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GoTriangle and the Regional Transportation Alliance business coalition jointly coordinate an ongoing conversation, hosted by the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce, about immediate and longer-term opportunities to expand the multimodal performance of portions of the NC 54 corridor to the west of the I-40 interchange/exit 270 to US 15-501/NC 86/South Columbia St.

Click here for a one-pager on the Multimodal 54 initiative, available for download.


All meetings hosted by Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce


July 18, 2017, 12 noon – draft agendaDr. Joe Hummer grade-separated interchange presentation, NCDOT updated summary for eastern sectionKimley-Horn summary for eastern section, Clark Nexsen delay analysis of western section, Clark Nexsen InSync initial analysisWSP update for southern section, revised draft TDM memo from VHB

Future meeting – draft action plan update (to be posted)


Prior meetings

April 6, 2017 – draft agendadraft notesNCDOT Mobility & Safety analysis-eastern sectionNCDOT offset intersection presentation for eastern section, Clark Nexsen delay analysis for Chapel Hillrevised TDM memo from VHB, WSP|PB preliminary analysis of southern section, GoTriangle update on light rail corridor station areas
Jan. 18, 2017 – agenda; noteswestern section/Clark Nexsen analysis, eastern section/Kimley-Horn analysis, TDM/VHB analysis 
Dec. 8, 2016 agenda; draft notes; TDM info (VHB presentation, one-pager); Durham section draft corridor analysis; Dr. Hummer presentation on 15-501/NC 54/Raleigh Road interchange
Oct. 17, 2016
agenda; notes; Chapel Hill corridor info (study approachdelay info); Durham corridor info (study approach, delay info, analysis); Dr. Hummer presentation; TDM info (one-pager, VHB presentation, 2014 Town overview memo)
Sept. 13, 2016  
agenda, notes, record copy of action plan (rev. Aug 31, 2016), corridor analysis assumptions (rev. Sep. 13, 2016)
August 8, 2016
agenda, notesrecord copy of action plan (rev. Aug 11, 2016)
June 30, 2016   – agenda, presentation deck, notes
May 19, 2016   – agenda, notes

Additional resources


Context and rationale

As the region continues to grow, increasing transit demands from Carrboro, Chapel Hill, and UNC to points east of the future Leigh Village light rail station – including Southpoint/southern Durham County, RTP/Park Center, RDU Airport, and multiple destinations in Wake County – will continue to require use of all or portions of the NC 54 corridor, even subsequent to the opening of the light rail.

While capacity and operational improvements are slated for the NC 54 corridor within the next decade, including conversion to Synchronized Street and/or new grade separations/interchanges, there remain both concerns and opportunities associated with potential multimodal improvements.

To the extent that interfaces between regional bus and future light rail travel can be enhanced and streamlined, the fruits of this conversation will mutually reinforce the overall quality of the regional transit network in southwestern Durham and southeastern Orange counties and beyond.


Multimodal 54 initiative:  FAQs

Will this conversation focus on simple improvements along the lines of the I-40 Bus On Shoulder System (BOSS) or more costly, longer-term improvements like dedicated lanes?

All of the above. The goal of the conversation is to bring stakeholders together, create focus, and identify pitfalls and opportunities to enhance transit and other multimodal improvements in both the immediate and longer-term horizons.


What is the relationship of this effort to the Durham-Orange light rail project?

The Durham-Orange light rail project, which achieved its environmental record of decision earlier this year, will serve a significant travel market between southern Chapel Hill/UNC and Duke Univ./southwestern and central Durham when it opens in the middle of the next decade.

This proposed Multimodal 54 conversation will address multiple needs, including:

  • Exploring how bus movement through the NC 54 corridor and from the NC 54 corridor to the Leigh Village light rail station – can be made faster and more reliable in the short and long term.
  • Exploring how strategies that may improve traffic flow for automobiles on I-40 could include components to expedite buses, such as queue jumping at possible future on-ramp signals or other signal priority measures.
  • Exploring how pedestrian and bicycle connectivity in the corridor should be coordinated throughout the corridor, and with other modes, given the adoption of the state STI law and other policy changes since the NC 54 study originally completed by DCHC-MPO.



How does this dialogue fit in with the conversation that the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber and the RTA initiated a few months ago about the potential for dual use of the proposed light rail corridor?

The conversation on dual use was an important step because it highlighted the importance of serving additional travel markets complementary to the light rail corridor as the region grows.

After analysis by GoTriangle professional staff, it became clear that the dual use concept presented many challenges, and would not be optimal from either an operational, financial, safety or timing standpoint, and therefore RTA, GoTriangle, and the Chamber have pivoted to exploring a series of scalable transit and other multimodal improvements to the 54 corridor which can complement the light rail.


For more information on the Multimodal 54 initiative, contact Patrick McDonough, AICP, GoTriangle Manager of Planning and Transit Oriented Development, or Joe Milazzo II, PE, RTA Executive Director.

RTA opposition to Modal Funding Cap   The 2015 state budget included a half-million dollar light rail funding cap, which will curtail or eliminate the ability of certain transit projects to compete for state funding under STI. The Regional Transportation Alliance business coalition has supported the Strategic Transportation Investments (STI) legislation since its 2013 approval, we honored legislative leaders at our 12th Annual Meeting for this historic achievement in reforming and modernizing funding allocations, and we have applauded the STI use of a data-driven approach that allows projects to rigorously compete for funding under an agreed upon set of criteria, applied across three geographic tiers. Given our strong, ongoing support for STI and its data-driven approach for advancing all modes of transportation, we oppose the funding cap for light rail and are seeking its repeal.