Valley to Mountain Alternatives Analysis

Together, Summit County and Park City, along with several other project partners including the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT), Utah Transit Authority (UTA), Salt Lake City Corporation (SLC), and the Wasatch Front Regional Council (WFRC) are conducting a study to evaluate the transportation connections between the Salt Lake Valley and the greater Park City area. The study is funded by Mountain Accord.

Initially, the study will focus on SR-224 between Kimball Junction and Park City, and will identify and compare the costs, benefits, and impacts of a range of transit alternatives in an effort to reduce the number of cars on SR-224 and lower the carbon footprint – while maintaining a small town feel without widening roads.

An Alternative Analysis (AA) is a transit planning study, and is a local planning process with flexibility to tailor to multiple corridors. It develops and evaluates transit alternatives, and identifies a Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA).

The scoping comment period is now closed. Check back for future public input opportunities.

Study Timeline

Purpose & Need

Mid to Late 2016

 
Identification of Alternatives

Late 2016

 
Preliminary Environmental Analysis

Early to Mid 2017

 
Alternatives Evaluation

Mid 2017

 
Identification & Selection of Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA)

Fall 2017

 

Study Area

Purpose & Need

The purpose of the project is to:

  • Increase person throughput capacity on SR-224 during peak periods (seasonal, daily peak, and special events) while avoiding excessive road widening
  • Improve the quality and reliability of transit service along the SR-224 corridor to promote the use of transit and active transportation while de-emphasizing single-occupant-vehicle trips
  • Increase the attractiveness of transit by introducing priority express service in the SR-224 corridor
  • Support healthy communities, best environmental practices, and the sustainability goals of the community
  • Develop an alternative that fits the character and scale of the community and is environmentally and aesthetically acceptable to the public
  • Complement local and regional remote parking
  • Provide a transit investment that meets today’s needs and has the ability to expand for future growth.
  • Support local land use goals and concentrated development by connecting economic nodes
  • Provide a competitive transit alternative to the automobile in the SR-224 corridor

The project purpose would address the following needs:

  • Transportation improvements are needed in the project area to support existing and projected travel demands that are resulting from continuing growth in population and employment, increased land use densities, and exceptional and consistent tourist travel.
  • SR-224 experiences traffic congestion during peak weekday hours and on weekends throughout the year and experiences high levels of congestion for extended periods every weekend, regardless of the season.
  • The project partners wish to address existing deficiencies in both the transit infrastructure and transit service (coverage, reliability, frequency, access, and performance) to improve the attractiveness and effectiveness of the transit system so that travelers increasingly choose it over auto travel.
  • The feasibility of adding significant capacity to SR-224 that supports single-occupancy vehicles is doubtful because of environmental and public policy constraints coupled with decreasing availability of parking in and around Park City. Furthermore, widening SR-224 is in direct conflict with Summit County’s and Park City’s long-range plans.
  • Mobility on SR-224 is primarily focused on automobiles, with a comparatively slow and infrequent transit option.
  • There is a lack of robust and prominent transit service to support adopted transit-oriented development land use policies.
  • Much of the SR-224 corridor is rich in natural resources that the project partners wish to protect. The Park City area is a national and international resort destination. The largest impact on the Wasatch Back is a large amount of visitor and auto traffic. Thus, a transportation solution that can consolidate a portion of these trips or provide a direct transit connection between attractions along SR-224 can reduce auto traffic, help preserve natural resources, and help improve the quality of life for both residents and visitors. In addition, being able to provide that connection without widening highways maintains the project partners’ goal of protecting Park City’s resources and small-town feel.

Technology Options

Hybrid Electric Bus Rapid Transit

Typical Speed Vehicle Capacity Stop Spacing Cost Corridor Width Power Supply
Typical Speed Vehicle Capacity Stop Spacing Cost Corridor Width Power Supply or

Hybrid Electric Bus Rapid Transit systems typically include dedicated lanes for bus travel, transit signal priority, and articulated or higher capacity buses. The bus stations are similar to that of a light rail transit system. A combination of hybrid electric technology or full electric buses are used for lower emissions. The battery recharging is accomplished with a connection to a charging system on-route or at garage facilities.

