Getting the pulse of Richmond, VA


Two Pulse buses at the Allison Street station in Richmond, VA. (Image: airbus777, Flickr)

Richmond, VA is a midsize city with a population of about 227,000—it’s bigger than Salt Lake City, UT but smaller than Madison, WI. Like a lot of midsize cities, Richmond is growing; since 2000, the city has added population without annexing new land for the first time since the early 1900s. As the city grows, Richmonders are concerned with the same issues that other communities are, namely housing costs and transportation.

In Richmond, it’s still relatively easy to drive everywhere and a lot of people do. But the city can’t continue to build parking and wider roads; transit is becoming more necessary to handle a larger population not to mention the need for equitable transportation options. Enter The Pulse.

The Pulse is a new bus rapid transit line that opened in June of 2018. Running largely along a major thoroughfare that passes through downtown Richmond, approximately 25 percent of the city’s population and 60 percent of the city’s jobs are within the walkshed of the Pulse. Specially branded Pulse stations feature 1) platform-level boarding, 2) pre-board ticket vending (and all-door boarding), and 3) dedicated bus lanes along much of the route—all critical features of BRT.

This month on Building Better Communities with Transit we’re joined by Maritza Pechin, a planner with AECOM who works with city staff in Richmond on long-range planning. On the podcast, Maritza talks about the Pulse and the broader bus network redesign that was rolled out at the same time. In a wide ranging conversation, Jeff Wood and Maritza discuss how the new system is bring people back to transit, how the city might tackle housing affordability, and what big ideas the city is considering for the future.

Building Better Communities with Transit is intended to provide support to communities and local leaders who are working to catalyze new development around transit, give more people access to public transportation, increase access to opportunity, and build robust local economies. You can find this episode—and all of our previous episodes—on Soundcloud, Stitcher, iTunes, Overcast or wherever you get your podcasts.

Recent TOD news

Here are a few things that have been happening this week with TOD projects across the country.