RALEIGH – The LYNX Blue Line Extension Light Rail Project of the Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) was chosen as the winner of the inaugural N.C. Department of Transportation Mobi Award in the urban category, presented today at a luncheon on the N.C. State Centennial Campus in Raleigh.
Winners were chosen in five categories including rural, suburban, urban, tourism, and innovation. The purpose of the awards is to honor towns, cities, and counties for multimodal projects that have had a transformational impact on and changed the landscape of communities.
“Our transportation system must be designed to meet the complex needs of the rapidly growing population of North Carolina," said Transportation Secretary Jim Trogdon, who presented the awards along with NCDOT Deputy Secretary for Multimodal Transportation Julie White. “The North Carolina Department of Transportation is committed to designing and delivering projects communities want, need and will use", added Trogdon. NCDOT Mobi Awards celebrate communities that are at the forefront of delivering multimodal projects. We are proud to partner with these communities to deliver these projects."
The Blue Line Extension added 9.3 miles of rail, 11 new light rail stations, and 3,100 parking spaces. It spans from Center City Charlotte to UNC Charlotte Main Station and added an additional four miles of road improvements, eight miles of bicycle facilities, 10 miles of pedestrian accommodations, and one mile of double-track freight rail improvements, all while incorporating artistic features into walls, bridges, bike racks, and station shelters for additional aesthetic enhancements.
This light rail extension has enhanced the lives of its residents and businesses and spurred economic development. By adding additional public transportation options and reducing traffic congestion, pollution, and crashes on the city's roadways, it has provided health benefits and monetary savings to citizens while giving them greater access and connectivity to the community. The project has added 8,000 new jobs and procured $970 million in private real estate, housing, and commercial developments.
Although the budget for the project was over $1 billion and had an aggressive timeline, the project finished under budget and on time. The additional projected ridership in 2035 is approximately 24,600 average weekday trips.
Honorable mentions in the urban category included the following:
- City of Charlotte (Intermodal Facility)
- French Broad River MPO (Craven Street Transportation Improvements)
- City of Raleigh (Raleigh Union Station)
The Mobi Awards event was hosted by NCDOT, Women Transportation Seminars, N.C. Go!, and N.C. State University Institute for Transportation Research and Education.
To view videos of the first-place winners, visit https://connect.ncdot.gov/mobi.