How will you support regional transit this year?

The Regional Transit Coordinating Council (RTCC) is an advisory body made up of representatives from Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA), local jurisdictions and MARC that comes together to discuss regional transit planning, coordination and implementation of transit priorities. Every year, the RTCC sets an ambitious agenda by adopting a new work plan.

Much of the work plan this year focuses on the implementation of the newly adopted Smart Moves 3.0 Regional Transit and Mobility Plan.  (Haven’t seen the plan yet?  Check it out at kcsmartmoves.org.) MARC, KCATA, and area transit partners will work toward finding new solutions to job access challenges, expanding RideKC Freedom On-Demand service into additional areas within the region, as well as advancing mobility hub planning and Bus Rapid Transit corridor studies for Independence Avenue and North Oak Trafficway.

In addition, the RTCC work plan focuses on continuing to make the bus easier for riders to access. This includes expanding real-time trip planning and tracking information for the whole region, pilot testing off-vehicle ticket vending machines, and making the mobile ticketing app that is currently in pilot testing a permanent feature.

This year, there is an emphasis on funding in the work plan. In coordination with MARC’s 2018 Call for Projects, the RTCC will assemble a list of priority projects that will help to advance transit and mobility in the region. RTCC will confirm the list at its meeting on March 14, 2018. RTCC will then communicate this list of priorities to MARC’s planning and programming committees as they weigh in on which regional projects to prioritize and ultimately fund.

How will you support transit in 2018? That’s the question we asked RTCC members and other meeting attendees in January.  See their responses below!

  • “Successfully transition ADA eligibility from paper applications to in-person assessments for all regions.”
  • “Better transportation to and within Liberty.”
  • “Do my best in helping to facilitate implementation of Riverfront and Main Street extensions of the Kansas City Streetcar.”
  • “Seek flexible and affordable opportunities to empower mobility-challenged suburbanites.”
  • “Develop models for Transportation Management Associations for the region to facilitate job access to regional employment centers.”
  • “Spread the streetcar gospel.”
  • “Ride public transit services, at least once per week.”
  • “Support megaregional travel across agency boundaries. Connecting KCMO to other major metros.”
  • “I resolve to be ultra-fiscally responsible when designing and implementing transit related programs and services.”
  • “I will plan a trip online (that includes at least one transfer) and will use the RideKC app to pay for the trip.”
  • “Partner with the Chamber to move their Big 5 transportation initiative forward.”
  • “Convene conversations with smaller communities.”
  • “Look under every rock for money.”
  • “Make a big ask for regional money.”
  • “Free transit service for all!”
  • “Improve the process to connect potential riders to service providers (on-demand services). Note: Update Link for Care and connect to RideKC Freedom.”
  • “Advocate for regional transit funding/collaboration with friends, family and colleagues to help build consensus.”
  • “Connections/rides/buses – more connections to employers in Clay Co. and Johnson Co. More conducive to shift work and closer to business hubs.  Why not connections to Olathe and Lee’s Summit?”
  • “Don’t talk about transit without talking about land use.”
  • “Work on and support the streetcar extension.”
  • “Support and help assist in Prospect MAX completion and autonomous transit.”
  • “Ride the bus!”
  • “Continue to educate the public about the importance of transit, elevate the conversation regionally and help move regional funding conversation forward.”
  • “More frequency, better marketing, real-time info!”
  • “Develop regional funding proposal for vote by region’s counties.”
  • “Be mindful of moment but not at the expense of the future. Of course, I will do this riding transit.”
  • “Social media campaign and fliers, etc. at stops for RideKC app to increase use and ridership.”

See the full RTCC work plan

To learn more about RTCC, visit their committee page

 

A snapshot of RideshareKC commutes

The RideshareKC website provides a quick way for commuters to find easy alternatives to driving alone. Commuters go there to connect with carpool and vanpool partners, find transit routes and bike paths, locate nearby park-and-ride lots and, if they want, log their commute trips.

The site also provides a wealth of data the RideshareKC staff can use to improve services. Anonymous data from the commute profiles in the database helps us learn more about where our participants live and work and how they travel.

Commuter trip origin by ZIP code

The map below shows where RideshareKC commuters begin their trips, by ZIP code. Darker colors indicate more points of origin. The data shows large clusters in several suburban locations — along I-35 in northeast Johnson County, especially near Olathe; in the northland between I-29 and Highway 169; and further west where a large island of commuters is centered around Lawrence, Kansas. Note that there is also a heavy concentration of trip origins in more urbanized areas, including the downtown and midtown areas of Kansas City, Missouri. Click to zoom in on a larger version of the map.

