Transit System Redesign

Norfolk Adopts A New Bus Network!

Based on thorough conversations and compromise around competing priorities, Norfolk City Council unanimously adopted a resolution supporting the implementation of the revised new network on November 16, 2021. The recommended changes in this new network were the subject of significant public conversation and discussion with elected officials.

**Implementation of the new bus network has been delayed due to a shortage of bus operators as an ongoing impact from the Covid-10 pandemic. HRT has a robust program in place to recruit and train new drivers to help return to pre-Covid service levels.**

What is the Transit System Redesign? 

Multimodal Norfolk includes a full redesign of the City’s public transportation system that evaluates and recommends important policy related to transit funding and stop spacing. The City examined innovative options to deliver transit service, including micro-transit and other on-demand solutions that will best serve the needs of the City.

For more details on the Transit System Redesign, reference Chapter 11 in the final plan under the Project Resources & Documents page.

Draft New Network

In Round 3 of public and stakeholder engagement, the City and the project team released the Draft New Network and asked the public, stakeholders, and transit riders for feedback about the new design. Read our Draft New Network Report (PDF) to learn more about the recommended changes. 

Over 1,000 survey responses about the Draft New Network were received. While most people preferred the Draft New Network presented in November 2020, many had concerns about the changes and asked for adjustments. A Revised New Network has been made in response to these concerns.

The Revised New Network would have major benefits for most people in Norfolk:

  • The average resident could reach 7,400 additional jobs by walking and transit in 45 minutes. That’s a 23% increase over the Existing Network.
  • The average minority resident could reach 8,600 additional jobs in 45 minutes, a 27% increase over the Existing Network.
  • The average resident in poverty could reach 10,700 more jobs in 45 minutes, a 34% increase over the Existing Network.
  • For employers and retailers, the number of residents that could reach the average job location would increase by 9,200, a 24% increase over the Existing Network.
  • 118,000 more residents would be within ¼ mile of a bus or train that arrives every 15 minutes for most of the day, 48% more than today.
  • 38,000 more jobs would be within ¼ mile of a bus or train that arrives every 15 minutes for most of the day, 18% more than today.

Since this network reallocates service across the city, these benefits do come with some reductions in service in some parts of the city. Overall, about 6,600 residents would be more than ¼ mile from any transit service, about 3% of city residents. In the Existing Network, about 1% of residents are more than ¼ mile from any transit service.

Revised New Network

transit legend Opens in new windowRevised New Network 05-24-2022

The map on the right shows the Revised New Network for Norfolk.

Compared to the Existing Network, there are far more frequent routes covering many more neighborhoods and key destinations

People are more likely to use frequent service (red lines) because a bus or train is usually coming soon. These lines typically offer better night and weekend service, which makes it easier for people to use the bus for all sorts of activities.

This network includes more frequent service along major corridors like Granby Street, Chesapeake Boulevard, Hampton Boulevard, and Campostella Road.

For more detail, you can download a larger map or download a detailed area map of your part of Norfolk here:

Downtown

A key way that the Revised New Network improves access is by making it easier for transit riders to reach downtown, including places like MacArthur Center, Tidewater Community College, and cultural destinations. The maps above compare the Existing Downtown Network and the Revised New Network. In the Existing Network, few bus routes come into the core of downtown, leaving many transit riders a long walk from major destinations. The Revised New Network brings more routes through downtown so that transit riders have easier access to all the jobs, shopping, and opportunities available within downtown Norfolk. 

The new network also through-routes buses, so that more riders can make trips across the city without having to transfer. For example, someone coming from Norview on the new Route 2 could ride directly through downtown to reach Old Dominion University on Hampton Boulevard. Similarly, someone coming from Campostella and wanting to go to Wards Corner, could ride through downtown without transferring.

Implementation of the New Network

Making such a significant change to the bus network requires careful planning and coordination between the City and HRT to prepare for and implement the new network. In most communities that implement a major network, the actual changing of routes happens on a single day. However, a great deal of planning and effort goes into that transition. Key steps in the implementation of the new network include:

  • Development of new schedules
  • Designate new bus stop locations
  • Final Title VI Analysis
  • Update existing stations and stops with new route information
  • Marketing and Communications

Long-Term NetworkNorfolk 2030 Network Opens in new window

In 2020, the Virginia General Assembly passed legislation creating the new Hampton Roads Regional Transit Fund. This new funding source will allow Hampton Roads Transit to invest in higher frequency service on its "Regional Backbone" routes which include existing Routes 1, 2, 3, 8, 15, 20, and 21.

Under the Revised New Network, Routes 15, 20, and 21 are largely unchanged and the City expects that new or revised Routes 1, 2, and 8 would qualify as "Regional Backbone" routes and qualify for the regional funding to support more frequent service.

Building off the regional funding and continuing City investment, the bus network in Norfolk would drastically improve over the next 10 years, with a total increase in service levels of nearly 40%. This expanded and more frequent transit network would vastly expand access to opportunity for Norfolk residents and support a more vibrant economy for the city.

Existing Network

transit legend Norfolk_Existing Network_20200612 for web Opens in new window

The map on the right shows the existing Norfolk transit network.

The color of each line tells you the maximum wait for that bus or train, on a weekday. For example, on a blue line, a bus comes every 30 minutes. On a light blue line, a bus comes only once every 60 minutes.

People are more likely to use frequent service (red lines) because a bus or train is usually coming soon. These lines typically offer better night and weekend service, which makes it easier for people to use the bus for all sorts of activities.

But the only frequent line during midday is The Tide. Most routes come every 30 or 60 minutes during the day on weekdays. Some routes come more frequently during rush hour. For more detail, you can download a larger map or read our Concepts Report (PDF) to learn more about the existing network. 

Have questions or want to provide comments?

Email if you have questions about this new bus network or have comments to share.