The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) is focusing on the needs of rural communities with its new pilot program. The new program aims to bring trip planning and payment technology for daily trips in rural areas of Minnesota.
The program went live on March 1 with the Transit app providing travel and route information. Residents and visitors alike can now plan for, and in some cases, pay for public transit and intercity bus trips by using the Transit app in southern and western Minnesota.
Transit is being used in over 300 cities around the world allowing users to see route and travel options for public transit and connecting services. Certain transit agencies will have in-app ticketing, allowing riders to pay for fares electronically and show their device to bus drivers to ride.
"This pilot with Transit app focuses on rural areas because this technology has not yet been made available outside of Minnesota's big cities," said Elliott McFadden, who serves as MnDOT’s Greater Minnesota Shared Mobility program coordinator. "The project will be the first to bring the latest technology to make it easier to plan and take trips in many communities in Greater Minnesota."
The pilot program plans to run through April 2024. It is being funded by two innovation grants from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) at a cost of $1.9 million. Researchers from the University of Minnesota will study both of the projects to help determine whether this technology should be scaled to the rest of the state, with the goal of better informing future public transit investment in Greater Minnesota.
Some participating transportation providers are:
- Brown County Heartland Express
- Central Community Transit
- Land to Air
- Prairie Five RIDES
- TRUE Transit
A full list of providers can be found here.