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The Regional Rider - Spring Cleaning EditionPrint

Thriving Communities | March 25, 2014 | By James Bruckbauer

Transit ridership is at its highest level since 1956.

Wow! Last month’s Buses Without Borders event was a huge success! We heard terrific presentations from Vance Edwards, Kirk Steudle, Roger Millar, and Jay Flint.  They talked about how reliable and efficient transit, when marketed well, can become a huge boost for tourist-based rural areas like ours. Here's a short recap. You can even watch the full presentation here.
 
Now comes the fun part: How do we carry that message forward into an action plan for this region?
 
Well, stay tuned. Benzie Bus will soon conduct a “market analysis” to figure out who wants to travel where in Benzie and surrounding counties. Other agencies also are interested in figuring out the market potential for cross-county routes. It's all about creating a better connected system. I'm sure you'll hear more about that soon.
 
Buses are booming!
National transit ridership is at its highest level since 1956, according to a new report by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). (1956 also happens to be the last year people could ride a streetcar down Woodward Ave. in Detroit.) Plus, the amount we drive continues to drop, according to the Federal Highway Administration.
 
Interestingly, it’s not gas prices that are keeping people out of their cars. According to APTA, there’s a fundamental shift occurring in how people are moving around their communities.

"People in record numbers are demanding more public transit services and communities are benefiting with strong economic growth,” said APTA President and CEO Michael Melaniphy in an APTA press release.
 
“Access to public transportation matters,” continued Melaniphy. “Community leaders know that public transportation investment drives community growth and economic revitalization.”

We’re glad buses are part of this region’s transportation solution! Thank you for your leadership, Benzie Bus, Bay Area Transportation Authority, Cadillac/Wexford Transit Authority, Kalkaska Public Transit Authority, and Antrim County Transit!
 
The Rider is changin’
The Regional Rider—this monthly e-newsletter that grew from 20 to hundreds of fans in just one year—is changing. Instead of focusing just on “regional transit connections,” the content will expand to focus not just on buses, but more broadly on carpooling, busing, biking, and walking in the Grand Traverse area. It will be part of Local Motion, a new program dedicated to helping people get around.
 
Upcoming events

 
Parting thoughts
The U.S. Government Overestimates How Much We Drive (Washington Post)
We’re Driving Less, So Should We Stop Building New Roads? (AtlanticCities)
Highway Account of the Highway Trust Fund To Be Empty By Year’s End (USDOT)
3 Charts That Show Why the Commuter Benefits System is Broken (AtlanticCities)
MLUI Launches Traverse City Train Study (MLUI)
Grand Rapids Re-launches Streetcar Study (MLive)
How to Make Waiting for the Bus Feel Much, Much Shorter (AtlanticCities)
 
See you on the bus!

The Regional Rider is a monthly update on the efforts to coordinate transit service in the six-county Grand Vision region. It’s published by the Michigan Land Use Institute’s transportation policy specialist, James Bruckbauer. For feedback, or to receive an emailed version every month, contact James at james@mlui.org or follow him on Twitter at @jimbruckb.