TRAX (light rail)
|Transit Express (TRAX)
Utah Transit Authority's light rail
TRAX train at Gallivan Plaza
|Owner||Utah Transit Authority|
|Locale||Salt Lake Valley|
|Transit type||Light rail|
|Number of lines||3|
|Number of stations||50 open
3 under construction
|Began operation||December 4, 1999|
|Number of vehicles||23 Siemens SD-100 LRVs
17 Siemens SD-160 LRVs
29 UTDC (former Santa Clara VTA cars)
77 Siemens S70
|System length||41.3 mi (66.5 km)
44.8 mi (72.1 km) by 2013
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge|
|Electrification||750 V DC, Overhead lines|
TRAX is a three-line light rail system in Utah's Salt Lake Valley, serving Salt Lake City and several of its suburbs throughout Salt Lake County. Its full official name is Transit Express, though this name is very rarely used. The system is operated by the Utah Transit Authority (UTA). All TRAX trains are powered by overhead electrical wires.
As of 2013 TRAX has three lines in service. The Blue Line provides service from Downtown Salt Lake City to Sandy (extended to Draper beginning in August 2013). The Red Line provides service from the University of Utah to the Daybreak Community of South Jordan. The Green Line provides service from Salt Lake City International Airport to West Valley City.
All of UTA's TRAX and FrontRunner trains and stations, as well as all fixed route buses, are compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act and are therefore accessible to those with disabilities. Signage at the stations, on the passenger platforms, and on the trains clearly indicate accessibility options. Ramps on the passenger platform and assistance from the train operator may be necessary for wheelchair boarding on Blue Line (weekdays only). These ramps are not used on weekends or on the Red or Green lines. In accordance with the Utah Clean Air Act and UTA ordinance, "smoking is prohibited on UTA vehicles as well as UTA bus stops, TRAX stations, and FrontRunner stations".
The first line, running from downtown Salt Lake City south to Sandy, was completed in 1999. The second line from downtown to the University of Utah was completed in 2001 and extended in 2003. An extension to the Salt Lake City Intermodal Hub was completed in April 2008. In August 2011, two extensions to South Jordan and West Valley City were completed. Plans called for two additional TRAX extensions to the Salt Lake City International Airport (which opened April 14, 2013) and Draper (to open August 2013). The extensions to South Jordan, West Valley City, Draper, and the Airport were funded in part by a Salt Lake County sales tax increase that would pay for all four of the proposed TRAX extensions. A letter of intent signed with the Federal Transit Administration on September 24, 2007 secured the remaining funding for the light rail lines.
Both the University Line and its extension to the University Medical Center were completed ahead of schedule. A daily ridership of 15,000 was expected for the initial 15-mile (24 km) line in 1999. By the beginning of 2008, the expanded system of 17.5 miles (28.2 km) served an estimated 40,000 passengers each day. Ridership for the fourth quarter of 2012 was reported to be at 60,600, making it the ninth-busiest light rail system in the country.
Light rail in the Salt Lake Valley was first seriously discussed in the late 1980s to provide an alternative to traffic congestion on I-15, but the idea was met with much criticism. On October 10, 1988, Congress approved $5 million in funds to preserve land along the proposed light rail corridor. Funding for the light rail line itself, however, remained uncertain. After Salt Lake City won the bid for the 2002 Winter Olympics in 1995, UTA used the city's host status to accelerate obtaining funding through the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). Construction began in 1997. Protesters at the groundbreaking insisted that light rail would be both dangerous and a waste of money. Public opinion remained divided and businesses on Main Street in downtown Salt Lake City suffered during the construction period.
After the north-south line opened in late 1999 with sixteen stations, ridership expectations were quickly met. The system was enthusiastically embraced by valley residents, to the surprise of many, and once-skeptical communities soon began clamoring for extensions.
Funding for the University Line to Rice-Eccles Stadium allowed it to be completed in 2001 with four new stations, ahead of schedule and the Olympics. An extension to the University Medical Center that added three new stations was completed on September 29, 2003, fifteen months ahead of schedule. An infill station at 900 South in Salt Lake City was constructed in 2005, and a second infill station, at 9400 South in Sandy (Sandy Expo), opened in August 2006. On December 13, 2006, the UTA Board of Trustees voted to change the name of the station next to the Delta Center to "Arena" in response to the renaming of the nearby indoor arena to EnergySolutions Arena.
On February 23, 2006, plans for extending the main line westward to the current Salt Lake City Intermodal Hub near the Gateway District were approved. Two stations were built near the Gateway shopping district, as well as one at the Salt Lake Central Station (Salt Lake Intermodal Hub). They opened in April 2008, bringing the total number of stations to 28.
