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Frequently Asked Questions - Project Overview & Benefits

FAQs - Project Overview & Benefits
Is rail transit going to make a difference in traffic congestion?

Yes. Rail will eliminate an estimated 40,000 car trips from our congested streets and highways. If you know what traffic is like when UH and private schools are out for the summer, you have an idea of the difference rail will make. Rail will also support future growth in transportation demand as new housing is built and the population increases.

Updated 7/2/2020

Where will rail transit run?

By 2030, nearly 60 percent of Oahu's population and more than 90 percent of the island's jobs will be located along the 20-mile rail corridor. Rail will connect major residential areas with primary job centers. There will be stops downtown, at three UH system campuses, Aloha Stadium, the Honolulu International Airport and several shopping centers. Rail will offer a convenient way to get to work, school or home. In addition, rail will provide a way to attend special events at Aloha Stadium, catch flights at the airport, or enjoy concerts at the Blaisdell Center, without the hassles of parking and traffic.

Updated 7/2/2020

How is Honolulu's rail transit going to help people?

Rail transit will provide a fast, safe, reliable alternative to driving in traffic congestion. In addition, there will be about 40,000 fewer car trips on Oahu's congested streets and freeways. 

The City is building this rail system in order to improve mobility, improve travel reliability, provide access to planned development and enhance transportation equity.

Updated 7/2/2020

TAGS: Alternative
How will rail transit enhance our economy?

Each year during construction, the rail transit project will help generate thousands of jobs in construction, engineering, and professional services. In addition, thousands of other indirect jobs will be created by businesses that provide goods and services to the project. The direct investment of federal and local funds will boost the economy and increase demand for goods and services at local businesses, while increasing tax revenues for the City and State. Transit oriented development around rail stations will sustain the demand for jobs in a variety of industries for many years in the future.

Updated 7/2/2020

Why is an elevated rail transit design safer and faster?

A fully grade-separated rail system will provide more reliable high-capacity transportation than can be achieved by buses or light rail on surface streets and roadways.

With elevated rail transit, the trains do not cross paths with cars or pedestrians at street level. As a result, trains don't get in the way of pedestrians and motor vehicles, and the street-level traffic doesn't interfere with the trains. This avoids the possibility of collisions between trains and pedestrians or motor vehicles at street level. Transit riders can be sure they will get to their destination on time, regardless of traffic conditions.

Updated 7/2/2020

Are there environmental advantages to rail transit?

Yes. The rail system will eliminate tens of thousands of car trips every day that would otherwise be taken on Oahu's roads. That means less auto pollution, a reduced need for new highways, and less dependence on imported oil. Rail transit will be electrically powered, and with Hawaii moving toward the goal of 100 percent clean energy by 2045, the trains will get greener as the percentage of renewable energy produced increases.

Updated 7/2/2020

What is the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation?

The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART) is a semi-autonomous public transit authority responsible for the planning, construction, operation, maintenance, and expansion of the city's fixed guideway system. HART is governed by a 14-member board composed of the state Department of Transportation director; the City Department of Transportation Services director; and 11 volunteers from the community: three appointed by the Mayor, three by the City Council, three by members of the State Legislature. The acting director of the city Department of Planning and Permitting also serves as a non-voting member. The voting members appoint the fourteenth member to the board.

Updated 7/2/2020

Why don't we just add more buses?

Expanding the existing system to meet future public transit needs with an all-bus rapid transit system would cost more in the long run than a combination bus-rail system. Operating costs for buses are much higher than for rail. The cost of operating bus systems is rising much faster than the cost of operating rail systems.

In addition, rail transit is more efficient than buses for high-volume passenger loads. Each four-car train can carry more than 800 passengers, the equivalent of more than ten buses. Moreover, an elevated rail system operates above our congested streets and highways and will deliver passengers to their destination on time every time, while buses get caught in traffic congestion, just like cars.

Updated 7/2/2020

Will the train go to the airport?

Yes, the train will make traveling to the airport quick and easy, without the hassle of traffic and parking. For example, to take the train from the downtown station to the airport will take just 12 minutes on the congestion-free elevated system, which is on time, every time.

Updated 7/2/2020

How will people use rail transit?

Rail transit will be used to commute to and from work, and school; to go to shopping malls, the airport, and entertainment venues such as Aloha Stadium. (See our interactive route map for more details.)

HART Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation