The Central Oklahoma Transportation and Parking Authority Board of Trustees announced it recently approved “RAPID” as the name for EMBARK’s Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system that is expected to begin service in late 2023, according to the company's press release.
The board received the final brand package for RAPID that includes a logo and other conceptual elements for the vehicle and platform.
“EMBARK’s vision is to deliver world-class transportation to our region. RAPID helps us move closer to that vision by creating connections where people can move more freely,” said Jason Ferbrache, EMBARK administrator. “Stakeholders shared that the brand should be inviting, progressive, and sleek – that’s what we delivered.”
The brand strategy was created by Koch Comm, a local PR, digital, and creative firm in Oklahoma City, with input from stakeholders. EMBARK and Comm solicited input throughout the months-long process that involved EMBARK staff, city and industry leaders as well as a community workgroup of business owners, community leaders, and residents.
“From our research and focus group conversations, it became exceedingly clear how committed the community is to supporting robust transit options that improve the accessibility to our neighborhoods, businesses and public spaces,” said Kym Koch-Thompson, principal of Koch Comm. “We are honored to have a role in the branding of a project with such magnitude and influence on the future of our city.”
RAPID Northwest will be the system’s first line, connecting downtown OKC to the northwest side of Oklahoma City. It originates downtown and travels 9-1/2 miles each way through Classen Boulevard and Northwest Expressway.
It is estimated that over 20% of the region’s jobs and around 40,000 residents live within 1/2 mile of the first line.
“The RAPID offers our district a way to embrace connectivity between our community with other neighborhoods,” said Thuan Nguyen, chair of the Oklahoma City Asian District Cultural Association and member of the BRT community workgroup. “It is an honor and great example of public and private organizations working together toward a shared goal that benefits current and future visitors, residents, and members of our community.”
The project is funded through local and federal sources. More than half of the project is funded by a $14.3 million B.U.I.L.D. grant for construction from the U.S. Department of Transportation in 2018.
RAPID will be comprised of nine Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) vehicles with upgraded seating and amenities providing 12-15 minute service. The raised-platform stops will facilitate level ADA accessible boarding, real-time customer information, waste receptacles, ticketing kiosk, security lighting, bike racks, and branded pylon.