Document Archive (2000-2011)

  • TZB/I-287 Corridor Project Newsletter – Summer 2010 – English | Spanish

Since the fall of 2009, a great deal of progress has been made on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). Public input helps to shape Alternatives, therefore, a series of more than 30 working meetings was convened to solicit community input – including that of stakeholders protected by Environmental Justice regulations – on the various transit route options and bridge configurations. Similarly, the team convened a Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Panel, and began providing comprehensive technical assistance on Transit-Oriented Development to corridor municipalities. This newsletter covers all the above, including an article explaining the EIS process, what the team has accomplished, and how the public has and will continue to participate.

  • TZB/I-287 Corridor Project Newsletter – Fall 2009 – English | Spanish

This newsletter recaps the Project Team’s 2009 accomplishments, major milestones and events, including start of training for corridor municipalities on transit-oriented development, publication of the Scoping Summary Report, marking the beginning of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), and other public meetings.

This newsletter recaps the Project Team’s 2008 recommendations, discusses the Scoping Summary Report, the DEIS Alternatives/Replacement Bridge Configurations, and highlights other new project developments.

As a result of continuous technical analysis and public input, the project team is able to present its preliminary study results for two major components of the study. This edition of the newsletter presents a summary of these results.

Westchester and Rockland Counties need a strong cross-county transportation link that can serve the region well into the 21st century. That, in a nutshell, is the reason for the Tappan Zee Bridge/I-287 Corridor Project. We are pleased to mention that significant progress has been made on the study – progress that we want to tell you about on this Web site and at upcoming public meetings.

This newsletter marks an important step in the study: After several years of working with the public to identify a wide range of possible corridor improvements, six alternatives have emerged that warrant more detailed technical and public scrutiny. As a result, the Alternatives Analysis (AA) phase of this effort is reaching its conclusion. The six alternatives will be thoroughly analyzed in the next phase of this effort – required by federal and state law – known as the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) process. Inside this newsletter, there are two related articles: highlights of the six alternatives and why some concepts have been eliminated. Westchester and Rockland Counties need a strong cross-county transportation link that can serve the region well into the 21st century. That, in a nutshell, is the reason for the Tappan Zee Bridge/I-287 Corridor Project. We are pleased to mention that significant progress has been made on the study – progress that we want to tell you about on this Web site and at upcoming public meetings.


presents the methodologies that will be used to assess the potential environmental impacts of the project – the results of which will be presented in the EIS. The Safe – Accountable – Flexible – Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) Section 6002 requires early coordination regarding the impact assessment methodologies that will be used during the preparation of the EIS. This document has been prepared to support collaboration with related agencies regarding the technical approaches and the level of detail required in the analysis of each alternative for the project. The methodologies have been developed to support decision-making relative to highway – bridge – and transit elements. The proposed methodologies provide the level of detail necessary to enable cooperating agencies – participating agencies – reviewing agencies – decision-makers – and the public to understand the range of environmental consequences and trade-offs among the alternatives under consideration.










These documents are from the previous Tappan Zee Bridge/I-287 Corridor study which was discontinued in 2011. The work was done from 2005 to June 2011 in conjunction with the old project’s preliminary DEIS and gives the most up to date cost estimates on Bus Rapid Transit and Rail transit options.

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)

These documents examined the full cost and route of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) in Westchester and Rockland counties on either side of the Tappan Zee bridge. This entailed examining the cost and impact of a BRT stretching for dozens of miles across Westchester and Rockland counties with dedicated lanes on highways or on local roads as well as numerous stations and substantial costs for daily operation.

The BRT contemplated up to 22 stations, six in Rockland County and sixteen in Westchester County. Previous BRT plans publicized in September 2008, in the Transit Mode Selection Report (TMSR) | TMSR Drawings did not include the full costs associated with a full BRT system and were updated after receipt of comments and input from Westchester County Planning Departments.

However, details of the BRT options were finalized in the Transit Alignment Options Report (TAOR) | TAOR Drawings which were not previously published.

Ultimately, the proposed service plan for BRT evolved to encompass 17 separate routes serving 22 stations across 64 miles of Westchester and Rockland County, often going through rivertowns and villages. This excluded the costs and planning for station citing, operational requirements and parking sizing which would necessarily require extensive design development and close coordination with local communities.

The graphics below illustrate the approximate station locations.