UTA currently has two service centers for TRAX maintenance: the Lovendahl Rail Service Center, which is just off the Red Line in Midvale, and the Jordan River Service Center, which is just off the Green Line in South Salt Lake.
On September 21, 2006, a property tax hike proposal was replaced with a general transportation quarter-cent sales tax hike that was voted on and approved on November 7 of that year. On December 21, 2006, the Salt Lake County Council created a priority list for the sales tax, saying that TRAX and commuter rail should take priority. A letter of intent signed with the Federal Transit Administration on September 24, 2007 secured the remaining $500 million in funding for the light rail lines. This money will be used to finance the FrontLines 2015 expansion project, which will add four TRAX extensions by 2015 (as well as an expansion to FrontRunner commuter rail).
West Valley and Mid-Jordan extensions
In 2008, construction began on two new extensions: one extension of 5.1 miles (8.2 km) through West Valley City (now part of the Green Line) and another extension of 10.6 miles (17.1 km) through the southwest portion of the Salt Lake Valley (now part of the Red Line). Both extensions were debuted in ceremonial openings on August 2, 2011, and permanently opened for regular service on August 7th. Both extensions were completed ahead of schedule and under budget. Upon completion of these expansions UTA adopted a color-code line names in place of their old destination-based line names.
After the first year of operation, ridership on these portions of the Green and Red lines was less than was projected by UTA. However, UTA has stated that the projected ridership was for the year 2015. Since these lines were opened for service years earlier than originally planned, the anticipated growth on the west side of Salt Lake Valley has just not happened, yet. UTA affirms that by 2015 ridership will meet the original projections.
A line from Salt Lake City International Airport to the University of Utah was in the original plans for the system to be completed before the 2002 Winter Olympics, but funding shortages only allowed for the eastern portion to be constructed. The airport line did eventually come to fruition, however, and ground was broken on October 22, 2008. The extension opened on April 14, 2013, adding 6 miles (9.7 km) and six additional stations to the Green Line, including a transfer station to FrontRunner.
On November 14, 2006, the Draper City Council approved the TRAX extension into that city. Neighbors in the area have continually fought the route suggested by UTA. The route follows an old rail line and UTA already owned the right of way. An alternative route that would run down the middle of State Street was also studied by UTA. Use of the UTA right of way for the line was challenged in court and was later approved by the Utah Supreme Court on July 12, 2008. UTA published a draft Environmental Impact Statement for the new line that names the UTA right of way as the preferred route. Construction on the first phase of the extension, which will include 3.5 miles (5.6 km) and three new stations, has been completed and will open by August 2013. A second phase will eventually extend the line further south to 14600 South (near I-15), but dates have yet to be announced regarding the constructions and completion of the second phase.
When UTA's FrontRunner commuter rail service opened for service on April 26, 2006, the only transfer station between FrontRunner and TRAX was Salt Lake Central (Salt Lake Intermodal Hub), with FrontRunner running north from that Station to Ogden. However, with the opening of the FrontRunner South extension on December 10, 2012, with service south to Provo, Murray Central was added as second transfer station. Although not part of the FrontRunner South extension, FrontRunner service at the new North Temple Bridge/Guadalupe also began on the same day. When the Airport extension of the Green Line opened for service on April 14, 2013, this Station became the third transfer station between FrontRunner and TRAX. The FrontRunner portion of this Station was specifically built to provide a transfer station between FrontRunner and the Green Line, since the reroute of the Green Line for the Airport extension would have otherwise left the Green Line without any common station with FrontRunner.
Sugar House Streetcar
For several years a TRAX spur into the Salt Lake City neighborhood of Sugar House had been contemplated. A series of community meetings were held in Sugar House as part of a larger transit study undertaken by UTA. Several transit alternatives were presented to the neighborhood, including bus rapid transit, light rail, and a streetcar.[dead link] The streetcar seemed to be the preferred alternative. On October 20, 2010, the Sugar House Streetcar line received a $26 million federal grant that would allow the street car to be completed in less than two years. It will use an existing rail line running along 2200 South from the Central Pointe TRAX Station to approximately 1100 East, near the primary Sugar House shopping district. The Sugar House Streetcar line is anticipated to open in late 2013.
Planned expansion projects
UTA has ordered a Draft Environment Study Report for transit alternatives in southern Davis County, including more comprehensive bus service, streetcar lines, and a TRAX line.[dead link] Some residents opposed UTA's proposal to bring light rail to southern Davis County. In conjunction with the Mountain View Corridor project, there are also non-specific plans to eventually build a TRAX line on the west side of the Salt Lake Valley in the same general area as the Mountain View Corridor.
