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Frequently Asked Questions

Who is conducting the study?

The Regional Transit Authority of Middle Tennessee (RTA) is the main governmental agency responsible for the study.  The RTA is working closely with the Nashville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (Nashville MPO), the Clarksville Urbanized Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (Clarksville MPO), the Clarksville Transit System (CTS), and the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT), as well as the counties and cities in the study area.

What is the purpose of the study?

The purpose of the Northwest Corridor Transit Study is to build consensus among the regional transit and planning agencies, local community partners, and stakeholders on enhanced, cost effective transit improvements in the northwest corridor to connect travelers to destinations (work, school, shopping, entertainment, etc.) and address anticipated traffic growth and congestion along Interstate 24.

This study will build upon and expand on the findings and recommendations outlined in the Initial Feasibility Study for Commuter Rail between Clarksville and Nashville prepared in 2008 and determine if different alternatives and solutions should be explored.  A key aspect of the study will also include examining the viability of providing transit service to the Fort Campbell Army Post in northern Montgomery County, Tennessee.

The outcome of this study may not be just one alternative, but a combination of alternatives for the corridor that can be integrated and phased into an overall transit plan encompassing other corridors throughout Middle Tennessee.

The study will include:

  • Identification of existing transportation related problems and deficiencies in the corridor as well as the formulation of project specific issues and goals;
  • Development of longer-term transit improvement options that address and solve the identified problems and deficiencies to address the identified issues and goals;
  • Assessment of impacts and effectiveness of implementing proposed improvements; and 
  • Recommendation of a preferred option(s) for future project development. 

What is the study area?

The study area consists of five corridors with potential accommodations for improved transit service between Clarksville and Nashville, including:

  • The existing Interstate 24 highway corridor, linking Clarksville and downtown Nashville with regional and national connections via the National Highway System (NHS);
  • The existing State Route 12 (Ashland City Highway) highway corridor, connecting downtown Clarksville and downtown Nashville via Ashland City;
  • The existing CSX Transportation and R. J. Corman Railroad Group railway corridor, connecting downtown Clarksville and downtown Nashville via Goodlettsville, Ridgetop, Springfield, Adams, and Guthrie, Kentucky;
  • The Nashville and Western railway corridor, currently operated in part by the Cheatham County Railway Authority (CCRA) between Nashville and Ashland City with former right-of-way (ROW) and partially remaining infrastructure between Clarksville and Ashland City; and

The existing State Route 112 (US Route 41 Alternate) highway corridor, running roughly parallel to and southwest of Interstate 24 and linking downtown Clarksville and downtown Nashville via Pleasant View with regional and national connections via the NHS.

Study Area

Who initiated the study?

In the 2035 Regional Transportation Plan, adopted by the Nashville MPO, the long-range vision calls for the development of a new commuter rail line in the region’s northwest corridor to connect Clarksville and Nashville. Members of the RTA Board are committed to developing this project and it will be key in the continued effort to expand rapid transit in Middle Tennessee. In addition, the RTA is committed to exploring other transit options that could enhance service along the northwest corridor and the overall regional transportation network.

Over the past several years, RTA has been working with local, regional, state and Federal partners to identify corridors and options in those corridors for potential transit investment(s).  This study is part of that on-going process and coincides with the RTA / MTA Strategic Plan. 

Vision Map

What will this study produce?

At the conclusion of this study, the RTA with assistance from its consultant team will prepare a report that documents and summarizes the events of the study, gives pertinent technical and other analyses, documents evaluation results and public comments / feedback, and provides a record of the project.

The document will include a compilation of study area characteristics, identification of potential projects, evaluation of those projects and subsequent recommendation(s) and conclusions for how and when those projects ought to be implemented.  No other funding is available for further project development beyond this study at this time. 

What types of information will the study examine?

The study will focus on the opportunities for incorporating additional transit and multimodal investments in one or more of the identified corridors.  Such things as safety, access, travel time, travel time reliability, number and types of users, costs, impacts and the ability to foster economic development will be examined.  Also, important to the project will be the identification of a viable funding and financing plan for future implementation of the recommendations.

What types of the improvements will the study examine?

This study will examine the need for and feasibility of longer-term transit and multimodal improvements in the corridors.  Examples would be bus and express bus service, bus rapid transit, and various forms of rail transit.  A key component is to compare these options with the existing and future usage of the adjacent interstates and roadways. 

What is the next step after this study?

What happens in the next stage of project development largely depends on the conclusion reached at the end of this study.  If a long-term project is feasible, money will need to be allocated for further evaluation, design, and ultimately for construction.  The project will also assess the competitiveness of a potential project(s) in the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA’s) project development and funding process. 

How do I provide my input?

Citizens and stakeholders may provide input at upcoming public meetings which are being held throughout 2015.  You are also invited to send other written comments or requests for information to the RTA.  Please forward your comments and requests to:

Please remember to reference the RTA Northwest Corridor Transit Study, and include your return address and/or telephone number so we may follow up with you.