Another Point for Light Rail in HR

15 04 2009

I once read a comment on an article about our new light rail that said something to the effect that we shouldn’t compare ourselves to Charlotte, NC because it is not the same situation. I finally found the right statistic to refute that and to show why Hampton Roads is already doing better than Charlotte.


  • Hampton Roads = 1.65
  • Charlotte MSA = 1.70

Population Density:

  • Hampton Roads = 425 persons/sq. mile
  • Charlotte MSA = 500 person/sq. mile

Now, you might be tempted to think that their higher population and density contributed to their having 181% of their first year projected ridership. I’m sure that has contributed to the large ridership, but consider this:

Total Commuters:

  • Hampton Roads = 795,343
  • Charlotte MSA = 801,778

Percent of Commuters using Public Transportation excluding Taxis:

  • Hampton Roads = 1.86
  • Charlotte MSA = 1.75

In other words, despite their larger population and larger number of commuters, Hampton Roads has a larger percentage of commuters using public transit. Charlotte also faced a large number of cost-overruns and delays and even a referendum to reject the half-cent transportation sales tax (tax funds mass transit in the region). The referendum would have essentially killed all future Charlotte Light Rail. Fortunately, despite a large amount of public outcry against the project, the referendum failed by 70%.

Hampton Roads can do this. Even more-so if the Beach gets on board. I do think that Norfolk needs to look at a larger parking deck for the Newtown Road Station. Charlotte’s end-of-the-line 1,120 space deck fills up by 8:15 AM.




6 responses

15 04 2009

Pleasantly surprising that HR has more people using public transportation than Charlotte. Leaders should use this as a push for LR even more. The only thing I’m worried about is a referendum in Va Beach and the rural minded old timers voting against LR. I’m sure that won’t happen though. 🙂

15 04 2009


now even though referendum may not happen according to some sources, i feel that if is/does council along with the mayor should push the positives of light rail to really show how it helps. what better way to do that then by showing how well the starter line does in 2010 ; )

15 04 2009

sry for the bad grammar

16 04 2009

you have got to let me re-post your stats on the HRP Blog,! Great info!

16 04 2009
Russell Manning

absolutely. any time.

20 04 2009

This is great info. It’s surprising to see how fast that deck in Charlotte fills up. Hope it turns out that way for HR.

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