With the collaboration of municipalities and county governments, regional planning organizations, and various transit agencies, we are embarking on a two state, 12- county study to create a bold regional transit vision for the region. We aim to create a collaborative long-term strategic regional transit plan that will include a transit vision for our region along with implementation strategies so that our project partners can use this regional transit vision to guide individual planning efforts and capital investment projects.
Developing A Transit Vision
The region is growing and will continue to grow, resulting in the greater use of our roadways. To keep the region moving we will need more options that maximize our public investments in the roadway network, allowing for their effective use. This means completing the existing and proposed roadway network with choices that showcase all efficiencies the road system has to offer.
For CONNECT Beyond, completing the roadway network with additional mobility options can be achieved in very simplistic terms, in three ways:
- Creating and improving the system of off-road public transportation such as light rail
- Enhancing local street networks with multi-modal options to support access to public transportation
- Using transit vehicles on the road network
Evaluate Existing System
What are we doing well?
Where are the gaps and barriers to mobility?
One of the first steps of CONNECT Beyond is to conduct a detailed evaluation of the region's current transit system, past planning efforts and our partners’ previous and current transportation plans. During this time we will also form stakeholder advisory committees and begin our initial public engagement.
Identify High Capacity Transit Corridors
Which corridors would be good candidates for regional transit connections to best connect people to jobs, services, education and other key destinations?
High capacity transit refers to transit modes that have more capacity than traditional bus, such as light rail, bus rapid transit, express bus, and commuter rail. In this step, we will identify high capacity transit corridors that are either extensions of current high capacity transit corridors in the region or new corridors.
Envision a Total Mobility Network
How can we best expand local services to increase transportation options and increase access to high capacity transit corridors?
In this step we will identify a multimodal transit network that will include a wide variety of transportation solutions, including bus connectors, demand response van networks, bike and pedestrian amenities, integration of ride share companies (e.g. Uber, Lyft, etc.), electric scooters, and other emerging technologies to supplement high capacity transit and commuter rail lines.
Develop Implementation Strategies
How can local transit providers and planning agencies use the results of the initiative?
In this step, we will develop implementation strategies for refining, connecting, and expanding the existing transit network that support the long-term vision and values of our region. Project Schedule
The Planning Process
Over 18 months, the CONNECT Beyond Initiative will:
- Evaluate Existing Transit Systems
- Make Recommendations for Potential Rapid Transit Lines
- Analyze Opportunities for Commuter Rail Operation
- Strategize Ways to Better Coordinate Regional Bus Services
- Develop a Transportation Demand Management Plan for Our Region
- Document Transit-Oriented Development Strategies
- Consider Ways to Improve Connections between Urban and Rural Transit Services