Westchester Station Locations (16)

  • Tarrytown (3): Metro North station, Broadway, Benedict Avenue
  • West Elmsford
  • East Elmsford
  • Hillside Avenue
  • White Plains (5): County Center, White Plains Transportation Center, Galleria Mall, Westchester Mall, White Plains Avenue
  • Harrison (Platinum Mile)
  • Westchester Avenue
  • South Ridge Street
  • Port Chester (2): Boston Post Road, Metro North station

Rockland Station Locations (6)

  • Hillburn
  • Airmont
  • Monsey
  • Spring Valley
  • Clarkstown
  • Nyack

BRT Ridership Projections

Calculated in 2010 with NYMTC’s new growth forecast for the DEIS 48,500 daily riders:

  • 11,500 within Rockland
  • 31,100 within Westchester
  • 5,900 over the new bridge

These projections are explained and summarized in an internal project memorandum entitled: Validation of Preliminary 2047 DEIS Forecasts.

BRT Alternatives Previously Considered

Implementation of any BRT system is highly dependent upon and tied very closely to the highway and/or local street system. Any new BRT system must be integrated into the existing roadway network, and in the previous study that interaction was extensive over the 30 mile corridor. Therefore, highway modifications must be advanced hand-in-hand with BRT improvements.
The original BRT estimate was predicated on only one concept, in which the BRT would run in the HOV lanes in Rockland, and in local streets (with some new dedicated sections) in Westchester. That scenario indicated an estimate of $1 billion for the BRT and $2 billion for the HOV, or approximately $3 billion for the operating BRT system. This was the 2005 design concept and cost estimate which was escalated to 2012 dollars in 2007. Please refer to the Transit Mode Selection Report.

Since 2007, the development of BRT options has evolved. Most significantly, a dedicated bus way BRT option was added to the analysis. This would be used in Rockland in lieu of an HOV facility. It was also introduced for the entire Westchester route as an alternative to the original integrated street system. Please refer to Transit Alignment Options Report.

By 2010, four BRT scenarios were identified, with bus-way and bus-lane components paired in each of the two Counties:

Alt B: Rockland Bus way / Westchester Bus way
Rockland = $1.0B Highway; $2.5B BRT
Westchester = $1.7 BRT
Total Highway = $1.0B
Total BRT = $4.2B BRT
Total Cost= $5.2B

Alt C: Rockland Bus way / Westchester Bus lane
Rockland = $1.0B Highway; $2.5B BRT
Westchester = $1.0B BRT
Total Highway = $1.0B
Total BRT = $3.5B BRT
Total Cost = $4.5B

Alt D: Rockland HOV / Westchester Bus way
Rockland = $3.1B Highway; $0.5B BRT
Westchester = $1.7B BRT
Total Highway = $3.1B
Total BRT = $2.2B
Total Cost = $5.3B

Alt E: Rockland HOV / Westchester Bus lane
Rockland = $3.1B Highway; $0.5 BRT
Westchester = $1.0 B BRT
Total Highway = $3.1B
Total BRT = $1.5B
Total Cost = $4.6B

Based on these four alternatives, the designs and cost estimates are significantly higher than the 2007 estimate. These costs have not been published, as the previous study was terminated before that information was available to the public. The backup information for these cost estimates includes the following materials:

  • Highway Improvement Report: This 78 page report  describes the specific improvements proposed in the Thruway segment in Rockland County. These improvements reflect accommodations for the various transit systems to be integrated into the Thruway corridor. This explains the additional requirements necessary due to the transit systems.
  • Technical Report 9 (TP 9): This 115 page report | Appendix A  explains the evolution of the bridge design to the final two options advanced for further study. It made provisions for BRT in the bridge.
  • Benchmark 2 Drawings: These 1587 plan sheets  show the detailed design for the entire highway / BRT / CRT plan for all of the four build alternatives listed above. They are the basis for the detailed cost estimates which were developed in May 2011.
  • May 2011 Cost Estimate: This 78 page report  is a summary of the construction cost estimate produced in early 2011. The costs were calculated in 2015 dollars, which would approximate the anticipated mid-point of construction activities.
  • May 2011 Cost Estimate Backup: This 750 page report  is the detailed backup calculation for the 2011 Construction Cost Estimate.
  • Comparative Estimate: This document is a summary of the cost of the respective components, Highway, Bridge, BRT, CRT for each of the Alternatives. It also expresses costs in 2012 dollars.

