Nashville Northeast Corridor Mobility Study

Study Overview 

In the fall of 2007, the Nashville Area MPO initiated the Northeast Corridor Mobility Study to analyze and recommend appropriate transportation improvements with a 30-mile corridor between Nashville and Gallatin.  Recognizing the significance of the Northeast Corridor, this study investigates multimodal solutions to the increasing transportation demand created by locally preferred future land use patterns, and the study recommendations provide options to serve existing and future transportation markets within the context of the greater Nashville area.

Major Findings

To ensure that the mobility needs of the community were addressed, the project team focused on the following issues:

  • How do various growth scenarios inform demand for specific land uses such as residential, office, commercial and retail?
  • What mix of transportation investments will most effectively meet the demand resulting from potential growth scenarios?
  • What is the most appropriate mix of future land uses in the study area that encourage (and maximize the use of) specific transportation modes like bus rapid transit or commuter rail?
  • What potential benefits and costs are there to local, state, and federal governmental entities including transit service providers? 
  • What are the fundamental economic connections among, and associated advantages of, land use planning, real estate development and various transportation-related initiatives such as joint development, transit-oriented development (TOD), transit-adjacent development (TAD), and other mechanisms?

    The team identified a wide range of potential alternatives, and following an in-depth analysis of the alternatives and discussions with the public and community officials, three alternatives were selected for detailed evaluation:

#1 - Commuter Rail along the CSX Corridor

#2 - LRT along Ellington Parkway/SR-386 Corridor

#3 - BRT along the Gallatin Pike (US – 31E) Corridor


The report discusses specific recommendations regarding land use, economic development, urban design, and transportation. Specific short-term actions include:

  • Conduct a robust public education campaign to build support and make sure the entire community understands the benefits of transit
  • Revise land use plans and policies to allow for greater density and transit-supportive mixed land uses
  • Provide economic incentives for private developments that will support transit
  • Leverage federal and local funds creatively to provide infrastructure that will support transitBuild a Bus Rapid Transit System on SR 386/SR 6 that will provide congestion relief, attract transit-supportive development, and build ridership
  • Monitor land uses and transportation patterns and revisit transportation modeling on a regular basis, for example every five years, to evaluate the feasibility and potential competitiveness of a Light Rail Transit System
  • Make the following transportation investments: Express BRT in HOV lanes, Arterial BRT, Local Bus, and Circulator Bus

Regional public officials, stakeholders, and citizens have come together to form a vision for the Northeast Corridor that includes transit that supports and is supported by a variety of choices in housing, employment, shopping, and recreation. Though much work remains to be done, this study provides a critical first step and a guiding framework to making transit a reality in the Northeast Corridor.

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