.com/  at Heathrow Airport and Amritsar, India.

Operating costs for PRT/GRT/ULRT are only a fraction of conventional transit because of lower labor and energy costs.  Patronage of demand-responsive, direct-to-destination transit service with shorter waiting times and fewer intermediate stops should enable farebox revenues to cover all operating expenses and contribute something to capital costs.  Transit works best with high density, and the housing collapse affords an opportunity for Reno and Sparks to rethink low density sprawl.  Instead of filling out every square mile with single family homes and low-rise apartments, why not upzone special assessment districts around logical places for stations.  Vacant land east of Pyramid between Los Altos and Disc Drive is an ideal candidate for high rise residential with its access to Sparks Galleria + Kohl’s/Walmart complex across the street.  Assessment districts, identified by light blue coloration on the regional and area graphics, capture the increased property valuations resulting from greatly enhanced accessibility afforded by the transit stations to defray cost of the infrastructure.

RTC 2035 WJS variant Transitway