Based on analysis of the current system, three different options for realigning HRT bus service were developed to examine how changes could improve performance.
All three options were designed to be cost-neutral (based on levels of current total investment in the HRT system). Any added service in one place or time of day were made possible by shifting service away from other places and times of day. This kind of constraint makes for tough choices, but they are necessary to find the best ways to use limited funding.
One of the three options that was studied emphasized high frequency service on the busiest corridors at the busiest times of day (at the expense of broad coverage across the region throughout the day). A second option emphasized maximum coverage throughout the region (made possible by reducing service on busier corridors and making service less frequent everywhere). The final option sought be create a better match between supply and demand – tailoring service to where and when most potential bus users want to travel.
Input into the planning process included feedback from current transit riders, local governments and regional transportation planners, community stakeholders, and the public-at-large.2 All three options were analyzed using a travel demand model to determine likely ridership. Ridership estimates strongly suggest that a major change to bus service patterns is likely to increase usage.
Based on these findings and the preferences and priorities identified through community involvement, the best features of the initial scenarios were combined into a single recommended service plan.
A major outcome of this effort was defining new regional standards to support consistency of hours of operation and service frequency based on the type of service provided.