The COTA Short Range Transit Plan served as a vital tool to assess COTA’s operations, develop near-future transit enhancements, and prioritize expenditures to serve the community’s most immediate mobility needs post-pandemic.
Travel patterns had changed since the COVID-19 pandemic, and the agency was looking for ways to keep its services relevant to current and prospective riders. Additionally, regional growth continued pushing toward the edges of the COTA service area, and the agency was looking for short-range plans to bridge the gap until they can implement a regional bus priority network.
Foursquare ITP’s data-driven approach resulted in detailed diagnostic route profiles that highlighted the strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities associated with each route and COTA Plus microtransit zone in the context of a changing market environment. COTA staff were engaged through workshops to build consensus for the final recommendations, as well as through use of a customized service planning calculator that we provided to COTA to allow agency staff to test different scenarios for to see the implications in terms of revenue hours and vehicle needs.
The COTA short-range transit plan our team developed was evolutionary, rather than revolutionary. It recognized the strengths of many COTA routes and addressed opportunities to improve some poorly performing routes and demand response services through a combination of route re-alignments and COTA Plus microtransit service expansion. Recommendations developed by the Foursquare ITP team were fully incorporated into a final report submitted to COTA staff in June 2023.