Rapid Streetcar/Light Rail Transit

Typical Speed Vehicle Capacity Stop Spacing Cost Corridor Width Power Supply
Typical Speed Vehicle Capacity Stop Spacing Cost Corridor Width Power Supply or

Rapid streetcar/Light Rail Transit is a medium-capacity, higher speed service applicable in both urban and suburban settings. It operates on steel rails and is powered by electricity from an overhead wire, although non-overhead wire battery options are becoming popular as well. Light Rail Transit operates in an exclusive right-of-way but are typically heavier and have a larger capacity. A variation of Light Rail Transit is the Advanced Rapid Transit, a driverless system powered by a third rail. However, Light Rail Transit can run at a higher speed, and has wider required vertical and horizontal turning radii.

Aerial Transit (Tram/Gondola)

Typical Speed Vehicle Capacity Stop Spacing Cost Corridor Width Power Supply
Typical Speed Vehicle Capacity Stop Spacing Cost Corridor Width Power Supply

Aerial tram vehicles are supported by a fixed cable and transported by a moving cable. They are typically used in areas of steep terrain. Gondolas differ from trams in that they run continuously in a circulating system, slowing (but never stopping) at stations. Compared to gondolas, aerial trams provide lower line capacities, higher wait times, and are unable to turn corners.

Automated Guideway Transit - Personal Rapid Transit & Group Rapid Transit

Typical Speed Vehicle Capacity Stop Spacing Cost Corridor Width Power Supply
Typical Speed Vehicle Capacity Stop Spacing Cost Corridor Width Power Supply

Automated Guideway Transit consists of automated driverless vehicles that operate on their own exclusive fixed guideway and are often elevated above the ground on steel or concrete columns. They can run along or adjacent to steel rights-of-way and over structures. Speed, spacing and other functions of Automated Guideway Transit are automatically controlled and can provide both schedules or on-demand service to stations dependent on need. Personal Rapid Transit vehicles typically carry three to six passengers while Group Rapid Transit vehicles are larger and intended to move blocks of riders with common origins and destinations.

Monorail

Typical Speed Vehicle Capacity Stop Spacing Cost Corridor Width Power Supply
Typical Speed Vehicle Capacity Stop Spacing Cost Corridor Width Power Supply

A monorail system consists of self-propelled vehicles that are supported and guided by a single, elevated guideway beam or rail. Vehicles are typically linked, run on rubber tires, and receive electrical power for propulsion and vehicle operation from the fixed guideway. A straddle-beam design is most widely used and consists of a series of smaller tires clamped around the beam, providing general stability and helping to guide the carriages. Most modern monorails are powered by electric motors fed by dual third rails and contact wires.

High Speed Rail

Typical Speed Vehicle Capacity Stop Spacing Cost Corridor Width Power Supply
Typical Speed Vehicle Capacity Stop Spacing Cost Corridor Width Power Supply

High Speed Rail

High Speed Rail is a type of passenger transport that operates significantly faster than traditional rail traffic – 150 to 220 MPH trains. High Speed Rail alignments typically consist of two tracks and must be grade separated. Almost all high-speed lines are electrically driven via overhead cables. High Speed Rail stations are typically spaced 10 miles apart or greater.

Several technologies fall under the High Speed Rail category including Rapid Rail Transit, MAGLEV and Hyperloop.

High Speed Rail: Rapid Rail Transit

Rapid Rail Transit is a conventional steel rail based technology that features vehicles 50 to 75 feet in length, without articulations, that can be combined into long trains operating at high speeds. Power is usually obtained from overhead wires or third rail. This technology is similar to the service being planned by the California High Speed Rail Authority.

High Speed Rail: Magnetic Levitation (MAGLEV)

MAGLEV is a technology that keeps a vehicle vertically separated from its running surface, and is guided and propelled by repulsive or attractive magnetic force. Trains hover above tracks or guideways and run at speeds of 300 MPH. MAGLEV vehicles require an exclusive running-way for the entire length of its route. MAGLEV stations are typically spaced every 2 to 10 miles apart. Low speed MAGLEV (~60 MPH) are currently being tested.

High Speed Rail: Hyperloop

Hyperloop is a system that uses electric propulsion to accelerate a passenger vehicle through a tube in a low pressure environment. The autonomous vehicle levitates slightly above the track and glides at faster-than-airline speeds over long distances. Hyperloop is currently still in testing phases.

OPTIONS SUMMARY

Option Typical Speed Vehicle Capacity Stop Spacing Cost Corridor Width Power Supply
Hybrid Electric Bus Rapid Transit or
Rapid Streetcar/Light Rail Transit or
Aerial Transit (Tram/Gondola)
Automated Guideway Transit - Personal Rapid Transit & Group Rapid Transit
Monorail
High Speed Rail