Commuter workplace destinations by ZIP code

Notice that workplace destinations are most highly concentrated in a few large activity centers — the KCMO central business district, the areas around KU Medical Center and UMKC and in northeast Johnson County along Interstates 35 and 435. These locations have high concentrations of employers. Click to zoom in on a larger version of the map.

Connecting the dots

The final map shows individual commutes. Green dots indicate origin and red dots indication destinations. The shortest lines represent walking and cycling commutes or short trips on the bus. The longer lines — for example those between the outer ring suburbs and the city center — represent either people riding together in carpools and vanpools or trips on one of the long distance express buses. Most commute profiles are “suburb-to-city-center,” but some represent a reverse “city-center-to-suburb” or a “suburb-to-suburb” commute. Although these maps do not show the times of day for these commuters, most work regular weekday office hours. Click on the map for a larger version.

It is important to note that this commute pattern does not exactly reflect the overall distribution of work trips in the Greater Kansas City region. This data is limited to registered users in our RideshareKC database. However, it does show the locations and corridors where carpooling, vanpooling and transit are the most attractive to commuters. Do you see your commute drawn here? Then there is a good chance you can find a carpool partner or other alternative to driving alone. Visit RideshareKC.org to learn more about using alternative transportation.

What should our transportation system look like in 2050?

The Mid-America Regional Council has begun work on a new long-range Regional Transportation Plan for Greater Kansas City — RTP 2050. This plan will serve as a blueprint for federal transportation investments and improvements for the next 30 years. The plan will cover all modes of surface transportation, including streets and highways, public transportation, biking and walking and goods movement, as well as important issues like equity, safety, security and the environment.

View the RTP 2050 webpage.

RTP 2050 must reflect the values and vision of the community. Throughout the planning process, there will be many ways for transportation stakeholders and members of the community to share their thoughts on different aspects of the plan.

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Use the hashtag #GoKC2050 to share your ideas and photos on social media.

Share your thoughts on an amendment to short-range transportation plan

We would like your feedback on changes to the 2018-2022 Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP). The TIP is the region’s short-range program, identifying projects to receive federal funds and projects of regional significance to be implemented during the next three to five year period. MARC amends the TIP on a quarterly cycle to accommodate additions and changes to projects.

The proposed amendment includes 33 projects:

  • 7 new projects to be added, including, but not limited to:
    • #280140 – Sign replacement on I-435 south of K-32
    • #690251 – Slide repair on M-350
    • #990314 – Job order contracting for bridge repair
  • 26 modified projects, including, but not limited to:
    • #996095 – Bike share phases 3 and 4. Schedule change to FFY 2018*
    • #690369 – Noland & M-350 intersection. Schedule change to FFY 2020*

* As noted in the MARC Reasonable Progress Policy, TTPC and the MARC Board of Directors must approve the requested schedule change.

Details of these projects are available for review here.

Share your comments by Friday, Jan. 5, 2018.

Submit comments:

  • By mail: Mid-America Regional Council, 600 Broadway, Suite 200, Kansas City, MO 64105
  • By phone: 816-474-4240
  • By fax: 816-421-7758
  • By email: tip@marc.org

MARC’s Total Transportation Policy Committee will document and review all comments. Find additional information about the MARC transportation planning process in A Guide to Transportation Decision Making and in MARC’s Public Participation Plan.

Special allocation approved to help fund replacement of Buck O’Neil (Broadway) Bridge

At the October Total Transportation Policy Committee (TTPC) meeting, the city of Kansas City, Missouri, requested a special allocation of $40 million in Surface Transportation Program (STP) funds to help pay for a new bridge to replace the existing John J. “Buck” O’Neil (Broadway) Crossing of US-169 over the Missouri River between Clay and Jackson counties in Missouri.

TTPC convened a special joint meeting with the Missouri STP Priorities Committee on Nov. 13, 2017, to discuss the request. The group considered three alternatives:

  • Allocate all available FFY 2021-2022 STP funds, estimated at $35 million, to the project.
  • Allocate $40 million to the project over four years (FFY 2021 to 2024).
  • Consider the request with all other applications in the upcoming call for projects.

