Transit Planning

Transit System Plan Implementation Strategy

The Transit System Plan Implementation Strategy will provide a fiscally constrained financial plan and prioritized implementation schedule for an identified program of bus and rail improvements in the Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) service area.

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2030 Corridor System Plan Map

System Map of planning for the CATS System


In November 2006, the Metropolitan Transit Commission (MTC) adopted the 2030 Transit Corridor System Plan. This long-range plan consists of multiple rapid transit improvements in five corridors, a series of Center City improvements, and bus service and facility improvements throughout the region.

CATS implemented the first line of the 2030 Plan with the opening of the Blue Line light rail service in the South Corridor in 2007. In March 2018, the Blue Line Extension opened to serve the Northeast Corridor. In 2015, CATS opened the first phase of the Gold Line streetcar service, and Phase 2 of the Gold Line streetcar opened in 2021.

CATS continues to advance planning and design in the remaining transit corridors.

In November 2016, the MTC approved and adopted a light rail alignment for the Southeast corridor.

In February 2019, as the result of the LYNX System Update, the MTC approved recommendations for a North Corridor strategy including Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and commuter rail; and a West Corridor light rail alignment, connecting through Center City to the Southeast as one continuous light rail corridor, the Silver Line.

In September 2019, the MTC adopted an extension of the Blue Line to connect to the Town of Pineville and the Ballantyne area in south Charlotte.

As each corridor advances further in design, additional refinements to the alignment and station locations continue to be approved by the MTC. Additional detailed information can be found on each project page.

Four types of transportation modes Bus rapid transit, streetcar, light rail and commuter rail





Gold Line Extension

The Gold Line is a 10-mile (37 stop) streetcar system that is an integral part of the 2030 Transit Corridor System Plan and is being built in phases. The full streetcar line will connect all current and future rapid transit lines, including the Blue Line light rail, Silver Line light rail, Red Line commuter rail and provide a critical connection to the future Charlotte Gateway District and Multimodal Station. 

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Silver Line

The Silver Line is a planned 29-mile, 30 station light rail alignment from the City of Belmont in Gaston County, through Center City Charlotte and the Town of Matthews in Mecklenburg County, and into Stallings and Indian Trail in Union County.

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Blue Line

The Blue Line is an 18.6-mile light rail line that opened in November 2007, offering extensive connectivity with 26 stations and stretches from Interstate 485 to UNC Charlotte's main campus. It features 11 park and ride locations, designed to facilitate easy access for commuters. The Blue Line Extension, which further enhanced the network, was introduced in March 2018, expanding service and accessibility.

Blue Line Pineville-Ballantyne Extension

The Blue Line Extension to Pineville and Ballantyne will add 5.5 miles and five stations to the current Blue Line. Several existing Blue Line station platforms will be expanded to accommodate current and future ridership demand, alleviate crowding during peak hours and special events and provide system-wide operational benefits.

South End Station Project : Find Out More Here

Red Line Commuter Rail

  • The Red Line is a 25-mile commuter rail project using the existing Norfolk Southern rail line.
  • CATS has begun a Red Line Design Update that will focus on all the changes that the corridor has gone through since the previous Red Line design was completed in 2009.
  • This first phase of design will focus on public outreach, updating the grade crossings and track design, examining options a new vehicle maintenance facility, reevaluating vehicle technologies and service levels, confirming station locations and analyzing new alignment options into Center City.

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Hambright Park and Ride

The Hambright Park and Ride is a key development in enhancing the public transportation infrastructure in Huntersville, NC. This project aims to create a modern mobility hub that integrates seamlessly with the MetroRAPID Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, providing efficient and reliable transit options for commuters. Located on the south side of Hambright Road, this facility will offer over 500 parking spaces, along with a range of amenities designed to improve the overall commuting experience.

Hambright Park and Ride

MetroRAPID - Bus Rapid Transit

  • In February 2020, the MetroRAPID Bus Rapid Transit service begun along the I-77 corridor, utilizing the I-77 Managed Lanes.
  • A MetroRAPID Improvements Planning Study was adopted by the MTC in May 2022, which analyzed the implementation of improvements to the service including all day service including nights and weekends, creating additional park and ride facilities and direct connections into the managed lanes, and integrating BRT stations into mixed use developments.

Charlotte Gateway Station

The Charlotte Gateway Station (CGS) will be a comprehensive multi-modal transportation facility in vibrant uptown Charlotte at the intersection of West Trade and Graham Streets. This signature passenger station will provide both long-distance travelers and daily-commuters with greater accessibility to regional connections as well as to Charlotte's thriving employment, entertainment and cultural centers.

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Charlotte Transportation Center Redevelopment

CATS and the City of Charlotte are responding to proposal to redevelop the existing Charlotte Transportation Center (CTC) into an upgraded facility. The new facility will create seamless connections to CATS express and local bus services, Blue Line light rail, Gold Line streetcar, and the pedestrian Rail Trail, which runs adjacent to the Blue Line.

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Better Bus/Envision My Ride

In June 2022, CATS received a competitive Federal Transit Administration (FTA) grant for Route Restoration Planning. This phase of planning focuses on making bus services better by actively improving bus services for everyone, especially in areas that need them most.

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Microtransit is a convenient, on-demand transit option, similar to Lyft or Uber, that uses smaller vehicles or even small buses to provide service within designated zones. It is also one of the key initiatives outlined in the Envision My Ride: Bus Priority Study, adopted by the MTC in May 2022. It is part of the larger goal to build a more reliable, connected and accessible mobility network for the greater Charlotte area.

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Coordinated Human Services Transportation Plan

The Coordinated Human Services Transportation Plan (CHSTP) was developed to provide strategies for coordinated paratransit and mobility management between multiple service providers.  The Plan recommends adjustments to paratransit procedures for increased mobility, improved service delivery, and enhanced connections to social services.  The Plan also helps guide Federal Section 5310 funding for capital and operating assistance projects submitted by area sub-recipient agencies.

Land Development and Transit Oriented Development

Land Development
Development adjacent to a CATS Transit Corridor requiring air rights, use, or access to the Transit corridor must apply for agreement(s) from CATS.

Transit-Oriented Development
CATS has a long history of integrating land use and transit planning, since the 2025 Integrated Transit/Land-Use Plan was created in 1998.  As a transit agency, CATS is committed to improving transit access for residents and visitors.  Transit-oriented Development improves connectivity and accessibility by creating walkable, high-intensity mixed use development along transit corridors. 

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