HNTB worked hand-in-hand with Milwaukee County and its transit agency, Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS), to plan, design and implement Wisconsin’s first bus rapid transit (BRT) project and to secure a $40.9 million Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Small Starts grant agreement in 2020.

The East-West BRT, also known as Connect 1 BRT, is a $50 million, 9-mile route connecting downtown Milwaukee’s 84,000 employees with the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center’s 1.5 million annual visitors and 6,000+ employees. The route is enhancing transit access along the region’s most vital, most traveled, and most congested east-west corridor, and is now playing a critical role in advancing the region’s multimodal transportation system in a cost-effective manner that will support economic development.

Since 2015, HNTB has worked on the Feasibility Study, Preliminary and Final Design, and Construction Management.

During the project’s feasibility study, HNTB, as a major subconsultant partner, was integral to the development and selection of a locally preferred alternative (LPA). The firm analyzed, screened and worked with partners to make decisions related to three potential BRT alignments. In addition, HNTB led an extensive public outreach program, developed the project purpose and need statement, and prepared the documentation to request entry into FTA Project Development.

During the project’s design phase, HNTB helped to refine the LPA from the feasibility study and take the project through final design. The firm continued to lead the public outreach efforts for this phase and led the traffic analysis and signal designs. HNTB coordinated with FTA and assisted in preparation of the FTA’s Small Starts submission.

HNTB also served as the prime consultant, providing construction management services. HNTB's committed team helped the client execute the Small Starts Grant Agreement and oversaw value engineering, independent cost estimating, integrated schedule, constructability review, FTA coordination, and implementation strategy for selection of the construction contractor. The firm helped lead the client through the contractor bidding negotiation and on-boarding process in preparation for construction of the first BRT and Capital Investment Grant (CIG) project in the state of Wisconsin.

Battery Electric Buses

In alignment with MCTS's mission to create a sustainable, low-emission transportation solution, the Connect 1 BRT system features 15 battery electric buses (BEBs). In order to ensure reliable transportation for the Milwaukee commuters, HNTB provided design services for an ABB-manufactured charging station for the BEBs.

Location: Milwaukee County, WI

Client: Milwaukee County, Milwaukee County Transit System

Services:  Feasibility Study, Preliminary and Final Design, and Construction Management.