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Metropolitan Area Express (MAX) for the RTC of Southern Nevada

The Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC) sought to create a fresh image for public transportation while enhancing service to its customers.

Program management duties were also provided by Stanley Consultants implementing coordination between five specialized consultants and over 40 stakeholders/Technical Advisory Committee members. Working through the evolution of the project and addressing all stakeholders interests was especially rewarding when the project took on its final shape and consensus was achieved; resulting in a bona fide Capital Improvement Project and final construction documents ready for bid.

RTC introduced the Metropolitan Area Express (MAX), the first of its kind in the U.S. MAX is not a bus, but rather a rubber-tire rapid transit system that operates like light rail, but with the lower cost and flexibility of a bus. It is designed to increase capacity, improve passenger comfort and convenience, reduce travel time and raise awareness about the benefits of public transportation. Its 7.5-mile route includes 5 miles of dedicated "Transit Only" lanes, and an exclusive transit signal priority system. It uses a diesel-electric powertrain with electric motors in each of the four rear wheels to obtain smoother acceleration and air quality emissions near those of compressed natural gas. Energy captured through regenerative braking supplements the power requirements of the vehicle's robust climate control system. An optical guidance system automatically steers the vehicle when docking. A near-level boarding platform allows MAX to precisely dock with a gap of less than 2 inches between the vehicle's doorways and the platform. The result is handicap accessible boarding that is fast and easy.

Since the introduction of MAX, the total corridor ridership has steadily increased by over 25 percent, while overall travel time has decreased. As a result of positive public reaction, two new stations were added near the completion of the original project goals and objectives. This performance, along with a 97 percent positive response by riders, is setting a new standard for public transportation in Las Vegas.