Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Iowa City Transit has embarked on a comprehensive operational analysis of their transit system and invited University of Iowa CAMBUS and Coralville Transit to join the study. The three transit systems have selected consulting group Nelson/Nygaard to conduct the study. The study objective is to provide recommendations to improve services and assist with strategic planning to meet operational goals. 

A kick-off meeting was held at the Iowa City Transit facility on Wednesday, August 28.  In the meeting, transit system managers discussed goals of the study and the process needed to achieve those goals. The primary goals identified were route analysis, late-night/weekend service, downtown traffic congestion, and facility needs. Other goals include the viability of using electric-powered buses, stop locations and amenities, and route schedules.  

Route Analysis 

The dynamics of Iowa City, Coralville and the University of Iowa campus have changed remarkably over time. Development and populations has increased rapidly over the last 10-15 years.  Transit agencies have made incremental changes to adapt and are eager to learn if new route structures would better suit the needs of the communities served.  Transit agencies also hope the study can identify if areas in the community are underserved by transit.  

Late Night/Weekend Service 

Each agency is interested in learning how to adapt their late night and weekend services to meet the needs of riders. Riders have been presented with more transportation options in recent years including new ride-hailing service (Uber/Lyft) and the university’s NiteRide. Transit agencies are looking to better understand where services are and are not needed during night and weekend hours. 

Downtown Iowa City 

In recent years, downtown Iowa City has become more congested with vehicles, pedestrians, mopeds, and high-rise housing developments.  The transit agencies hope to receive guidance on how transit can be better utilized in the downtown area to reduce road congestion. The study also will provide analysis of infrastructure and how changes could improve downtown mobility for all persons.   

Facility Needs 

Growing demand on area transit systems also requires additional support for operations and maintenance. The study will include an analysis of current and future operational and maintenance facility needs.  

Public Participation 

An important and emphasized part of the study will include collecting feedback from current transit riders and non-riders.  The three agencies are eager to understand the expectations and values of riders and potential riders. 

During the week of September 9, representatives from Nelson/Nygaard will ride buses on all three transit systems to conduct on-board rider surveys.  Surveys will be short and seek to understand current rider behavior patterns and values.  Surveyors will be riding CAMBUS routes on Wednesday, September 11 and Thursday, September 12.  The survey will be on paper and riders can turn their survey in to any bus driver over the next week. 

In mid-October through November, Nelson/Nygaard will hold public meetings in the local communities. Public Meetings will gather more information about rider preferences, values, and expectations of the transit systems. During this time, an online “Design Your Own Transit System” tool will be available for riders to provide additional input about what they’d like to see in any or all of the three transit systems. 

After soliciting feedback from the riders, community, and transit agencies; Nelson/Nygaard will provide options for changes to the transit systems. These options will be presented to the community for another round of feedback in early 2020. 

The study is currently projected to last through June 2020. CAMBUS will continue to provide more information about public input opportunities and progress of the transit study throughout the study.  For questions or more information about the study, please email cambus-transit@uiowa.edu or visit https://transportation.uiowa.edu/iowa-city-area-transit-study-icats