Chapter 2: Iowa’s Transit Context
Statewide socio-demographic information for Iowa and modal passenger transportation trends.
Chapter 3: Needs and Strategies
Transit needs survey feedback from the transit agencies, transit dependency analysis to identify transit hotspots, and strategies that were selected to address or mitigate the needs that were identified.
Chapter 4: Financing
Analysis of historic and forecasted capital and operating expenses, as well as anticipated revenue. Discussion of the economic benefits of public transit.
Chapter 5: Implementation and Evaluation
Framework in which this plan will be carried out and its strategies executed. Discussion of system performance measures and conclusions.
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The last comprehensive statewide public transit plan was the Iowa In Motion Transit Plan, adopted in 1999. Since that plan, the Iowa DOT has conducted more specific planning efforts including the Iowa Statewide Passenger Transportation Funding Study in 2009, the Iowa Park and Ride System Plan in 2014, and the Iowa DOT Transit Asset Management Group Plan in 2018.
While these plans and studies each have their specific focus, this Plan looks at the public transit system from a broader point of view. This will enable us to take a refreshed look at transit from today’s perspective. This Plan will seek to coordinate planning, programming, and technical assistance statewide to support transit operations at the local level. The goal with the newly updated Plan is to provide specific strategies and improvements that can be implemented and revisited over time.
The process of planning is a collaborative process that is in a constant cycle of being developed, implemented, assessed, and revised. While the process itself is cyclical, one of its major milestones and culminating products is the publication of a long-range plan. This plan is a product that documents the understanding of trends leading up to the current situation, identifies needs and gaps that exist now or in the future, and presents courses of action to address those needs through efficient allocation of resources, while monitoring progress.
Long-range plans, such as the Iowa Public Transit Long-Range Plan and its umbrella multi-modal plan, Iowa in Motion 2045, are updated every five years in order to stay current with the contemporary operating environment, emerging trends, legislation, funding, and technological developments. As situations develop and factors change, the plan also needs to adapt. Results from previous planning efforts and newly collected data help us evaluate, anticipate, and respond to changing needs.
The analysis and forecasts in the early portion of the plan represent a systematic process of looking at variables that influence transit travel demand in Iowa. During this process, we can identify gaps or redundancies in service and work on long-range plans to adjust to changing needs. These strategies are more broadly characterized as “right-sizing” to better align the statewide transit system with the anticipated future needs.
Plan content will include the following.
Aggregated results from the March Transit Needs Survey were shared at the May 2019 Passenger Transportation Summit in Ankeny. At the summit, representatives from transit agencies, local government officials, and members of the public brainstormed possible solutions to the identified needs areas.
Targeted stakeholder groups began meeting regularly in September 2019, including an external stakeholder group that serves as a committee that reflects the public interest and includes broad representation from a diverse spectrum of organizations. An internal stakeholder group represents various units across the department to ensure the opportunity for a wide range of perspectives to provide input for the Plan. Each of these representatives interacts with passenger transportation or is involved with coordinating activities that may impact public transit.
We’re initiating a survey to gather input on the direction of public transit in the state. The survey includes questions about where people want to live and how they want to travel in the future, how they feel the department should approach public transportation services, and what the public thinks of investing and prioritizing components of the transit system. This input will help shape the action plan.
Throughout this winter and through spring 2020, draft analysis and content will be discussed with stakeholders and made available for review. Additional public input will take place as the draft plan comes together, with the goal of finalizing the public transit plan in summer 2020.
The final Plan will become a guide to assist the department in making informed public transit decisions for the state. The strategies and action items within the plan serve as the starting points for what will become the implementation phase of the planning process. As with most of our other long-range plans, the transit plan will be revisited after a 5-year implementation period as the results of the performance monitoring can be analyzed and new guidance, input, and feedback can be gathered. This leads to a renewed effort to update the Plan as the process continues its cycle.