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S P EC I A L A DV E R TI S I N G S EC T I O N

[ CAPITAL AREA TRANSIT SYSTEM ] Transportation industry going through a revolution THE CAPITAL AREA TRANSIT SYSTEM has grown from a small bus company with a few local routes to a key player in providing transportation solutions for the growing Baton Rouge community. This expanding role is evident in CATS’ recent efforts to ease traffic congestion, support regional economic development and facilitate transitoriented development. In 2019, CATS, through the cityparish and along with Build Baton Rouge, received a $15 million discretionary federal grant to establish a nine-mile bus rapid transit (BRT) corridor from Plank Road in north Baton Rouge through downtown to LSU. Funded through the Federal Transit Administration’s Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) program, with additional funding for the $42 million plan from other sources, the Plank-Nicholson project will provide a high-capacity line featuring enhanced transit stations with real-time information. “This will be a first-class BRT route, with electric buses, level boarding, signal-light prioritizing, ride- and bike-share capabilities, and other amenities,” says CEO Bill Deville. The project—the first BRT scheme in Louisiana—will improve mobility between neighborhoods, employment centers and major destinations. The project also will lead to development along the route. “BRT can spark investment and revitalize communities through transitoriented development,” Deville says. “It will improve mobility and connectivity

while encouraging development, such as supermarkets, retailers and health services.” Improvements to CATS’ facilities and fleet will help address congestion and transit wait times while contributing to more sustainable travel. CATS recently introduced three zero-emission electric buses, with three more to be delivered in 2020. “As a result of a study on alternative fuel options commissioned by the board, we’re converting to electric buses,” says CATS board president Mark Bellue. “This will reduce both our fuel costs and our environmental footprint, benefiting passengers as well as our community as a whole.” Electric buses will be phased in until CATS has a complete fleet.

The agency also operates Touchdown Express, providing service to LSU and Southern University home football games from locations across Baton Rouge, eliminating thousands of cars from the city’s roads on game days. By introducing four transit hubs, the agency has improved travel times. Eighty percent of bus routes have a headway— the time between buses at stops along a route—of less than 30 minutes during peak times, a significant improvement from 10 percent a few years ago. The four hubs, including those on Airline Highway and at Cortana, will facilitate transit-oriented development, thus encouraging economic development. The transit centers will have first mile/last mile connectivity and access to ride- and bike-share options.

The transit agency is also introducing a microtransit pilot project for fixed-route service in north Baton Rouge. The service uses smaller vehicles to pick up passengers who request trips through an app, enabling CATS to reach people who don’t have transit service. CATS also supports the community by partnering with Top Box Foods through the mayor’s Healthy BR initiative to provide food to residents living in areas with limited access to healthy food resources. Additionally, CATS staff volunteered their time to provide shuttle service for the annual Thanksgiving Day luncheon hosted by St. Vincent de Paul. As CATS enhances its services and facilities and considers the relocation and expansion of its headquarters, the agency is increasing partnerships with community organizations. For example, CATS is working with the Baton Rouge Area Foundation’s bikeshare program, BREC’s Baton Rouge Zoo and Greenwood Community Park projects, and the Baton Rouge Housing Authority’s HUD Grant/ Ardenwood Village project. CATS also is exploring connectivity with outlying parishes, which could enhance regional workforce development. Ultimately, CATS is planning for a seamless transportation experience. “With technology and other improvements, transportation is going through a revolution,” Deville says. “With investment and collaboration, we’re planning for the future of Baton Rouge.”

AT A GLANCE PRIMARY PRODUCT/SERVICE: Regional transit authority for Baton Rouge, providing fixed route and paratransit service TOP EXECUTIVES: William J. “Bill” Deville, CEO; Dwana Williams, COO; and Pearlina Thomas, CAO YEAR FOUNDED: 1970 • PHONE: 225.389.8920 • WEBSITE: brcats.com 48

ANNUAL REPORT 2020 | AnnualReportBR.com

Profile for Baton Rouge Business Report

Baton Rouge Business Report's 2020 Annual Report  

Read about the successes of Capital Region companies in this special advertising publication from Baton Rouge Business Report.

Baton Rouge Business Report's 2020 Annual Report  

Read about the successes of Capital Region companies in this special advertising publication from Baton Rouge Business Report.

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