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Metro’s Transportation Solution will have far-reaching and long-lasting impacts on Nashville and Davidson County. Metro’s residents, businesses, and visitors will benefit significantly from transportation infrastructure investments. These transportation benefits have been analyzed through a Triple Bottom Line (TBL) framework. The TBL analysis measures economic, social, and environmental impacts to determine the full value of an investment.

Along with creating regional wealth and employment during construction of Metro’s Transportation Solution, the proposed improvements will result in annual benefits to Nashville beginning with construction and lasting far beyond completion. These documents illustrate how benefits will accrue to all residents of Davidson County -- not solely to those utilizing the proposed transit system.

A well-integrated transportation system also produces significant public health benefits, including reduced traffic crashes and pollution emissions, increased physical fitness, improved mental health, and improved basic access to medical care and healthy food.

Affordable Housing

Mayor David Briley is committed to funding, building, preserving, and maintaining Nashville’s supply of affordable and workforce housing so that working families can afford to live, work, and play in Nashville.

Affordability in Nashville is about more than just housing prices – it’s about the entire cost burden on families. Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) allows for both housing and transportation costs to go down. High capacity corridors, both Rapid Bus and Light Rail, also improve the connection between affordable housing and high-paying jobs – residents can access more affordable housing at the end of the transit lines, but still be able to access high-paying jobs at the city center without an increase in transportation costs and commute times.

Metro has developed an initial plan to ensure that housing affordability along the corridors is preserved and more housing units are built. It’s also essential that we protect and enhance small businesses along transit corridors, and that’s also included in the plan.

Metro’s Transportation Solution expands housing affordability by:

  • Reducing cost burdens for existing low to moderate-income individuals and families by providing transportation options.
  • Offering free or reduced fares for Nashvillians who are experiencing poverty, living with a disability, senior citizens, and those under the age of 18.
  • Expanding housing affordability along corridors and near employment centers to allow for greater opportunities to live near the places where they learn, work, and play.
  • Creating mixed-income communities that improve health, support better education outcomes, and promote upward mobility.
  • Prioritizing strategies in areas along transit corridors to prevent displacement of low to moderate income residents.

Former Mayor Megan Barry convened a taskforce, led by Davidson County Clerk Brenda Wynn and former Nashville Mayor Bill Purcell, to develop a comprehensive plan to preserve and build more affordable housing and protect small businesses. Click here to learn more about the Transit and Affordability Taskforce.

Health and Safety

Let’s Move Nashville is expected to bring Davidson County a number of benefits that go well beyond increased and improved transit service. Transit provides other benefits that come in the form of healthier and safer Davidson County residents. For example, transit encourages increased physical activity such as walking and biking when system users travel to and from boarding stations for trips, yielding several health benefits. To supplement this, a reduction of vehicles on the road translates to fewer car accidents and related injuries.

Let’s Move Nashville incorporates a vigilant concern for the safety of everyone who accesses our multi-modal system, whether commuters riding high-capacity modes or children using sidewalks that connect their neighborhoods to their school.

A lack of physical activity is a major contributor to the rise in obesity, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and other chronic health conditions in the U.S. Currently 26% of Metro’s population is classified as obese. The average annual cost of obesity-related medical issues is $1,429 per person, which translates into an estimated $255 million per year in obesity-related health care costs that accrue to Metro.

Transit is associated with a more active lifestyle because of the need to travel to and from transit stations. Research has found that individuals who commute using public transit walk an average of 0.75 miles per day more than those who don’t use transit. Health benefits from those people who are expected to switch from using their personal vehicle to transit are expected to amount to $15.1 million annually upon the TIP’s full implementation in 2033.

Wherever necessary, the plan will incorporate about 282,000 linear feet of new or improved sidewalks along the light rail and rapid bus corridors; sidewalk extensions; protected bicycle lanes; and bus lanes and walkable, enhanced bus stops.

It will also improve the safety of Metro’s most dangerous intersections. Related projects will include re-aligning intersections, sidewalk and curb extensions, as well as crosswalk and traffic signal improvements. We will invest heavily in sidewalks connecting neighborhoods, as well as pilot walking districts and the creation of safety education campaigns.

