October 23, 2015

CT Fastrak firm honored for shepherding project

Contributed photo
Contributed photo
A CTfastrak bus at the New Britain station.

Michael Baker International, an engineering, consulting, planning, technical and professional services firm with offices in Rocky Hill, has been honored for its work in shepherding CTfastrak to completion. The accolade came from the Congress for New Urbanism New England Chapter.

The award spotlighted the firm's design and construction of the nine-and-a-half mile busway, one of the longest bus rapid transit lines in the country. It runs from New Britain to Hartford. The region's first dedicated mass transit system in more than 50 years, CTfastrak carries more than 16,500 weekday riders each day, and is designed to reduce traffic congestion and shorten commute times for commuters.

The bus service cost $570 million in federal and state funds to build. In September, the state Bond Commission approved a $7 million expansion, using existing HOV lanes, into Manchester. Recently the transit program has come under fire for significant operating overruns. The new service was expected to need an annual subsidy of $10 million. That number has since been adjusted to $17.5 million.

Michael Baker's plan included a bus-only roadway with minimal stops, a system foroff-board fare collections to reduce rider backup and seamlessly allow commuters to enter and exit the buses. During construction, the Michael Baker team helped to commission CTfastrak through ridership forecasts, bus schedule development, information technology implementation, and safety and security management.

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