Iowa DOT publishes long range plan for public transit

Sept. 11, 2020

The Iowa DOT has recently released an update to the Iowa Public Transit Long Range Plan to reflect today’s operating environment and current needs of Iowa’s public transportation system.

The Iowa Public Transit Long Range Plan update has been under development over the last 18 months, including researching the historical trends in demographics and passenger transportation usage, forecasting future projected needs within the public transit system, and devising strategies to address any challenges.

Some of the key findings identified within the Iowa Public Transit Long Range Plan include the following:

  • A number of challenges exist which inhibit the public transit system from achieving its potential, including use of older transit vehicles, having a limited pool of qualified transit vehicle drivers, perceptions of overcrowding on transit vehicles, and rapidly changing technologies such as on-demand ride hailing apps and automated vehicles.
  • Iowa’s rural transit regions continue to see a decrease in population and an increase in the age of riders while urban transit regions are experiencing population growth and an increase in population density. This presents unique challenges for ensuring all Iowans have adequate means of getting to work, to medical appointments, or any other destinations.
  • Based on recent studies, there is a net positive return-on-investment for public transit, indicating that net economic benefits are realized for every dollar invested in providing public transit services.
  • There is a current need to address accessibility of the public transit system for all riders while supporting workforce development by connecting employees with jobs. Recent pandemic responses also show a need to support essential segments of the economy by ensuring a reliable transportation system continues to operate regardless of disruptions.

With the completion of this Iowa Public Transit Long Range Plan, the planning process transitions into implementation. During this phase, the Iowa DOT will expand on the partnerships it has formed with key stakeholders in order to help guide investments among all of Iowa’s 35 public transit systems and support Iowa’s vision of rightsizing the system.

As this Iowa Public Transit Long Range Plan is implemented through various projects and activities outlined in the strategies section, the impact of these efforts will be measured and used to refine our approach to public transit and inform future Iowa Public Transit Long Range Plan updates.