Name of the City: Greenville, SC
Project name: Smart Transportation Corridors and Smarter GreenVillages Development
Sustainability sector/topic: Transportation
Keywords: multimodal, multi-jurisdictional, mobility hub, automated transit network system, personal rapid transit, bus, bicycle, greenways, first/last mile, transportation, sensors, data management, elevated transit, driverless car
Project description: Since 2005, Greenville City, County & GTA (Greenville Transit Authority, dba Greenlink) have worked together to improve transportation options. Clemson University built its new International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) in Greenville near I-85. Bus services were improved, increasing ridership by 100% and expanding service to the surrounding communities of Clemson, Simpsonville and Mauldin. Greenlink installed bike racks on all buses. Upstate Forever installed bike share stations in the City and County that allow for connections to transit stops. A coalition completed a 10 mile bike/walk “Swamp Rabbit Trail” in the northern part of the city.
Electric charging stations were added. But the community has wanted to do better, developing numerous studies and plans for improvement, and applying without success for TIGER grants to implement plans.
New opportunities embolden the community. The 2010 Census expanded the Greenville Urbanized Area (UZA) to include Clemson Area Transit (CAT). In 2015 Greenville Pickens Area Transit Study (GPATS) has transitioned into the MPO for both GTA and CAT service areas with higher total population, vehicle miles, and ridership. New safety and technology advances have opened consideration of innovative, shared, automated transport solutions that can help attract more choice riders. Club Car recently proposed a pilot shuttle service using connected, assisted, and/or automated LSEVs in mixed use campus communities like Verdae with access to the Swamp Rabbit Trail.
The new vision is a multimodal and multi-jurisdictional transportation plan across GPATS from Greenville Spartanburg (GSP) airport through Greenville’s urban areas to Clemson University. The vision includes a new connected, assisted, or automated LSEV shuttle services, elevated, driverless car transit network system (ATN), or personal rapid transit (PRT), smarter bus transit proposed in TIGER 7 (including bus and traffic light sensors and electric buses) and more bike and pedestrian-friendly greenways with a focus on GreenVillages development. A new integrated, smart transportation plan will create mobility hubs along GreenVillages developments that connect people living along urban
corridors so they would not need to own a car. This plan would deal with the issues of first/last mile transport, community health and safety, sewer and stormwater infrastructure improvements, traffic congestion, air pollution, transportation costs and traffic accidents. While improving mobility, an elevated ATN system itself would not contribute to stormwater runoff; however, development along its path would require improved sewer capacity and a system to handle stormwater from that and future commercial/residential development. Major issues to address include hardware and software options, data collection, and management and system integration.
GSP airport has already completed a feasibility study for their plan and will be issuing an RFP in 2016 for an ATN system similar to the Heathrow Airport system. In addition, GCEDC (Greenville County Economic Development Corporation) is revising an RFP for a Public Private Partnership (PPP) to build a 20+ mile ATN system connecting attractor locations along major urban corridors. Clemson University and City want an ATN system to complement their CAT bus system, when funding is available, to reduce congestion.
Potential Envision Greenville partners include GE, Duke Energy, IBM, AT&T, Schneider Electric, Club Car, Clemson University as well as the surrounding communities of Clemson, Simpsonville and Mauldin for this project. Through the development of their implementation plan at Envision America, they will be working to develop a model that could scale to other cities and towns in the United States.