Following the completion of the FrontLines 2015 project, UTA has stated that they intend to focus on lower-cost projects such as streetcars and bus rapid transit. However, they do intend to eventually extend main TRAX lines as well. In addition to the aforementioned expansions, they also plan to extend TRAX from Draper to Lehi and eventually Orem. They are also exploring the possibility of mass transit to the ski resorts and possibly even to Park City.
Lines and stations
UTA Route 701
|15.8 miles (25.4 km)
19.3 miles (31.1 km)
|Downtown Salt Lake City – Sandy
(Salt Lake Central – Sandy Civic Center)
UTA Route 703
|25||University of Utah (Salt Lake City) – Daybreak (South Jordan)
(University Medical Center – Daybreak Parkway)
UTA Route 704
|18||Salt Lake City International Airport – West Valley City
(Airport – West Valley Central)
TRAX operates seven days a week, with the exception of some holidays. It operates Monday through Friday from approximately 5 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. with a fifteen-minute headway on each line during the entirety of operating hours. It operates Saturdays from approximately 6:15 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. and Sundays from approximately 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. with a twenty-minute headway all weekend.
- Data for THIRD quarter 2000, no ridership data reported by American Public Transportation Association (APTA) for UTA for fourth quarter
- Red Line (University extension) opened in December 2001
- Red Line (University Medical Center extension) opened in September 2003
- FrontRunner opened in April 2008
- Red Line Mid-Jordan extension and Green Line West Valley extension both opened in August 2011
- FrontRunner South extension opened in December 2012
- Green Line Airport extension opened in April 2012, Blue Line Draper extension opened in August 2013, and Sugar House Streetcar opened in December 2013
- "Public Transportation Ridership Report Fourth Quarter 2012" (PDF). American Public Transportation Association. 1 Mar 2013. p. 27. Retrieved 16 Mar 2013.
- "UTA Fleet: Trax and FrontRunner" (PDF). Utah Transit Authority. August 2008. Retrieved 11 Feb 2012.
- "Siemens announces biggest US light rail order". Railway Gazette International. 15 May 2008. Retrieved 16 May 2008.
- "Two Light Rail Extensions for Salt Lake, with More on the Way". The Transport Politic. 7 August 2011. Retrieved 5 Mar 2013.
- Utah Transit Authority. FrontLines 2015 Project (Map). http://www.rideuta.com/uploads/FrontLines2015Map.pdf. Retrieved 5 Mar 2013.
- "Transit Ridership Report Fourth Quarter 1999" (PDF). American Public Transit Association. 18 Apr 2000. p. 26. Retrieved 16 Mar 2013.
- "Transit Ridership Report Third Quarter 2000" (PDF). American Public Transportation Association. 29 Dec 2000. p. 26. Retrieved 16 Mar 2013.
- "Transit Ridership Report Fourth Quarter 2001" (PDF). American Public Transportation Association. 12 Apr 2002. p. 28. Retrieved 16 Mar 2013.
- "Transit Ridership Report Fourth Quarter 2002" (PDF). American Public Transportation Association. 24 Apr 2003. p. 32. Retrieved 16 Mar 2013.
- "Transit Ridership Report Fourth Quarter 2003" (PDF). American Public Transportation Association. 3 Aug 2004. p. 31. Retrieved 16 Mar 2013.
- "Transit Ridership Report Fourth Quarter 2004" (PDF). American Public Transportation Association. 15 Mar 2005. p. 32. Retrieved 16 Mar 2013.
- "Transit Ridership Report Fourth Quarter 2005" (PDF). American Public Transportation Association. 4 Apr 2006. p. 28. Retrieved 16 Mar 2013.
- "Public Transportation Ridership Report Fourth Quarter 2006" (PDF). American Public Transportation Association. 12 Mar 2007. p. 28. Retrieved 16 Mar 2013.
- "Public Transportation Ridership Report Fourth Quarter 2007" (PDF). American Public Transportation Association. 5 Mar 2008. p. 33. Retrieved 16 Mar 2013.
- "Public Transportation Ridership Report Fourth Quarter 2008" (PDF). American Public Transportation Association. 5 Mar 2009. p. 30. Retrieved 16 Mar 2013.
- "Public Transportation Ridership Report Fourth Quarter 2009" (PDF). American Public Transportation Association. 2 Mar 2010. p. 29. Retrieved 16 Mar 2013.
- "Public Transportation Ridership Report Fourth Quarter 2010" (PDF). American Public Transportation Association. 8 Mar 2011. p. 28. Retrieved 16 Mar 2013.
- "Public Transportation Ridership Report Fourth Quarter 2011" (PDF). American Public Transportation Association. 24 Feb 2012. p. 27. Retrieved 16 Mar 2013.
- "UTA TRAX LightRail". Utah Rails. 6 Jan 2007. Retrieved 19 Aug 2007.
