Derailed: How Nashville’s Ambitious Transit Plan Crashed at the Polls—And What Other Cities Can Learn From It

In May of 2018, “Let’s Move Nashville,” a referendum to direct billions toward rail and bus expansion throughout the city, was defeated by a 64-36 margin. Pundits pointed to the political scandals of Mayor Megan Barry, the referendum’s primary champion, as the primary reason for the loss at the polls. But the full story is not so simple. Our new report, “Derailed,” examines how the Nashville referendum was weakened by rushed, insular planning that produced a transportation package out of touch with the needs and desires of Nashville residents. Synthesized from more than 40 interviews with people involved in all aspects of the referendum, “Derailed” identifies key lessons for elected officials, agency leaders, and transit advocates seeking to bolster transit at the ballot box.