Join the Movement

Members of Voices for Public Transit know public transportation benefits everyone. We’re keeping it moving.

Join the Movement

Members of Voices for Public Transit know public transportation benefits everyone. We’re keeping it moving.

Voices For Transit

We All Benefit

Whether you ride or not, public transportation benefits all of us. It reduces pollution, eases traffic congestion, and helps our communities thrive. In cities, suburbs, and rural America, public transit provides vital connections to jobs, education, medical care, and our larger communities. Help us keep America moving.

  • Rethinking Transportation Networks

    A Better Way to Plan for the Future

    Historically, transportation planning—at all levels of government—has too often been fragmented. Road planners focused on roads, public transit planners focused on transit, rail people focused on railroads. Disparate transportation systems didn’t work smoothly together because they hadn’t been planned together as a network. Uncoordinated planning also led to inefficiencies and drove up costs.

    In addition, transportation planning often took place without fully accounting for community impacts. Transportation systems ideally connect neighborhoods, support communities, and provide opportunities for residents. But too often in the past, transportation planners have designed roadways and rail that cut through neighborhoods or directed travelers away from commercial districts.

    All of this needs to change.

    America Needs Multi-Modal Transportation Networks

    The future of American transportation requires that we break down silos. To meet the needs of a growing population, we need coordinated planning efforts that result in robust, flexible multi-modal transportation networks that include public transit, ridesharing services, and bikesharing, as well as driving, safe walking routes, and other options. These systems must be planned and built with community input, with the goal of providing better mobility and an improved quality of life for all.

    Transportation planners and government leaders in particular must think in terms of regional networks, not one-off projects. We must move past thinking about transportation in binary terms — a or b, car vs. bus — and instead think holistically about transportation — a and b and c and d, car and bicycle and bus and streetcar.

    The flexibility and choice of multi-modal networks will also help meet the needs of people who travel at different times and with different destinations. Past transportation planning often focused largely on bringing rush-hour commuters from suburbs and outlying areas to a city center and then back again. Smartphones and sophisticated data analysis are already enhancing current networks, but coordination must take place in planning stages, too.

    Forward-thinking transportation planning must account for a greater range of transportation needs, enabling more geography to be covered during more times of the day via multiple modes of transportation. When multiple modes of transportation intersect and transfers are seamless, networks will be more cost-efficient and speed travel.

    Last year’s passage of long-term transportation legislation, the FAST Act, lays the groundwork for building new transportation networks. Now we need local, state, and federal leaders to work together to build and connect whole transportation networks.

    What transportation additions and improvements would you like to see in your area—or what changes are you already seeing? Please share your story and thoughts with us today.

  • Your Stories Paint a Picture of Public Transit in America

    We are making progress toward our goal of making public transit a national priority. Since passage of the FAST Act last year, we are already seeing new investments, projects, and expansions underway in communities across the country. But don’t take our word for it; check out this story from one Voices for Public Transit member about what’s happening with public transportation in his area:

    I try to take public transportation anytime I can, especially if I have to travel to downtown LA. I can take a bus to the North Hollywood subway station or I can walk to the MetroLink station and take a train to LA. On weekends I can purchase a Metrolink day pass for $10.00 all day and travel anywhere I want to.

    LA is unique; there is an upswing in new rail lines being built. Later this year the Expo line will take passengers to Santa Monica, the first time since the demise of the Red Car in 1961. The Pasadena line will be extended to Azusa and hopefully give some relief to the I-210. This is an exciting time in LA in terms of transportation. I am planning on taking the Expo line to Santa Monica as soon as it opens. Since I am a photographer I am going to take pictures of my journey.

    – Michael G., Los Angeles, CA

    We certainly hope Michael gets some good shots from his first ride on the Expo line—and that he shares them with the Voices for Public Transit community!

    While LA is a good example of public transit development, the same can’t be said for all communities. Here’s a good example of why more areas still need to focus on expanding and strengthening their public transit options:

    Where I live in Butler County, to get to public transportation, I (as a handicapped individual), would have to walk approximately three miles of road from my house that doesn't even have sidewalks. Furthermore, it wouldn't be safe for me or my assistance dog to make such a walk. I am required, therefore, to wait for my wife to drive me or to get a ride from someone else, if they are willing to. I did just that before I retired and now I have found that I am housebound for lack of transportation.

