Emerald Express (EmX)
Emerald Express (EmX)
|Garage||3500 East 17th Avenue Eugene, OR 97401-0470|
|Predecessors||Route 11 Thurston (still in operation from Springfield Station eastbound to Thurston)|
The Emerald Express (EmX) is a bus rapid transit (BRT) system in the Eugene-Springfield metropolitan area in Oregon, United States. It is provided by the Lane Transit District (LTD) which is the public transit authority in Lane County, Oregon.
LTD chose bus rapid transit after a review process in which several transportation options, including light rail, were considered. It was decided that the BRT option was the best fit for Eugene-Springfield's size and current transportation needs.
The route (the Green Line) was opened in early 2007, connecting downtown Springfield to downtown Eugene. There are ten stops along the four-mile route, including the University of Oregon.
Less than a year later, ridership had doubled in the corridor, and the city of Eugene was nominated for the 2008 Sustainable Transportation Award, and received an honorable mention. An extension was opened on January 9, 2011, connecting EmX to the Gateway Mall as well as Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend and International Way.
The EmX system is made up of sections of dedicated bus lanes for most of the route (60%), with normal roads in between. The vehicles are given signal priority via ground-loop signaling to the traffic control system, with special traffic signals at intersections. The vehicles have two sets of doors on the left and three on the right, allowing loading from platforms on either side. Most of the right hand side platforms can only accommodate the rear two doors. Riding the Emerald Express was free when it began operations, but now costs regular fare. The vehicles are equipped with continuously variable transmission which allows for quick but smooth acceleration from stops and through the various road segments.
On weekdays, service runs approximately from 6:00am to 11:00pm. Buses arrive every 10 minutes throughout the day, with longer headways during the evening and the first hour of the morning. More limited service operates during the weekend.
In the first month of operation buses had trouble with the signal priority system; buses had to achieve careful positioning to communicate with the signaling loop, and light priority was not always immediate. Early tests of the system caused the light control systems to crash when signal priority was requested, resulting in blinking reds in all directions until an engineer could reset the terminal. LTD worked with the control software vendor to iron out the bugs.
The cost to ride EmX is the same as other LTD bus routes. Unlike other bus routes the EmX line uses a Proof-of-payment system. Riders must purchase a ticket using the ticket machines located at each station before boarding the bus. On the bus a representative of LTD may ask to see your ticket as proof of purchase. Previously purchased day passes are valid on EmX for that day. Single ride tickets must be used within 30 minutes of purchase.
The first line of EmX, the Franklin Corridor (or EmX Green Line), began service on January 14, 2007. It runs from Eugene Station in downtown Eugene to the Springfield Station in downtown Springfield, and also serves the University of Oregon. Local artist Linn Cook was selected by a committee of artists and community members to create cast and formed metal railings depicting indigenous plants. Each station features a different plant.
The Green line is four miles long and cost $25 million to design and build. The Green Line replaced Route 11 along the corridor. Rush hour travel times were reduced from 22 minutes down to 16 minutes, about 27%. Ridership doubled in the corridor in the first year. For fiscal 2008-2009 ridership was 1,592,122 boardings over 17,583 bus-hours, or an average of 91 boardings for a bus on the road for one hour.
The route goes along the newly constructed Pioneer Parkway corridor and beyond that to dedicated bus lanes that were integrated into Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway and RiverBend Drive during the construction of those roads. Service started on January 9, 2011. This 7.8 mile extension links downtown Springfield to Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend. Gateway Station has been completed. LTD eventually plans to run EmX along all main transportation corridors in the metro area.
Future West Eugene extension
LTD is currently in the process of planning an expansion of EmX's service into the West Eugene area, connecting it to downtown Eugene and Springfield. Construction will begin in late 2014 with opening scheduled for 2017. The agency finalized the planned route in 2011, after conducting environmental analyses and collecting public comment. A number of route alignments were considered, focusing on West 6th, 7th, or 13th Avenues to connect with West 11th Avenue somewhere near Chambers or Garfield Streets. One alternative places service on West 7th Place instead of West 11th Avenue between Garfield and Seneca Rd. All alternatives continue down West 11th Avenue to a planned terminus and turnaround in the Walmart parking lot west of Commerce Street. In spring of 2011 LTD along with other agencies decided that the west 6th and 7th to 11th was the locally preferred alternative.
