The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) and the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) today released a video outlining the agencies' vision for a 21st century public transit system in Rhode Island. The five-minute video, which can be found at www.dot.ri.gov/news, highlights the many benefits of a modern system, including improved connectivity between travel services, upgraded transit facilities, enhanced commuter rail service, and rapid bus lines. The vision moves Rhode Island away from its historic single transit hub model, creating a more robust statewide system with better linkages between major transfer points and emerging growth centers.
"One of the most crucial components of a healthy economy and quality of place is a sound transportation system," RIDOT Director Michael P. Lewis said. "This new vision of travel for Rhode Island will benefit the system's current users while attracting a new generation that values transportation choice and convenience. By making transit a more viable, attractive alternative, we can not only support future growth in Rhode Island but also reduce traffic congestion and our impact on the environment."
A cornerstone of this vision, a new, modern Intermodal Center is in planning for Providence Station. RIDOT recently received a $650,000 Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant to advance the design for a center that would introduce covered bus facilities with indoor waiting areas, free wi-fi, retail, and real-time bus arrival information at the station while paving the way for similar investments across the state.
"Innovation is a key component to our overall efforts to improve mobility in Rhode Island. RIPTA knows that transit investments such as our new R-Line to improve the flow of passengers, and the implementation of real-time technology bring proven benefits to our transit system," said RIPTA CEO Raymond Studley. "This vision of an improved statewide transit system will be more attractive to current and prospective riders, in addition to helping Rhode Island achieve desired economic growth."
Across the country, centers of transportation have long been catalysts for economic development and innovation. Rhode Island already has one of the fastest-growing demands for transit in the nation, and Providence Station is the busiest station in the MBTA network outside of Boston - and 14th busiest of Amtrak's 500 stations nationwide. State funds made possible through the passage of Question 6 would provide the money needed to attract private investment - as well as additional federal support - for the construction of this new center.