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ORBT Project History

The Road to ORBT

ORBT is the biggest transit investment our region has seen in decades. After years of research, planning, community input and construction, Metro launched its first bus rapid transit line on Nov. 18, 2020.

How We Got Here

Public input has been integral to the project since day one, influencing station design, vehicle layout and the ORBT brand.

Metro received feedback from mobile workshops, public meetings, open houses, community conversations, organizational partnerships, online forms and many other methods to help us make decisions. Participation from a stakeholder group informed the decision-making process every step of the way.

The ORBT Project Schedule started with preliminary design work from 2012 to 2016, then final design work from 2017 to 2019, and finally construction and launch from 2019 to 2020.

System

In May 2014, Metro partnered with the City of Omaha and the Metropolitan Area Planning Agency (MAPA) to conduct the Central Omaha Transit Alternatives Analysis. Public input helped us determine that bus rapid transit would help better connect the region.

Stations

In the fall of 2015, Metro held open houses to provide an update on the project and to reveal three preliminary station concepts. We collected feedback at the open house and through a variety of surveys. 

Vehicles

In the summer of 2016, more open houses showcased modified station designs and discussed vehicle layouts and amenities. We gathered input at the open house and through surveys. 

Brand

Throughout the project, Metro took suggestions for names, which informed the final brand. ORBT was a local suggestion, and the brand features were inspired by values offered by the public.

Communications Archive

As ORBT entered the construction and launch phase, the project team sent out a regular newsletter — called the ORBT Dispatch — to share general announcements, local and national transit news, construction updates, quick facts about ORBT, event information, and profiles of the people, places and businesses cheering ORBT on.

Issue #1 [Feb. 19, 2019]
Issue #2 [March 29, 2019]
Issue #3 [June 13, 2019]
Issue #4 [July 31, 2019]
Issue #5 [Aug. 16, 2019]
Issue #6 [Sept. 19, 2019]
Issue #7 [Sept. 27, 2019]
Issue #8 [Oct. 18, 2019]
Issue #9 [Nov. 15, 2019]
Issue #10 [Nov. 25, 2019]
Issue #11 [Dec. 20, 2019]
Issue #12 [Jan. 24, 2020]
Issue #13 [Feb. 20, 2020]
Issue #14 [Feb. 27, 2020]
Issue #15 [March 9, 2020]

Issue #16 [March 13, 2020]
Issue #17 [March 23, 2020]
Issue #18 [April 6, 2020]
Issue #19 [May 5, 2020]
Issue #20 [May 22, 2020]
Issue #21 [June 25, 2020]
Issue #22 [July 20, 2020]
Issue #23 [Aug. 14, 2020]
Issue #24 [Sept. 19, 2020]
Issue #25 [Oct. 9, 2020]
Issue #26 [Oct. 26, 2020]
Issue #27 [Nov. 5, 2020]
Issue #28 [Nov. 13, 2020]

Funding

In 2014, Metro was awarded a highly competitive TIGER grant for $14.9 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation to help fund this project.

We also received generous contributions from local partners, including The Peter Kiewit Foundation, The Sherwood Foundation, Mutual of Omaha, Nebraska Environmental Trust and Metropolitan Utilities District.

These, as well as in-kind contributions from the City of Omaha, the Metropolitan Area Planning Agency (MAPA) and Heartland B-cycle, successfully led to the launch of ORBT.