Council approves METRO name, vehicle graphics for LRT/BRT transitway system

Date: Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Metropolitan Council has approved the final piece of the identity and branding framework for the region’s developing transitway network of light-rail transit (LRT) and bus-rapid transit (BRT).

The newly named METRO system will consist of transitways developed as LRT and station-to-station BRT, and each line will be identified with a color name. The Council also adopted branding elements that include the traditional Circle-T logo and designs for vehicle graphics and station signs that highlight the regional transit colors of blue, red, yellow and white.

The overall goal of the new system name and brand is to establish a single consistent expectation for users of LRT/BRT services as the transitway system continues to develop.

“The METRO system name identifies the developing LRT/BRT services as unique,” said Arlene McCarthy, director of Metropolitan Transportation Services for the Council. “METRO riders can expect fast, frequent, and convenient service, whether they ride the Blue Line to Target Field, the Red Line to Mall of America, or the Green Line to the State Capitol.”

Current and future LRT and BRT lines providing station-to-station, all-day service — such as the current Hiawatha LRT and the future Central Corridor LRT and Cedar Avenue BRT lines — will have color names, as part of a larger effort to brand and identify the region’s LRT/BRT transitways.

In addition, the vehicles, station information, and related materials will all have the same look so riders know what to expect, even though multiple service providers in the region will be operating these services. The new logo and look will distinguish the METRO system, composed of LRT and BRT services, from other bus routes in the region, which will keep their current look.

The Metropolitan Council approved the use of specific color names in July 2011. Color names will be used only for LRT and BRT service in the metro area – there will be no changes to commuter bus and rail, including the Northstar Line, or regular-route bus service.

The Council adopted the following line names:

  • Blue Line: Hiawatha LRT

  • Green Line: Central/Southwest LRT

  • Red Line: Cedar Avenue BRT

  • Orange Line: I-35W BRT

The Blue Line (Hiawatha LRT) is currently in operation. The eastern half of the Green Line (Central Corridor) will be complete in 2014, with a western extension (Southwest Corridor) slated for service in 2018. The Red Line is under construction and expected to open in November 2012. The Orange Line is in development.

The Central and Southwest LRT lines have one color, because when complete, that line will allow riders a “one-seat ride” from downtown St. Paul through downtown Minneapolis to Eden Prairie — one train will provide service to both corridors.

Prior to choosing the METRO system name, the Council engaged the public, and a range of transit stakeholders for feedback, including the Counties Transit Improvement Board and Dakota County, where the first BRT line will open later this year. The public submitted names in early 2010, a group of public- and private-sector marketing professionals helped narrow the choices, and the name and accompanying graphics were market-tested with potential riders and current riders.

The vehicle and station designs will become visible to users later this year during construction of the Red Line and Green Line. The Blue Line will start to bear METRO branding as it goes through its regular refresh schedule.

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