Virtual reality

News VIA Advanced Rapid Transit Completes Preliminary Design and Plans Virtual Town Hall

VIA Metropolitan Transit will hold a virtual town hall Thursday at 7:00 p.m. to discuss with residents the timeline, costs and benefits of the Advanced Rapid Transit (ART) North/South Corridor project, which will provide a dedicated bus route from San Antonio International Airport to Missions.

The first of its kind in San Antonio, the ART project aims to dramatically increase the frequency of bus stops on one of the city’s busiest corridors. It is funded with federal government support and is scheduled to launch in 2027.

Lawson Picasso, communications and public engagement manager for engineering firm WSP, who is consulting with VIA on the project, says it will greatly improve residents’ quality of life.

“One of the things that’s really critical to people’s quality of life, one of the core pillars is public transport,” she said. “It allows them access to jobs, education and health care services, the vital areas they need to lead healthy, viable lives.”

A possible next step, Picasso said, would be the East-West Art Corridor project.

Ryan Lloyd

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VIA Primo bus.

She also added how important accessible public transportation is to addressing issues such as economic inequality and food insecurity, which she herself has dealt with in the past.

“In order to really address food insecurity, we need to understand that food insecurity is a product of larger problems, which are the use of public transportation, the use of affordable housing, the use of workforce programs,” Picasso said. “So, seeing Public transit is one of the areas that can get people into areas that they might feel isolated from, and that’s really important.”

Picasso said virtual reality is a powerful tool she’s using to help residents understand the project, showing them what the dedicated driveways and platforms will look like. Thus, they are able to provide more informed feedback.

“Some of the more technical pieces can get lost in a lot of technical jargon, presenting them in a visual way and making them more immersive to understand is really helpful and a big benefit to how we engage with the community. “

The virtual town hall on Thursday at 7:00 p.m. will Stream it on one of VIA’s websites, residents can also register to speak at the bottom of the page or by texting “VIA” to 833-898-5483.Town halls will be recorded and posted to VIA Facebook Page.

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