Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation is a state agency that reports to the Secretary of Transportation. Our focus is the movement of people and goods throughout the Commonwealth, and our primary areas of activity are rail, public transportation, and commuter services. DRPT works with local, regional, state, and federal governments, as well as private entities to provide support for projects and programs by:
- Assessing feasibility and environmental impacts of new and expanding services;
- Conducting statewide rail and public transportation studies;
- Planning and programming new services and capital improvement projects; and
- Providing leadership, advocacy, technical assistance and funding.
Rail transportation involves the movement of people and goods on railways owned and operated by private railroad companies. There are more than a dozen railroad companies and services in Virginia, including Norfolk Southern, CSX, Amtrak, VRE, and several shortline railroads. Freight rail programs help ensure the economic vitality of businesses and communities with a cost-effective, reliable way to bring goods to market. Our partnership with the Port of Virginia provides Virginia with a gateway to the global economy. Passenger rail programs relieve congestion on highways and offer travelers more transportation choices. We work with our partners to continue to expand access to passenger rail in the Commonwealth. DRPT supports both passenger and freight rail initiatives through funding options, expert advice, research, and advocacy. We represent the state’s interests in interstate and national rail issues.
Public Transportation systems help manage traffic congestion and provide transportation choices while safely transporting people to destinations across the Commonwealth. Public transportation systems in Virginia range in size from two-bus programs in small towns to larger regional systems like WMATA (Metrorail) in Northern Virginia and HRT in Hampton Roads. Some systems are fee-based, while others provide free access for the elderly and disabled. By advising, supporting and funding public transportation programs statewide, DRPT helps provide safe, reliable transportation options for everyone.
Commuter Services Programs work to promote carpools, vanpools, telework and other alternative modes of transportation to Virginia’s commuters. These programs not only save people (and employers) time and money, they can also help manage traffic congestion and benefit the environment. DRPT partners with commuter service programs operating in the Commonwealth to provide people with information, business incentives, and ridematching services at no charge.
This is part one in a series on the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) with most information borrowed from drpt.virginia.gov.