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Chapter 11 - The Next 20 Years

The State of Minnesota has a progressive vision for Greater Minnesota transit, where transit improves mobility for all people, meets current and future rider needs, is flexible and reacts to changing patterns. The strategies outlined in this plan provide a strategic framework to guide investment to achieve this vision over the next 20 years. Based on the technical analysis components and public outreach there is clear quantitative and qualitative evidence for increased levels of public transit in Greater Minnesota. Meeting the unmet demand for transit in Greater Minnesota is one of MnDOT’s greatest challenges, but it is also one of its greatest opportunities. Demographic and economic trends in Greater Minnesota indicate a growing demand for public transit. The population of Greater Minnesota is growing. Some older adults and millennials are taking fewer trips and reducing their reliance on a personal vehicle. Many people are traveling between communities to access goods and services.

In addition to demographic trends, extensive community input called for transit to be available when and where its needed. Transit riders and non-riders responded that service needs to be reliable, convenient, frequent and connected, in infrastructure and communications. Based on these results, MnDOT developed the service improvments plan that determined a level of service for communities based on population size. The baseline span of service with both urban and rural service improvements is projected to meet 90 percent of the calculated public transit need in Greater Minnesota. Implementing additional service hours will require time and resources to complete. Federal funding for Greater Minnesota transit is projected to remainstable, however, state funding sources can vary. While continuing to fund service and plan for improvements, MnDOT and its partners will need to communicate to the public and policy makers why transit matters and the need for future funding.

Looking Forward

The examples above are just a few of the many components involved when developing a transit plan. MnDOT is constantly looking ahead to trends and opportunities and ways promote Greater Minnesota transit. The following are conditions that MnDOT is looking towards over the extended time horizon for this plan:

Transit Service Factors

  • Coordination with the TNCs operating in Greater Minnesota to meet some of the transportation need
  • Investing in technology that streamlines and improves decision making about transportation modes such as travel apps
  • Improved customer amenities on buses, connecting infrastructure (wifi, benches and stops) and closer links between pedestrian and bicycle environments with transit
  • Integration of autonomous vehicle technology
  • Coordination of rides and services to meet the needs of customers

Funding Factors

  • The cost of gasoline is expected to rise in the next several years and may reduce some gas usage, resulting in a drop in funding for Greater Minnesota transit
  • The sales of new vehicles is a significant revenue source for transit, however the lifecycle of vehicles is increasing and may result in fewer vehicles purchases.

In summary, the 2015-2035 Greater Minnesota Transit Investment Plan lays out the strategic direction and investment priorities for transit over the next 20 years. Investments made in the quality and availability of service will improve the quality of life for residents, enhance local economies and contribute to an environmentally sustainable future.