CLEVELAND -- At the heart of this area's transportation transformation is a sleek, energy-efficient economic engine called the HealthLine, because it’s sponsored by the city’s two largest employers, the Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals.
Recognized as having the best return on investment of any transit system in the nation, it runs up and down Euclid Avenue. The street was once called Millionaire’s Row, because it connected the mansions of John D. Rockefeller, industrialist Marcus Hanna and mining magnate Samuel Mather. Now, it’s credited with generating billions in economic development and serving 5 million riders annually.
- The HealthLine, Cleveland’s first Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system and the first comprehensive BRT system in the nation, was recognized as best practice by the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy for how it helped revitalize a city center, speed commutes, improve air quality, and leverage investment.
- The HealthLine delivered more than $6.3 billion in economic development along the Euclid Corridor -- a staggering $114 gained for every dollar spent on creating and launching the new service.
- Designed to operate like rail, the 63-foot long articulated hybrid electric vehicles run 24/7 in exclusive lanes, with traffic signal priority and off-board fare collection, reducing travel time from 40 to 28 minutes, end-to-end.
- Built from 2005-08, it includes 9.2 miles of roadway improvements and replaced 108 bus stops with 36 stations.
- RTA was the first transit system in the nation to sell naming rights sponsorships to its assets.
- The HealthLine posted a 48 percent increase in year 1, and serves more than 5 million customers each year. Annual ridership has increased about 60 percent over the previous number 6 bus line, which was RTA’s highest ridership bus line. It was replaced by the HealthLine in 2008.
- Given that one-fifth of downtown residents work in health care – and a bulk of those health-care workers commute to University Circle -- the case can be made that the investment in state-of-the-art transportation infrastructure helped induce knowledge workers to live downtown.
Experience the HealthLine yourself.
Linda Scardilli Krecic
Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA)