An updated transit plan for the Arrowhead Region has just been released for public review. It’s a plan that’s aimed to coordinate resources and cover more ground with less.
The 2011 Local Human Service Transit Coordination Plan for the Arrowhead Region outlines broad strategies as well as specific project ideas to help the transportation-challenged – elderly, disabled, and low-income – get to medical appointments, services and jobs.
The strategies and project ideas identified in the plan will be used to set priorities and support competitive bidding for certain Federal Transit Administration (FTA) funds that are dedicated to assisting these groups.
Leveraging shared transportation resources
The Arrowhead Region comprises seven large, mostly rural counties – 10,635 square miles! Providing transportation services throughout this enormous area is a daunting prospect. And a few economic trends are making this challenge evermore daunting:
1) A large percentage of the region’s population is entering old age (and reduced income)
2) The per/mile cost of service (particularly due to fuel prices) has been increasing at a significant rate while
3) Federal and state transit assistance is facing significant cuts.
And that’s where the value of this transit plan comes in – to leverage existing resources (vehicles, drivers, etc.), to provide services more efficiently throughout the region with those limited resources.
Regional coordination is the essence of this plan
Many of the strategies identified in the coordinated transit plan call for projects that create more resource-sharing opportunities, or create “one-stop-shop” call centers that can assist with organizing and lining up ride opportunities.
Perhaps the most important project idea in the plan, however, is to convene a regional coordination body, bringing together the region’s service providers every year to continue to find ways to work together to overcome challenges. And that’s a big move forward!
Draft plan is open for comment
Can you think of another way to take on the daunting challenge to get everybody on board?
This plan is open for public comment until 11/10/11. For those of you interested, the plan can be reviewed on ARDC’s Regional Planning website.
Photo credit: Arrowhead Transit