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When the Valley's first light rail passengers stepped on board December 27, 2008, they knew they had a convenient new alternative to driving. What they might not have predicted is how light rail has played a critical role in supporting vibrant, healthy, connected and economically competitive communities.

Hail to Light Rail

Transportation, Prop400

Under Proposition 400 in 2004, Maricopa County voters approved an extension of the half-cent sales tax for transportation. This series highlights projects built under Prop 400—to let you know where your money is going and how it is improving your transportation experience.

On the Move Partners in Progress logoWhen the Valley’s first light rail passengers stepped on board December 27, 2008, they knew they had a convenient new alternative to driving. What they might not have predicted is how light rail has played a critical role in supporting vibrant, healthy, connected and economically competitive communities.

As Valley Metro and its light rail communities prepare to celebrate the 10-year “Railversary” since initiating 20 miles of light rail service, it is clear that ridership has exceeded expectations. But what else has this new transit service done to affect the communities around it? Valley Metro staff, in cooperation with member cities and other agencies, have spent the past year analyzing that question and have prepared a report to summarize findings.  

The Quality of Life Report evaluated the changes in the light rail corridor over the past decade that make the region a better place to live, work and become educated. The report examines progress to connect communities, enhance customer experience, drive the economy, and foster community health.

“The Maricopa Association of Governments applauds the success of the first decade of light rail service in our region,” said MAG Chair Gail Barney, mayor of Queen Creek. “The system benefits all communities, whether they have light rail or not. It reduces overall traffic and improves our quality of life by providing important regional connections.”

Examples of Valley Metro Rail’s success highlighted in the Quality of Life Report include: 

  • Served 16.5 million riders in 2017—an increase in transit ridership of 487 percent since 2007 on the prior route (Red Line bus).
  • Created more than 35,000 jobs within one-half mile of light rail since 2008.
  • Increased by 50 percent the ability of riders to reach their destination without a vehicle transfer.
  • Improved access to education. More than 5.5 million square feet of new educational facilities have been implemented in the light rail corridor since construction. 
  • Decreased bicycle and pedestrian collisions with automobiles by 50 percent and fatalities resulting from collisions by 10 percent in the light rail corridor.
  • Helped riders save 15 minutes travel time during rush hour compared to the prior route (Red Line bus).
  • Saw increase of more than 2,200 more affordable housing units in the light rail corridor since light rail construction.

The report will be available online after December 6, 2018.

Published November 1, 2018

About MAG

The Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) is a Council of Governments (COG) that serves as the regional planning agency for the metropolitan Phoenix area.

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