Innovative Multimodal Transit Center in West Virginia

  • Author: Laurel Schwartz
  • Date: September 19, 2023

The massive $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act included discretionary grants for communities to fund projects that are more difficult to finance through other U.S. DOT grant programs. One West Virginia community used this opportunity to build an innovative new multimodal transit center.

Berkeley County, WV, identified as an area of persistent poverty and a historically disadvantaged community, was recently awarded a $10,322,107 grant to build a multimodal transit center in Martinsburg, WV. In response to stakeholder surveys, this project, spearheaded by the WV Department of Transportation (WVDOT), will include a transfer center, administration building, fuel station, bicycle parking, and charging infrastructure for electric buses and personal vehicles.


Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety
The Eastern Panhandle Regional Planning and Development Council, a state regional planning organization comprised of elected and appointed representatives, supports local governments in Berkeley and two other counties. A 2020 transit development plan commissioned by the region’s transit authority identified a need to “work toward a complete network that allows convenient pedestrian and/or bicycle travel to all areas of the City.”

This recommendation responds to continued bicycle rider and pedestrian fatalities in the region, which this multimodal transit center (and projects like it) can help prevent. WVDOT’s goal is to reduce bicycle and pedestrian fatalities and serious injuries by 66% by 2030 relative to 2013 numbers.

Martinsburg is already close to regional bike trails that connect Pittsburgh and Washington, DC, and the Appalachian Trail, which runs the length of the East Coast. “Quality of life will be improved as the project will be located in a dense, walkable neighborhood to provide increased access to public transit. Mobility and community connectivity is improved as the new facility will connect riders to a network of walkable streets, a bike trail, and nearby scooter access,” wrote the U.S. DOT in their fact sheet about the project.


Charging infrastructure
In addition to bicycle parking and safe connections to local and regional trails, this multimodal transit center will have charging stations to accommodate four electric buses and charging for personal vehicles.

These charging ports are part of West Virginia’s effort to help build the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) program. While West Virginia currently ranks 44 out of 50 in EV ownership (based on 2020 data), “West Virginia is ranked number four in the country for the number of charging ports per 100 EVs.” This project will continue to help build this charging network.


Reducing Idling
To further address environmental sustainability, this facility will also include indoor space for buses to warm up, reducing the amount of time the vehicles need to idle. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that vehicle idling results in about 1 billion gallons of excess fuel consumption each year.


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