MDB Insight Blog

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Why Your Community Needs Accessible Green Transit

Public transit systems are generally more environmentally friendly than individual vehicle use, simply because buses and trains move many more people at a time than a single vehicle. But there’s a good chance you can make your existing public transit system even greener, with a few tweaks.

High-achieving green transit should focus on maximum efficiency, high ridership, and accessibility. In order to achieve all of these things, your system needs to focus, first and foremost, on users. A public transit system is a long-term investment. With a well-designed system intended to best serve the user, the ROI will deliver in time.

Public transit is not just for big cities. With some due diligence and a solid plan, small communities can embrace public transit as well. The Northern Alberta Development Council (NADC) developed a guide of best practices specifically focused on making transit sustainable and accessible in smaller communities. 

How to Achieve Maximum Public Transit Efficiency

Data, data, data. Everything comes down to data. You need good data to make your public transit system more efficient. A survey can help you collect the real-time data you need to refine your public transit system.

Maximum efficiency doesn’t just mean full buses with low emissions. Maximum efficiency means a bus schedule that runs when your community actually needs it, and not when they don’t. It means fares are affordable enough that people will choose transit over driving their own vehicle. It means stopping at the most convenient and important locations. It may mean connecting with other towns or cities in your area. 

It also means keeping vehicles well maintained for lowest emissions, and exploring fossil fuel alternatives, like hybrid electric buses. There are many city buses around the world operating on non-traditional fuels like hydrogen.

How to Improve Ridership for Green Transit

High ridership numbers are connected to maximum efficiency. You’ll achieve higher ridership if fares are low enough to be affordable for the lowest earners in your community, if the bus schedule gets people to their jobs, school, or activities on time, and if transit stops are located conveniently for residents. 

Collecting data can help you develop optimal schedules, routes, and fare rates. Excellent market intelligence will mean you can develop a system that will ensure the highest ridership possible.

How to Make Green Transit More Accessible

image10-3Often the people who most need transit are unable to use it due to inadequate accessibility considerations. Accessibility codes across Canada are woefully weak. Often accessibility decisions are made without the input of people with mobility impairments. 

Current data that represents all potential transit users in your community, including seniors and those with disabilities, will help you design the most user-friendly system possible. 

Market intelligence can help you make informed decisions about the efficiency of your transit system. With reliable data, you can identify inefficiencies in your transit system to minimize the carbon footprint of your community. 

Develop a Better Green Transit System with Great Data

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References:

https://nadc.ca/media/1194/sustainable-transit.pdf

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/03/27/five-ways-that-urban-transport-can-become-cleaner-and-greener.html

https://www.nadtc.org/news/blog/transit-accessibility-for-people-with-disabilities/

https://www.transit.dot.gov/regulations-and-guidance/environmental-programs/transit-environmental-sustainability/transit-role

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