Birmingham Xpress is a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system under development in Birmingham. The first phase consists of a single east-west corridor from Woodlawn to Five Points West through the City Center. That first phase, which was planned to be complete before the 2021 World Games, is now expected to begin service in 2022. Bus Rapid Transit has also been proposed for the U.S. Highway 280 corridor, but no specific projects have been announced.
The Birmingham City Council approved $20 million in matching funds in October 2017 to qualify for another $20 million U.S. Department of Transportation "Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery" (TIGER) grant. The city's portion of the funding was made available from the 2018 Birmingham warrant issue. The Birmingham Jefferson County Transit Authority (BJCTA) is responsible for a portion of the capital funding, and will take over operation of the system once it is in place.
Strada Professional Services' consulting contract with the city for project development was terminated in mid-2018, but the company was soon brought back on board for project management services. The system's development was then placed under the City of Birmingham's Capital Projects Management Office (CPMO), under deputy director Howard Richards. The name "Birmingham Xpress" was announced in January 2019.
The city contracted with Skanska USA Building Inc. of Parsippany, New Jersey for $1.8 million over two years to serve as program management consultant for the system's development, and hired Charlotte Shaw, former manager of capital budget and planning for the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) as its internal project manager.
The Bus Rapid Transit project includes the creation of dedicated bus lanes and stops along the entire route. As many as 15 new 40-60 seat, low-floor, compressed natural gas-fueled buses will use the route, timed to reach each stop every 15-minutes. Purchase of the buses with $9,037,500 from federal funds was approved by the City Council on August 13, 2019.
The eastern terminus, called the Woodlawn Transit Center, is set to be constructed at the site of the former Ken Del Building at 5601 1st Avenue North in Woodlawn. The western terminus, the CrossPlex Transit Center, is located near the Birmingham CrossPlex at Five Points West.
Thirty-six open air raised-platform stations are to be constructed along the route. An initial idea to construct some of them in road medians was abandoned in favor of all curbside stops.
The system was originally planned for 60-foot buses, but later changed to 40-foot buses. The Birmingham City Council approved a $9,037,500 expenditure to purchase 15 buses through the BJCTA in August 2019.
- Coker, Angel (November 1, 2017) "City council approves matching federal funds for new transit system." Birmingham Business Journal
- "Birmingham's new hope for public transit." (December 7, 2018) Birmingham Business Journal
- Gonsoulin, Jennifer (January 16, 2019) "Birmingham trans gets new name, payment options." abc3340.com
- Johnson, Roy S. (January 25, 2019) "Birmingham’s Bus Rapid Transit system gets branded, plus updates." The Birmingham News
- Wright, Erica (January 31, 2019) "Plans unveiled for new inner-city bus rapid transit system in Birmingham." The Birmingham Times
- Beahm, Anna (August 15, 2019) "Purchase of 15 buses pushes Birmingham Xpress forward." The Birmingham News
- Beahm, Anna (December 7, 2019) "Birmingham bus rapid transit system target now 2022." The Birmingham News
- Coker, Angel (January 27, 2020) "City's Bus Rapid Transit project advances." Birmingham Business Journal