Nashville currently has an average of 17 deaths per year from traffic fatalities involving pedestrians. Across the country in 2016, 40,200 people died in accidents involving motor vehicles. Traffic death rates tend to decline when public transit travel increases in an area. Residents of transit-oriented communities have only about a quarter of the traffic fatality rates as residents of sprawling, automobile-dependent communities.

A transit-oriented community is likely to decrease the number of motor-vehicle-related injuries and deaths. Avoided car crash injuries are estimated to amount to $15 million annually in risk-reduction benefits after the program’s full implementation.

Read more about Health and Safety (PDF)

Jobs and Economic Impacts

Metro’s Transportation Solution will create or maintain 3,850 jobs per year over the 14-year construction period, generating $4.76 billion in additional GDP growth and providing $3.66 billion in additional labor income in Davidson County.

The program will support two types of job opportunities:

  • direct jobs for local residents throughout construction, many of which will transition into positions maintaining and managing the system;
  • promoting economic opportunity for those across income levels and industries whose access to the system will help them secure and retain employment.

Let’s Move Nashville:

  • Will lead to good paying jobs for Davidson County residents constructing and operating the transit network.
  • Directly supports communities that have historically been left behind or left out as our economy has boomed. People without cars will soon be able to crisscross the city on more convenient bus routes taking them to a wider range of employers and jobs.
  • Gives area employers access to a larger, more reliable pool of employees who are able to exercise additional options for getting to work, which improves our ability to attract new employers to our region.
  • Is an economic engine that improves all neighborhoods either directly or indirectly by making them more vibrant places to live, work and shop.

Read more about Jobs and Economic Impacts (PDF)

Mobility and Accessibility

Metro’s Transportation Solution brings the city together like never before by creating and enhancing a multi-modal system that connects employees with employers, neighborhoods with neighborhoods, families with amenities, and tourists with attractions. For transit-dependent and disadvantaged populations in particular, investments in public transportation infrastructure can greatly improve mobility and access – radically impacting their quality of life.

Transportation costs in Nashville are high. The average Nashvillian spends $12,000 per year on transportation costs. Moderate-income Nashvillians (range for moderate income) spend 25% of their income on transportation costs (under 15% is considered affordable).

Lack of access to transportation is keeping our neighbors from accessing opportunities. Nashville is 92nd out of the top 100 cities in a worker’s access to employment. Transportation is one of the top two barriers keeping local college students from graduating. 85% of seniors have poor access to transit, keeping them from going to the doctor or visiting with family.

Longer hours, higher frequency, improved reliability, and faster travel times will result in more efficient service to more people. With improved service, residents will have the ability to access a variety of important community destinations, such as jobs and school, with greater ease.

Approximately 72% of MTA’s StrIDe (MNPS) students and 60% of seniors currently using MTA’s bus system are expected to benefit directly from the frequency and span improvements that would be implemented starting in 2018. 100% of seniors and disabled individuals eligible for Access Ride will experience improved service, with same-day reservations, real-time information, and optimized routing.

In addition, 87% of all middle and high schools in Davidson County (both public and private) will be within one-half mile of transit service, making transit a more viable option for busy parents and students.

One-third of Americans can’t or don’t drive, keeping people from jobs, doctor visits and time with family. Improving our transit system will improve access to healthy food, health clinics and job opportunities. In fact, Let’s Move Nashville is expected to make 28.5% more jobs accessible by transit within a 30-minute travel time. Let’s Move Nashville will also serve the people that need it most. The system will be within one-half mile of 82% of minorities, 88% of households experiencing poverty, and 90% of households with no vehicles.

In addition to heightened accessibility, annual cost savings would accrue to those switching travel modes since transit has a lower out-of-pocket cost than personal vehicles. These cost savings are estimated to amount to $7,808 per person annually. This would especially benefit low-income households who could use the much-needed savings for other necessities.

