The US-71 corridor is one of the busiest transit corridors in the region. However, transit service on US-71 is limited to peak service only, and does not extend beyond Kansas City, Missouri. While transit service within the northern part of the corridor is stronger than service in the rest of the region, there is a need for better services throughout this regional corridor. This kind of transit service could help spur the economic development this area needs to become more vibrant and sustainable.
The US-71 Highway/ Bruce R. Watkins Drive Study evaluated how to enhance transit options along the US-71 corridor, starting in downtown Kansas City, Missouri and extending south to Grandview. The study began in summer 2012, and examined various transportation enhancements. Regional rail, streetcars, Bus Rapid Transit, and express bus, along with other options, were all evaluated and vetted.
The purpose of the study was to identify the preferred transit alternative that could best meet current and future transportation needs while also helping to improve sustainability, and support and focus future economic development and revitalization of activity centers along the corridor.
Improved Transit Along US-71/ Bruce R. Watkins Drive
In May of 2013, the project partnership team held a public open house displaying and discussing the results of the extensive, almost year-long study. A long-term vision for rail and supporting bus services in the corridor advanced through a phased approach was adopted by the partnership team and stakeholders. This alternative would include immediate express bus service on US-71/I-49, the development of Bus Rapid Transit on US-71/I-49, and MAX service on Prospect Avenue. The vision for rail includes both continued discussions with local railroads for regional rail service (DMU), along with identifying and developing a fixed-guideway alignment on US-71.
The final recommendations of the US-71 study work with, and integrate into, both previous research and the JCCCAA.