Brio Transforms El Paso Transportation

By Margaret Schroeder, P.E., M.ASCE and Chris Masters, P.E.

Like many cities, El Paso, Texas, once had a streetcar system serving walkable neighborhoods. However, decades of sprawling development, low-density subdivisions, and strip malls created a development pattern that was no longer conducive to efficient public transportation. In 2006, Sun Metro, El Paso’s mass transit department, charted a new course to reinvent its public transportation system. To this end, the city contracted with First Transit, Inc. to manage Sun Metro and modernize its transit systems.

Within a year, Sun Metro’s ridership increased by almost 8 percent. Two years later, Sun Metro received the “Outstanding Metropolitan System” Award from the Texas Transit Association. But Sun Metro didn’t rest on its laurels. To further improve transportation options in El Paso, the agency, in 2008, started planning and implementing a new rapid transit service (RTS) system.

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