MICROTRANSIT STUDY HIGHLIGHTS
The study evaluates how the Greater Peoria Mass Transit District (GPMTD) can use microtransit to improve transportation access and enhance its existing fixed route bus and demand-response paratransit and dial-a-ride systems. The study’s primary goal was to assess the feasibility of GPMTD using microtransit to improve mobility for the people in Peoria that rely on public transit to access employment, healthcare, grocery stores, and other essential destinations. A secondary objective was to improve transit access in under-served areas while enhancing the existing bus system.
The four potential microtransit zones are:
Downtown Peoria Zone
This zone is designed to improve general mobility and improve access to critical destinations for high-need populations. The zone includes the South Peoria Neighborhood, Bradley University, OSF Saint Francis Medical Center, and some retail in East Peoria.
Farmington Rd. North Bartonville
This zone includes Northwoods Mall and Illinois Central College (Peoria Campus) and is expected to expand mobility options and reduce travel times in an area with primarily north-south bus routes.
North Peoria Zone
This zone aims to improve transit access in an area with few bus connections. It also includes access to the airport and Peoria County Jail.
Citywide Zone (off-peak)
This zone covers most of the GPMTD service area, including part of East Peoria, and would provide off-peak service during the evenings and weekends when the existing bus network runs infrequently.
This report is intended to assess the potential for microtransit in the Greater Peoria region. If GPTMD and local officials decide to implement a microtransit service, the next steps will be to choose the preferred microtransit zone and service design, select an operating model, secure funding, and procure the necessary software/vehicles/operations. It will be important to market the new service during the launch process and educate future passengers on how to book rides and use the service. Once the service is launched, it should be monitored and adjusted using the live service data. Key performance indicators can be used to evaluate the success of the service. These metrics may include ridership, customer satisfaction, average passenger wait times, the productivity of the service (passengers per vehicle hour), the average cost per ride, and on-time performance at pickup or dropoff. Throughout the entire process, it is recommended that GPMTD continue to engage with the local community to ensure that the service being implemented meets the community’s needs.
KEY POINTS ABOUT MICROTRANSIT
Microtransit, also known as on-demand transit, uses technology to route a fleet of vehicles based on real-time passenger demand. Microtransit is similar to a bus in that passengers are asked to walk to meet a vehicle at a ‘virtual bus stop’ that may, in general, be up to ¼ of a mile from their requested location. However, it is different from a bus in that there are no schedules or route maps. Instead, trips must start and end within zones that are typically determined based on need.
Passengers can book a trip using a smartphone application (“app”), a website, or through a call center. Each microtransit service has specific operating hours and geographies that constrain where and when a passenger can travel.
As part of this study, the project team conducted stakeholder outreach through a series of virtual focus group meetings and follow-up surveys. This section incorporates high-level takeaways and notable stakeholder feedback meant to enrich the overarching narratives we gathered. Participants were generally receptive of microtransit as an opportunity for Greater Peoria. Reviews of initial zones were mixed, and a few participants expressed the need for transit options outside of City boundaries as their highest priority. Of the zones that were presented, the Downtown Peoria zone received the most support. However, participants were excited for the possibility of a future microtransit service.
For access to the microtransit report, please click on the following link: Greater Peoria Mass Transit District Microtransit Study
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