For small towns and hard-to-reach areas, on-demand microtransit could offer an effective alternative to fixed-route buses.
“Wilson, with a population of about 50,000, replaced bus service with these on-demand minivans almost two years ago in partnership with a company called Via. The city pays Via for vehicles, drivers and software to run it all.” City planner Rodger Lentz told NPR that “the service runs about 3,700 trips a week, and that's more than 2 1/2 times the ridership of the old bus system pre-pandemic.”
While this type of on-demand transit can connect hard-to-reach neighborhoods, serve small rural communities, and provide an efficient way for people to get to work, transportation consultant Jarrett Walker “worries that citywide service, like in Wilson, might not be sustainable. It would be cost-prohibitive for bigger cities and increase congestion.”
In Wilson, “Lentz says the ride service costs the city of Wilson about 25% more than buses. But for a smaller city like his, he thinks it's worth it.”
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HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research
Mpact: Mobility, Community, Possibility
Lassen County Planning and Building Services
City of San Carlos
National Capital Planning Commission
This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.