The University of Tennessee will introduce a new transportation service in January 2003, Knoxville Area Transit and UT officials have announced.
The service, which will be known as The T, is the first phase of a comprehensive transportation service, with further services to be introduced in the fall 2003.
The new service is an integral element in the implementation of the UT Master Plan, which encourages pedestrian and transit alternatives on campus, UT Vice President for Operations Philip Scheurer said.
A major component of the service will be called The T: East-West. This route will connect the Agricultural Campus, residence halls along Andy Holt Avenue and the Hill providing students, faculty, staff and campus visitors direct access to and from the heart of campus with bus service provided every five minutes during peak hours.
"We anticipate that The T: East-West will be a major component in the transportation network," Scheurer said. "Students can walk out of their dorms to Andy Holt Avenue, and a bus will be there every 5 minutes to transport them straight to the library, the University Center, or the Hill."
To accommodate the East-West link Andy Holt Avenue will change from one-way westbound to two-way. The university and KAT have been working closely with the City of Knoxville Department of Engineering to make this change before the start of the spring semester.
By making Andy Holt Avenue two-way between Melrose Place and Volunteer Boulevard West, The T will be able to provide a direct route for residence hall students both to and from the UC and the Hill.
The T: East-West will replace the Orange Line Trolley, which presently takes students from the UC to the residence halls. The East-West will permit the Orange Line Trolley to be re-routed to run both eastbound and westbound along Cumberland Avenue, continuing to provide the downtown connection to the university. The Orange Line will continue to be fare-free to all passengers.
In addition to The T: East-West, a new evening-late night route will begin. Known as The T: Late Nite, this route begins when East-West ends, running not only through the heart of campus and to the residence halls, but also into Ft. Sanders, serving Clement and Strong Hall along White Avenue, Laurel Apartments and other prominent student areas in Ft. Sanders.
This route will run until 2 a.m. Sunday through Thursday, and until 3:30 a.m. on Friday and Saturday evenings with service every 15 minutes or less.
Another component of service will be The T: Access, the ADA service provided during the day, as well as the direct, on-demand service provided in the evenings, called The T: Link.
These services will be similar to the services provided presently by the University Van Service, using the university's Blue Phone system for the direct on-demand service and working with the university's Office of Disability Services for the ADA services. However, a unique aspect to this service is that it will be provided with alternative-fuel vehicles.
"The T will use propane-powered vehicles for those services which use smaller vehicles," KAT General Manager Mark Hairr said. "KAT is also working presently with university officials toward additional alternative-fuel vehicles for use at the university in the future."
Another part of the new transportation system is an off-street transfer center for on-campus and off-campus buses in the heart of campus.
"We want to continue to encourage students to use the transit service rather than driving to campus," Scheurer said. "We hope that this off-street transfer point will provide a good location for our commuting students. We want to see our campus continue to become more pedestrian friendly, and having fewer cars on campus helps us achieve that."