- "UTA Announces FrontRunner Grand Opening Date!" (Press release). Utah Transit Authority. Retrieved 10 Jan 2013.
- "Fixed Route Accessibility". Utah Transit Authority. Retrieved 13 Mar 2013.
- "Rider Rules". Utah Transit Authority. Retrieved 12 Mar 2013.
- Davidson, Lee (2 Aug 2011). "TRAX lines opening a year early, 20% under budget". The Salt Lake Tribune (Salt Lake City). Retrieved 3 Aug 2011.
- "UTA setting end dates on TRAX construction". Deseret News (Salt Lake City: Deseret Digital Media). 9 August 2007. Retrieved 2 Jun 2008.
- Warburton, Nicole (29 Dec 2006). "Tax to build 3 rail lines, fix highway". Deseret News (Salt Lake City: Deseret Digital Media). Retrieved 3 Jun 2008.
- Warburton, Nicole (25 Sep 2007). "UTA on track for U.S. funds". Deseret News (Salt Lake City: Deseret Digital Media). Retrieved 3 Jun 2008].
- Warburton, Nicole (27 Jan 2008). "New method of counting shows 'decline' in TRAX ridership". Deseret News (Salt Lake City: Deseret Digital Media). Retrieved 16 Feb 2008.
- "$5 million OK'd for light rail". Deseret News (Salt Lake City: Deseret Digital Media). United Press International. 10 Oct 1988. Retrieved 5 Mar 2013.
- Fattah, Geoffrey (30 Sep 2003). "UTA extends TRAX line to U. med center". Deseret News (Salt Lake City: Deseret Digital Media). Retrieved 4 Mar 2013.
- The Associated Press (14 Dec 2006). "UTA trustees OK nearly $239M budget". The Salt Lake Tribune (Salt Lake City). Retrieved 17 Dec 2006.
- "UTA Projects/Programs > Salt Lake Intermodal Hub TRAX Extension". RideUTA.com. Archived from the original on 15 Apr 2008.
- Warburton, Nicole; Dethman, Leigh (21 Dec 2006). "Tax to build 3 rail lines, fix highway". Deseret Morning News (Salt Lake City: Deseret Digital Media). Retrieved 1 Jan 2007.
- Davidson, Lee (13 Dec 2012). "New TRAX lines still short of ridership projections". The Salt Lake Tribune (Salt Lake City). Retrieved 7 Mar 2013.
- Hancock, Laura (22 Oct 2008). "UTA breaking ground today for airport TRAX line". Deseret News (Salt Lake City: Deseret Digital Media). Retrieved 28 Jun 2009.
- "UTA FrontLines 2015: Airport Line" (PDF). Utah Transit Authority. Retrieved 4 Jan 2013.
- Nielson-Stowell, Amelia (15 Nov 2006). "Draper approves TRAX route". Deseret News (Salt Lake City: Deseret Digital Media). Retrieved 17 Dec 2006.
- "Draper Transit Corridor Project: Alternatives Considered" (PDF). Utah Transit Authority. Retrieved 4 Jan 2013.
- "Court says Draper TRAX route OK". Salt Lake City: KSL.com. Associated Press. 12 Jul 2008. Retrieved 12 Jul 2008.
- Park, Shara (10 Dec 2012). "FrontRunner South opens, brings changes to north line". KSL-TV (Salt Lake City: Deseret Digital Media). Retrieved 12 Dec 2012.
- "UTA – Sugar House Transit Study". Utah Transit Authority.
- "Sugar House Transit Corridor Alternatives Analysis Open House Summary" (PDF). Utah Transit Authority. Retrieved 4 Jan 2013.
- Page, Jared (20 Oct 2010). "Salt Lake City receives $26 million for Sugar House streetcar project". Deseret News (Salt Lake City: Deseret Digital Media). Retrieved 20 Oct 2010.
- "Sugar House Streetcar: Project Updates". Retrieved 4 Mar 2013.
- "South Davis Transit Study Overview". Utah Transit Authority. 18 Feb 2010.
- Dougherty, Joseph M. (29 Mar 2010). "Coalition to rally tonight against South Davis light rail". Deseret News (Salt Lake City: Deseret Digital Media). Retrieved 10 Jan 2013.
- "Mountain View Corridor Environmental Impact Statement" (PDF). Utah Department of Transportation. Retrieved 4 Jan 2013.
- Davidson, Lee (11 Feb 2013). "What’s next at UTA? More frequent service, and yet more building". Salt Lake Tribune (Salt Lake City). Retrieved 10 Mar 2013.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: UTA TRAX|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Trams in Salt Lake City|
- Utah Transit Authority official website
- TRAX official website
- Utah Rails, timeline of UTA Trax project