Southeast Corridor High-Performance Transit Alternatives Study

Study Overview

The Nashville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) completed the Southeast Corridor High-Performance Transit Alternatives Study in August of 2007. The study looked at potential transit systems that could be built in the corridor between Nashville and Murfreesboro.

The Southeast Corridor High Performance Transit Alternatives Study has considered all high performance transit alternatives that could address the problems within the corridor. With public input throughout the process, the study has compared the cost and benefits of many possible alternatives to determine a transit solution that includes both short-term and long-term recommendations.

Major Findings

A purpose and need statement was prepared by the study’s steering committee in order to identify the needs of the corridor. The following needs were identified:

• Provide Transportation Options 
• Improve Mobility 
• Establish Efficient Land Use Policies / Compact Development
• Address Environmental Concerns  
• Use Limited Transportation Funding Efficiently

The study corridor included the region’s largest employment destinations: downtown Nashville, the Vanderbilt-West End area adjacent to downtown Nashville, and downtown Murfreesboro. Other destinations within the corridor include Nashville Airport, Dell, Interchange City, Starwood Amphitheater, Nissan plant, Treveca Nazarene University, Middle Tennessee State University, and the downtowns of LaVergne and Smyrna. 

The goals and objectives guided the project and determined what types of measures should be used to evaluate the many types of transit technologies.

Goal 1: Provide longer-distance travelers in the Southeast Corridor with alternatives to driving private vehicles in heavily-congested traffic conditions.
Goal 2: Promote efficient land use and development patterns in Nashville/Davidson County and the Rutherford County communities in the Southeast Corridor Study Area.
Goal 3: Improve and Enhance Economic Development and Employment Opportunities and Expand Access to Jobs.
Goal 4: Preserve the Natural and Social Environment.
Goal 5: Develop a Cost-Effective Transportation System Improvement Strategy that Maximizes Community Consensus and Institutional Support.
Goal 6: Develop a Strategic Part of a Multi-Modal Transportation System that would Facilitate the Development of an Integrated Regional Multi-Modal System.

An initial screening of these six alternatives was completed by evaluating the characteristics of each alternative with regards to the goals of the project study. These initial alternatives selected were:
• I-24 BRT
• I-24 Light Rail
• CSX Light Rail
• CSX Commuter Rail
• Murfreesboro Road Light Rail
• Murfreesboro Road BRT 


The Locally Preferred Alternative selected for the corridor is a phased implementation of packages of relatively low-cost transit improvements. This alternative, also known as Transportation System Management (TSM) or Enhanced Bus, proposes new and expanded bus service along two of the alignments in the corridor, I-24 and Murfreesboro Road. The LPA also proposes a limited number of infrastructure improvements to increase efficiency of the system. These improvements are to be phased in three stages over a 25 year period.

Short-term improvements (1 to 5 year period):
Improvements proposed for the short-term are aimed at expanding bus service in the corridor and include new express bus service on both I-24 and Murfreesboro Road alignments serving Smyrna, LaVergne and Murfreesboro. 

Mid-Term Improvements (5 to 10 years):
Improvements proposed for the mid-term include adding local circulators in LaVergne and Smyrna, introduction of local bus service between Murfreesboro and Bell Road, and construction of queue jump facilities to allow buses to bypass traffic at key I-24 interchanges. Other mid-term improvements include constructing “station” stops at key bus stops along the corridor, to serve “skip stop” express bus service and to provide a focus for future transit oriented development and further expanded high capacity transit beyond 2030. 

Long-term improvements (10-25 years):
Long term improvements in the corridor concentrate on infrastructure improvements to maintain or increase transit efficiency in the corridor. Improvements proposed include the completion of the station stop construction program, the construction of single lane busways in identified congestion areas, and the construction of more queue jump facilities at selected intersections. 





  • Southeast Corridor High-Performance Transit Alternatives Study

Completion Date

  • 2007


  • ICF Consulting

Study Partners

  • Nashville Area MPO
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