As indicated, when accounting for any of the configuration combinations across the 30 mile corridor, the total cost for an operating BRT system ranges from $4.5 to $5.3 billion. This does not include an estimated $75 million for vehicles and equipment and $80 million annual cost for operating the system.

Vehicle and Equipment Costs

As referenced in the Transit Mode Selection Report, issued in March 2009, the following methodology was described to determine vehicle and equipment costs for the BRT system:

The cost of vehicles for each alternative/option was estimated based on the fleet size required to provide the level of service shown in the service plans in Appendix A and, in the case of rail alternatives/options, the length of train needed, to adequately serve the ridership levels projected for that alternative/option. The level of service refers to the headways used, which is the time between buses or trains at any given point on a route.

To determine the number of buses needed in the BRT alternatives/options, as well as those buses planned to operate as part of the rail alternatives/options, the following steps were followed:

  • Each bus route was evaluated in terms of its end-to-end run time at speeds appropriate to the roadways that would be used by the route. Speeds were adjusted for each route for peak-period operations (congested speeds) and off-peak operations (uncongested speeds).
  • The end-to-end run times were then summed for both directions with an allowance for turn-around times, schedule slippage, and layover times, resulting in a cycle time – the total time it would take for a bus to return to a given point on its route after departing from that point. This was used to determine the number of buses that would be needed to achieve the desired headway on each route in the AM peak, midday, PM peak, and off-peak periods. For example, a route that takes two hours to cycle (the bus takes two hours to complete a round trip) and has a headway target of 30 minutes would require four buses to maintain that 30-minute headway.
  • The number of buses needed was then estimated using the most demanding service period (usually the AM or PM peak) with an allowance for spares.

Depending on the peak link demand level, the type of bus required was then assigned, with a choice of standard 40-foot buses, express coach buses (for express routes only), articulated 60-foot standard buses, or articulated 60-foot BRT-specific buses. The unit cost for each bus type was based on published figures or recent experience in the New York Metropolitan area. The number of buses was then multiplied by the appropriate unit price to arrive at the fleet cost. This was done for each route of every alternative/option.

The resultant estimate for the BRT system equipment was $75 million (Alt 3B). Those costs and the methodology used to estimate them can be found in Section in the Transit Mode Selection Report.

Operating Costs

The estimate of operating and maintenance costs was calculated using the same concepts as in the fleet cost estimates in order to determine the number of vehicles needed to provide the planned level of service.

For the calculation of the cost of operations and maintenance, the number of vehicles operating in each service period (AM peak, midday, PM peak, and nighttime) was multiplied by the hours in that period (4 hours in the AM and PM peaks and 5 hours in the midday and nighttime periods) to arrive at the total daily revenue vehicle hours of service. The daily hours of vehicle service were converted to annual figures using an annualization factor of 291. The annualization factor reflects full service each weekday and reduced service levels on weekends and holidays (which is why it is not 365).

The annual vehicle revenue hours of service were then multiplied by the cost per revenue hour based on the actual cost of operations per revenue hour for that type of vehicle for each transit provider. The costs per hour of operation were based on 2005 National Transit Database figures for MTA New York City Transit for express buses, Transport of Rockland, Clarkstown Mini-Trans and Westchester County Bee-Line System for bus operations in those locales, NJ Transit for LRT operations, and Metro-North Railroad for CRT operations. Table 7-2 provides the 2005 cost per revenue vehicle hour.

Based upon this approach, annual operating costs were estimated to be approximately $81 million (Alt 3B). Those costs and the methodology used to estimate them can be found in Section in the Transit Mode Selection Report .

Fare Revenue Projections

The revenue projections developed in this study, as well as the operating cost projections used, were intended solely to permit the comparison among alternatives/options. Before any alternative/option would advance into implementation, a complete operations and maintenance cost model would be developed, as would a more detailed analysis of the farebox potential for the chosen alternative/option. The recovery rates which the current estimates imply are not intended for, nor should they be used for, financial planning. They are unbiased and provide a reasonable basis to compare the alternatives/options, and that is their sole intent. The fare revenue estimate for each alternative/option used the existing fare levels escalated to 2012 for each service, and the appropriate fare based on the distance traveled for the CRT alternative/option and the boarding and alighting points for the LRT and BRT alternatives/options.

Based upon this approach, annual fare revenues were estimated to be approximately $39 million (Alt 3B). Those costs and the methodology used to estimate them can be found in Section 7.3 Transit Mode Selection Report.