Read more about Mobility and Accessibility (PDF)
Read more about Population and Employment (PDF)

Air Quality and Emissions

Metro’s Transportation Solution is a win for everyone, putting everything residents, businesses and visitors love about Music City within easy reach of all. By loosening gridlock’s hold on the city, the plan keeps intact all those things that have made Nashville so attractive as a destination in the first place.

The fact is the transportation sector contributes 37% of the county’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and 85% of the county’s smog. A transit system will keep thousands of new cars off the road, meaning cleaner air for all of us to breathe. This is especially important to our more vulnerable citizens, such as children and the elderly, helping reduce asthma rates and respiratory issues.

Air pollutants and GHGs harm the environment, the economy, and human health. Metro’s Transportation Solution would avoid pollution-based damage to human health and the environment in Davidson County by an estimated $7.2 million annually. The estimated avoided emissions include annual GHG emissions of about 22,235 metric tons of CO2e, which is equivalent to planting over a million trees every year or the electricity use of 3,333 homes for one year.

Read more about Sustainability (PDF)

Travel Time Saving

Transportation improvements resulting from Let’s Move Nashville are expected to reduce the cost of travel and have the possibility to result in travel time savings benefits to users.

Travel time savings, along with out-of-pocket user costs (or mobility costs), are the key components that make up the “cost of travel” that influence a trip-maker when considering which mode of transportation to use. Having a greater variety of transit options that provide faster travel times encourages existing trip-makers to switch modes of travel.

Light rail service has been shown across the country to attract more riders and retain them over time compared to just bus improvements. In fact, there are 24 light rail systems across the country, and ridership on those systems is up 21% over the last 10 years. A major contributor to these gains is travel time reliability and faster travel than other options, including driving. Nashvillians’ experience is expected to be very similar. If light rail service was on the proposed corridors today, light rail trips would be 20 min faster than the bus in mixed traffic and 6 minutes faster than driving. As Nashville continues to grow, those travel time savings are expected to increase. In 2040, light rail on our most congested corridors would provide travel times that are 31 minutes faster than buses operating in mixed traffic and 15 minutes faster than driving.

The implementation of Let’s Move Nashville’s LRT corridors will result in reduced travel time for trip-makers who choose it over personal autos and existing bus modes. As shown through this analysis, transportation mode shifts will result in an estimated annual travel time savings benefit of $43 million in 2033. Estimated annual travel time savings are expected to increase as ridership projections grow annually.

Read more about Travel Time Savings (PDF)

Transit-Oriented Development

The Let’s Move Nashville plan is expected to have a considerable impact on generating transit-oriented development (TOD) along corridors with high-capacity transit (HCT). HCT is characterized by the capability to carry an increased number of passengers and more frequent services than a standard bus system.

TOD tends to happen near HCT stations due to an increase in economic and social activity. It results in mixed-use development, creating vibrant and connected communities. Transit investments have also been found to appreciate property values and spur private investment along high-capacity corridors (HCC). Based on findings from other U.S. cities, it is estimated that property owners along the LRT corridors would enjoy a one-time benefit of $1.1 billion in property value appreciation due to an increased demand for land in proximity to high-capacity transit. In addition to increased property values, on average there is a $4 return in private investment for every $1 spent on transit investments.

Policies that promote mixed-use development, mixed-income housing, and investments that promote walking and biking tend to foster more equitable transit-oriented communities. The socioeconomic diversity of neighborhoods with mixed-income housing contributes to sustainability while deterring the concentration of low-income households in a community. More compact, multi-modal smart growth development patterns tend to increase heterogeneity of races and income levels, access to education and employment opportunities and economic mobility. As density increases, the probability that a child born to a family in the bottom quintile of the national income distribution will reach the top quintile of the national income distribution by age 30 increases by about 41%.

There is a complex relationship between an investment in high-capacity transit and the economic development that it tends to spur. We analyzed the convergence of changes in property value, private investment potential and social equity on transit-oriented development, so that Davidson County can be intentional about the type of development it wants to see along high capacity transit corridors. Together with the recommendations from the Transit and Affordability Taskforce, and input from the community, this creates a roadmap for equitable transit-oriented development.

Read more about Transit Oriented Development