    – Jonathan B., Hamilton, OH

    Jonathan’s story is all too common. Lack of public transit options often leaves some of our most vulnerable populations—particularly low-income individuals, seniors, and disabled Americans—disconnected from society. For those with limited mobility, public transportation plays an even more important role.

    So what’s your public transit story? We want to hear how public transit impacts your life and whether you’re seeing any new developments in public transportation in your area.

    Share your story with us today!

  • Innovation and Transformation in Public Transportation

    How is transportation changing in your area?

    Since passage of the FAST Act last year, there’s new energy in public transportation across America. Public transit systems are adding new rail lines and bus service. New technologies are making it easier and more convenient to plan trips on public transit. New transportation options like rideshare, zip car, and bikeshare are helping more people access public transit regularly.

    Consider these examples:

    • In Southern California, the Metro just opened an 11.5 mile extension of its Gold Line, bringing commuter rail service closer to thousands of area residents.
    • In Pinellas County, on the Gulf coast of Florida, the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority just launched a pilot program that connects area residents with bus lines by offering discounted Uber, Lyft, and taxicab rides.
    • The Metro Transit system, serving the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, will debut a smartphone app this summer that lets riders pay their fares with a just a few screen taps.
    • Starting in July, in Portland, Oregon, public transit riders will be able to extend their trips by hopping on bikes being made available by the city’s new bikeshare program.

    These examples are just the tip of the iceberg. Many public transit systems around the country are pursuing similar initiatives or making other improvements.

    Tell us what’s happening in your area!

    Stories from public transit supporters will help us collect and share ideas — and showcase what’s working in cities, suburbs, and small towns. More importantly, they will help us continue to put a local face on public transit and illustrate for legislators, policymakers, and key decision-makers at all levels of the government just how important it is to continue to invest in and expand public transit in communities nationwide.

    There is a growing momentum to improve and expand public transportation — your story can help keep that momentum growing.

    Is Public Transportation on Your Local Ballot?

    States and local communities are now working to capitalize on the federal funds available through the FAST Act. In part that means coming up with matching funds from state and local governments for new transportation projects.

    Several communities will be placing public transportation measures on their ballot — giving voters a direct say in whether to fund public transit expansion in their area. Will there be a transportation measure on your local ballot? Let us know by participating in our brief community poll.

  • Rideshare and Bikeshare Work with Public Transit

    In recent years, public transportation options have increased in unexpected ways.

    To be sure, public transit systems have added new bus routes and opened new rail lines. But a host of new technology-enabled transportation services—including bikeshare programs and rideshare services such as Lyft and Uber—have increased mobility for millions of people.

    It’s not just that people are choosing a new way to travel. What’s happening is that people are often combining public transit options—drawing on America’s increasingly multi-modal transportation system—to get around. In 2015, for example, the top destinations for trips taken on rideshare service Lyft were public transit stops, including rail stations and bus stops.

    Now, a new study by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), Shared Mobility and the Transformation of Public Transit, reveals how dramatically this new sharing economy—driven by advancements in technology—is helping to fundamentally transform how people access and use public transportation.

    Bikeshare Benefits Public Transit Riders

    Bikeshare programs are increasing in popularity in the U.S., with dozens of cities now offering a bikeshare option. Smartphone apps, digital docking stations, and streamlined payment systems help make these programs flexible and convenient.

    For many travelers, the availability of a shared bike provides a convenient way to reach a bus line or rail station—or a final destination when a fixed-route bus or train doesn’t go far enough. This is especially true in cities with less-dense development or a smaller public transportation infrastructure.

    According to APTA’s recent study, “public transit and ridesourcing complement one another by serving different trip types” and, second to public transit, bikesharing is the most commonly used shared transportation by those who use multiple forms of transportation regularly. The combination of a bikeshare service with a traditional bus or rail line makes it easier to connect to jobs, recreational activities, and areas of commerce without needing to rely on a car.

    Bikeshare also eases crowding on buses and trains—especially during rush hour. The shared bike provides flexibility for the rider—and those who don’t bike may find their bus or train less packed.

    Rideshare Services Increase Access to Traditional Public Transit

    Of course, bikeshare has its physical limitations. Not everyone can ride a bicycle—especially a long distance—and few people are eager to ride a bike in inclement weather.

    Ridesharing services like Lyft and Uber can carry passengers greater distances than bikes and operate in just about any weather. They can also serve a wider array of passengers, including older Americans and people with disabilities who cannot drive or ride a bike.