Some local businesses and residents that oppose extending EmX service to West Eugene say that it would be expensive, unnecessary, and could cause a decrease in property values. In June, 2013, opponents of expanded EmX service filed suit in federal court in Seattle challenging Federal Transit Administration approval and funding of additional EmX construction. The suit alleged nine violations of the National Environmental Policy Act and alleged violations of the Administrative Procedure Act. The suit further claimed that the Lane Transit District had not met requirements for federal funding. The court has ruled against Our Money Our Transit in July 2014.
|EmX Green Line|
|Eugene||C||10th Ave at Olive St||LTD Bus Station, Platform T|
|High Street||M||10th Ave at High St (Outbound only), 11th Ave at High Street (Inbound only)|
|Hilyard||M||11th Ave at Hilyard St||Sacred Heart Medical Center University District|
|Dads' Gates||M||11th Ave at Old Campus Lane||University of Oregon, West end of Campus|
|Agate||M||Franklin Blvd at Agate St||At East end of University of Oregon Campus|
|Walnut||M||Franklin Blvd at Walnut St|
|Glenwood||C||Franklin Blvd at Glenwood Blvd||Separate eastbound and westbound curbside platforms on opposite sides of the street|
|Lexington||C||Franklin Blvd at Lexington Ave||Separate eastbound and westbound curbside platforms on opposite sides of the street|
|McVay||M||Franklin Blvd at Main St|
|Springfield||C||S A St. at Pioneer Pkwy E||LTD Bus Station, Platforms F and G|
|E Street||C||Pioneer Pkwy W at E St||Southbound|
|F Street||C||Pioneer Pkwy E at F St||Northbound|
|Centennial||M||Pioneer Pkwy at Centennial Blvd|
|Q Street||M||Pioneer Pkwy at Q St|
|Hayden Bridge||M||Pioneer Pkwy at Hayden Bridge Way|
|RiverBend||M||Martin Luther King Jr Pkwy at RiverBend Dr|
|Sacred Heart||M||RiverBend Dr at Cardinal Way||Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend|
|International Way East||M||International Way|
|Maple Island||M||International Way at Maple Island Farm Rd, AKA International Center Station|
|International Way West||M||International Way||Symantec Corporation|
|Kruse Way||C||Gateway St at Kruse Way||Separate northbound and southbound curbside platforms on opposite sides of the street|
|Postal Way||C||Gateway St at Postal Way||Separate northbound and southbound curbside platforms on opposite sides of the street|
|Gateway||C||West side of Gateway St., south of Oakdale Ave.||LTD Bus Station at Gateway Mall|
|Guy Lee||C||Harlow Rd at Guy Lee Park||Separate northbound and southbound curbside platforms on opposite sides of the street|
|Pheasant||C||Harlow Rd at Pheasant Blvd||Separate northbound and southbound curbside platforms on opposite sides of the street|
|Type Code: C = Curbside station or M = Median station|
- "London, Paris Edge Out Guatemala City, Guatemala; Eugene, Oregon; and Pereira, Colombia for 2008 Sustainable Transport Award", by Environmental Defense staff, Reuters News Service, Jan. 14, 2008
- 101 "EmX Green Line" (schedule), ltd.org, retrieved 6-29-09
- retrieved 11-28-2012
- RideSource “Free Fare” Zone Created by EmX
- "EmX History". Lane Transit District. Retrieved 2009-04-08.
- Eugene, Oregon EmX, BRT Policy Center
- "EmX FAQ, ltd.org, retrieved 9-1-2010
- "Gateway Station Dedication", Lane Transit District, May 13, 2009, retrieved May 17, 2009
- "West Eugene EmX Extension Project Schedule". Lane Transit District. Retrieved 2010-08-16.
- "Project Concept Maps". Lane Transit District. Retrieved 2010-08-16.
- "Concerns". Our Money Our Transit. Retrieved June 23, 2013.
- Bolt, Greg (June 23, 2013). "Foes sue to stop EmX growth". The Register-Guard (Eugene, Oregon: Guard Publishing Co.). pp. B1. Retrieved June 23, 2013.
- Hill, Christian (July 18, 2014). "Challenge to bus line dismissed". The Register-Guard (Eugene, Oregon: Guard Publishing Co.). Retrieved October 24, 2014.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Emerald Express (EmX).|
- Lane Transit District official website with description of project
- Federal Transit Administration description of the project
- Bus Rapid Transit Policy Center description and evaluation of the project
- Our Money, Our Transit, website that opposes West Eugene extension.