A majority of members present supported allocating $40 million for the project over the next two programming cycles, provided that the city of Kansas City, Missouri, does not apply for other STP funds during this period. Both TTPC and the MARC Board of Directors both reviewed and unanimously approved this recommendation at their November meetings.

The allocation of $20 million to the new bridge in 2018 will leave approximately $15 million for other projects during that round of funding (FFY 2021-2022). MARC staff will review the project in 2019 to ensure reasonable progress has been made in securing remaining funding and completing key project development activities prior to the 2020 call for projects (FFY 2023-2024).

Earlier this year, the Missouri Department of Transportation determined that major repairs are needed in the near term to address serious issues with the condition of the bridge structure. MoDOT initially proposed a $50+ million project to make these repairs, which would require complete closure of the bridge for up to two years and serve only to restore the bridge, with no upgrades to meet changing community needs.

Over the past year, MARC’s Beyond the Loop study of the bridge and its surroundings has revealed strong community support for replacing the bridge with a new structure that would strengthen connections to downtown and nearby communities. The study estimates a new bridge would cost approximately $200 million. MoDOT committed to pay half of the cost of a replacement bridge ($100 million) if the city of Kansas City could provide the other half. The $40 million STP allocation leaves a $60 million gap for the city to fund.

The city of Kansas City, Missouri, has submitted — and MoDOT has conditionally approved — a cost-share project to make immediate short-term repairs of the existing bridge and initiate environmental studies for a replacement. These repairs may require short-term full or partial closures of the bridge.

STP funds are suballocated to MARC, the region’s metropolitan planning organization (MPO), by the Federal Highway Administration in order to fund a variety of multimodal and roadway projects on federal highways. The Kansas STP Priorities and Missouri STP Priorities committees make recommendations to allocate these funds, with TTPC and MARC Board approval, through a programming process that occurs every two years.

Take our survey focused on transportation for seniors and individuals with disabilities

The Mid-America Regional Council is updating its Coordinated Plan, which establishes regional goals and strategies for transportation and mobility services for older adults and individuals with disabilities. It also guides decisions about federal grant funding for enhanced mobility services in the Kansas City region.

The short survey seeks to engage populations with mobility challenges, with the goal of learning more about how to tailor existing services and create new programs to meet the needs of these populations.

Take the survey in English  |  Toma la encuesta en español

Anyone can help MARC in this endeavor by distributing this survey to users of special transportation services, including older adults, individuals with disabilities, veterans, and low-income populations.

Visually-impaired survey takers may participate by calling 816-701-8247. Print versions may be obtained by contacting Drew Stiehl at dstiehl@marc.org. In-person tabling events will be announced soon.

You can get more involved in this process and learn about the results of this survey by attending the Mobility Advisory Committee meetings on Dec. 11 and Feb. 12 (locations TBA). To learn more, please contact Drew Stiehl at dstiehl@marc.org or visit the Mobility Advisory Committee website.

OGL strives to remain on cutting edge of evolving technology

Given recent interest in adaptive traffic signals, connected vehicle systems and other new technologies, here’s some background on MARC’s Operation Green Light (OGL) program’s interest in and capacity to support these innovations.

Adaptive Signal Control

  • The current OGL technology can support adaptive signal control.
  • OGL and local agency staff have worked with adaptive technology providers.  If you are interested in exploring the ability to deploy Traffic-Adaptive Signal Timing and/or Traffic Responsive Operations in your jurisdiction, please contact me or one of the OGL staff.

Connected Vehicles

  • Advancements in connected vehicles are happening now. As such, OGL staff have been part of discussions with vehicle technology providers, which we have shared with the OGL Steering Committee.  There are opportunities for the region to advance the technology that now exists that allows traffic signal information (Signal Phasing and Timing, or SPaT) to be shared with third party vendors that can be displayed on in-vehicle systems.

Transportation System Management & Operations

  • OGL staff are involved in real-time operations to respond to freeway diversions from a crash or managing signal changes due to non-reoccurring traffic.
  • OGL is highly involved with overseeing any traffic signal malfunctions and reporting them in an effort to speed repair work.

The OGL program continues to set the standard on a national level for regional inter-agency cooperation and technical innovation.  As technology evolves at an ever-increasing pace, OGL will continue to strive to integrate the best of these technologies into the program to benefit all who live and work in the Kansas City region.

Find out more about Operation Green Light