    In addition, rideshare cars can reach neighborhoods and suburbs that are not easily accessible by fixed-route public transportation. Ridesharing makes traditional public transit buses and rail lines a more viable option for more Americans.

    Public transit systems around the country are recognizing the value of ridesharing services, including easy-to-use apps for requesting rides and paying for services. Other systems are integrating ridesharing service information into their own transit apps to help riders plan and complete truly multi-modal trips.

    With these advancements come significant savings. APTA’s study found that the more people use shared modes of transportation, the more likely they are to use public transit, own fewer cars, and spend less on transportation overall.

    More to Come

    In the coming years, we’ll see more changes and innovations in public transit offerings. Some of these changes will be driven by private-sector ingenuity and some by government and public transit leaders.

    According to APTA President and CEO Michael Melaniphy, “The way people get around in communities is being transformed, and public transportation is at the heart of this formal shift. Together with companies like Lyft and Uber, [public transit is] integral to creating a dynamic multimodal lifestyle.”

    Stay tuned for more on this issue in the coming weeks and months as we continue to highlight the advancements in public transit and ridesharing. It’s an exciting time for public transportation!

  • VPT Votes 2016: Local Transportation Ballot Measures

    November’s general election is still many months away, but already petition collectors are out in force in many states to place local public transportation measures on ballots. In addition, state legislatures, county boards, and city leaders may also refer certain public transit initiatives directly to voters, either on the November ballots or at other times throughout the year. Voices for Public Transit members may see a variety of measures designed to:

    • Raise bond funds for transportation projects and programs
    • Levy modest tax increases to ensure communities can take advantage of matching dollars provided by the federal government through the FAST Act
    • Allocate funding from a specific source, such as lottery revenues, to transportation
    • Update existing policies to allow funding to be directed to new projects, including public transportation

    Voices for Public Transit advocates now have the opportunity to make sure their local communities benefit from the hard work we did last year to win passage of the FAST Act.

    What’s the best way to move public transit initiatives forward in your area? Get informed about local measures, help build support for pro-public transit initiatives among your friends and neighbors, and — most importantly — turn out to vote.

    Make sure the people in your community know we all benefit from public transportation, whether we use it or not. Public transit is good for communities in numerous ways, from stimulating economic growth, supporting jobs, and helping revitalize entire neighborhoods to reducing road congestion and pollution. More mobility choices also mean everyone can participate in and benefit from the community, even if they can’t or choose not to drive a car.

    Ballot Measures on Our Radar

    States differ widely in how — and if — they allow measures to appear on the ballot. Generally states in the West and Midwest allow more opportunities for voters and legislators to bring measures to the ballot. We’ve already heard about several potential votes around the country, including:

    • Monterey County — This Northern California coastal and agricultural county will offer a ballot measure to raise $600 million over 30 years via a 0.375-cent sales tax. Projects slated for funding include a bus rapid transit (BRT) system, senior transportation, and commuter buses.
    • Seattle — This densely populated city in the Pacific Northwest will likely consider the “ST3” ballot measure to expand its multi-modal Sound Transit system as a way to reduce traffic congestion.
    • Atlanta — If Georgia lawmakers allow it, Atlanta-area residents will vote on a referendum that could provide $4 billion over four decades to greatly expand the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) system.
    • Morgantown, WV — We’ve long said that public transit belongs in communities of all sizes. Morgantown, West Virginia, voters will consider a modest property tax increase to fund upgrades to the Mountain Line bus system in this city of about 31,000 permanent residents.
    • Richland Hills, TX — Not all ballot measures are a step in the right direction for public transportation. For example, on May 7, voters in this Ft. Worth suburb will vote on whether or not to withdraw from the Ft. Worth Transportation Authority (the T), which provides Trinity Railway Express service to Richland Hills.

    We Want to Know: Is there a Ballot Measure in Your Area?

    You can help us keep track of transportation measures in your area and show Voices for Public Transit members the trends that are developing across the country when it comes to public transportation.

    Participate in our community poll to let us know if there are any transportation measures headed to the ballot in your area.

  • Advocate spotlight

    Mirta M.

    There is a point in everyone’s life in which driving becomes difficult or simply has to stop all together due to normal aging (vision and minor neurological and metabolic impairments could deter persons from driving).

    Read More

  • Share Your Experience

    Tell us why you support investments in public transportation for your community.

    Make your story available for use?