Iowans use our robust transit system to get them where they need to go. Whether shuttling commuters to and from work to reduce congestion, getting people to their medical appointments on time or transporting folks to shopping or entertainment venues, public transit strives to easily connect everyone in the most practical and safe means possible. To make our system even stronger, the Iowa DOT, working with our transit agency partners and your input, are developing a public transit plan to efficiently plan and manage limited resources to support an effective statewide public transit system.
The development of this Plan included researching the historical trends in demographics and passenger transportation usage, forecasting future projected needs within the public transit system, and devising strategies to address any challenges.
Some of the key findings identified within this Plan include:
- A number of challenges exist which inhibit the public transit system from achieving its potential, including use of older transit vehicles, having a limited pool of qualified transit vehicle drivers, perceptions of overcrowding on transit vehicles, and rapidly changing technologies such as on-demand ride hailing apps and automated vehicles.
- Iowa’s rural transit regions continue to see a decrease in population and an increase in the age of riders while urban transit regions are experiencing population growth and an increase in population density. This presents unique challenges for ensuring all Iowans have adequate means of getting to work, to medical appointments, or any other destinations.
- Based on recent studies, there is a net positive return-on-investment for public transit, indicating that net economic benefits are realized for every dollar invested in providing public transit services.
- There exists a current need to address accessibility of the public transit system for all riders, while supporting workforce development by connecting employees with jobs. Recent pandemic responses also show a need to support essential segments of the economy by ensuring a reliable transportation system continues to operate regardless of disruptions.
With the completion of this Plan, the planning process transitions into implementation. During this phase, the Iowa Department of Transportation will expand on the partnerships it has formed with key stakeholders in order to help guide investments among all of Iowa’s 35 public transit systems and support Iowa’s vision of rightsizing the system.