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Designing the future for transit in Washtenaw County

Ann Arbor Transportation Authority

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A number of significant transportation questions are currently facing Washtenaw County, including how to support local economic growth and attract investment, how to enhance quality of life and protect the environment, and how to facilitate healthy, active lifestyles.

Our role

In response to these challenging conditions, the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority, also known as TheRide, engaged Steer Davies Gleave to develop a 30-year transit master plan for the whole of Washtenaw County. The plan sets out how TheRide should move forward and help achieve the wider goals of the community; what services and facilities are needed; and how these can be funded and delivered.

How we did it

Our technical work was carried out in three phases:

  • Phase 1 - reviewed the existing socio-demographic data, travel patterns and transportation services across the County as well as regional forecasts to help present a picture of the County’s ‘needs’. A strategic report was produced which set the direction of the transit master plan and reflected the results of the first phase of outreach.
  • Phase 2 - development of a long list of potential transit options that could help meet the County’s needs. These options were taken to the public for discussion and refinement before an economic evaluation was undertaken. The most promising options were packaged into three scenarios and evaluated.
  • Phase 3 - scenarios were put to the public to gather input and also gauge public support. In early 2011 TheRide’s Board resolved to progress the most popular option, which had also performed best in the evaluation.

Steer Davies Gleave completed the Transit Master Plan by producing a set of documents on the transit proposals, the implementation process and the funding options. Since the completion of the Master Plan, Steer Davies Gleave has supported TheRide on the path to implementation by evaluating funding strategies for the plan, conducting a series of stakeholder meetings throughout eight Washtenaw County districts, developing a fare and ticketing strategy, developing a strategy for provision of demand responsive service, and developing a detailed five-year plan.

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