The Regional Commission recently partnered with the New River Valley Metropolitan Planning Organization to complete a Regional Transit Study. The focus of the work is on bus stops. Particularly stops where the region’s four public transportation provider’s services overlap. Overlapping stops are important because they create opportunities to expand the public transportation service area beyond a single community. In the New River Valley, transit services overlap in eight locations.
Key findings and recommendations include: 1) assigning a service environment that links demand to minimum design requirements; 2) synchronizing arrival/departure times; and 3) creating bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure within a ½-mile of stop locations. Each strategy is aimed at attracting and retaining ridership. As a starting point, the study provides some insights and lessons learned by other communities during the application and evaluation of investments/policy changes.
More than 800 survey responses were collected between April 2015 and February 2016. In general, most riders felt comfortable and even more felt safe at existing bus stops. Riders would like to see more amenities such as a bus schedule, seating, shelter, and lighting. The combination of survey responses, case studies, and feedback from subject experts was utilized to develop study recommendations.
Bus stops are only a single component of attracting and retaining transit ridership. Service availability, diversity in ridership, connectivity to other modes of transportation, and even bus operators have a role in the quality of a public transportation system. As adjustments to the transit system are made, those who use the services will need to help evaluate the value of investments.
The study process was led by the Regional Transit Coordinating Council. The Council was established in 2012 to improve dialog between the region’s transit partners. For further information about the project visit: https://nrvrc.wpengine.com/regionaltransitstudy/ or contact Elijah Sharp ([email protected]), 540-639-9313, ext. 210.