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Community Van Carpool & Signs at stops

I work with two community groups and these ideas came out of our community planning process.

Photo of Joanna Deming
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I work for several neighborhood groups. As a part of our transit and mobility planning process, residents have asked for a community van that could be used to take neighbors where they need to go. Despite existing resources, residents still struggle to get help visiting the doctor, going to the grocery store, and getting work. Barriers are hours of service and cost. Our neighborhood would like to have a van that we could use to fill transportation gaps and help residents get where they need to go. Residents would also like attractive informative signs that tell them the bus routes and schedules to help those without mobile technology or data.

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Photo of Mitch Turck

Hi Joanna Deming  -- what you're referring to is formally known as "microtransit" (the "micro" referring to some form of mass transit that is smaller than a bus/train), of which "paratransit" is a notable subset for people with disabilities.

There are some folks in PGH working on solutions in this vein... I'll echo Aly Stone 's question re: what neighborhoods you're referring to. I would also say that unlike many other transit solutions, this is one that can easily be tested for viability by any community member with a van or SUV. If there is any fundamental point that's worth driving home about the battle for transit funding, it is that one needs to show legitimate demand for the service to make a convincing argument. Ergo, the most effective case your organizations could make for public or private investment in such a service would be to show how microtransit is already working in your community without any outside funding.

Photo of Joanna Deming

Fineview and Perry Hilltop (Northside) - If we had a van and someone to coordinate rides, we could pilot the project.

Photo of Mitch Turck

I think we can all agree that giving someone everything they need to pilot a project would lead to piloting said project.

What I'm saying is that because you are battling with many others in the region over a limited pool of funds, you stand to make a much more compelling case than others because your pilot -- unlike high-speed rail or a new airport -- can be reasonably simulated on a lower scale in order to prove that the coordination is possible, that the demand exists, and that the outcomes are positive.

And on the flipside, failing to simulate a pilot given such reasonable hurdles only further brings into question its viability. I point all this out in part because you (or someone) will obviously have to defend such points to the COTC if you want this idea to progress.

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