TMD completed a Transit Feasibility Study for the City of Rancho Santa Margarita, CA to assess demand for a new transit circulator service within the city. The city is served by two fixed routes operated by Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA), which underwent significant service reductions in October 2016. A large portion of the city lost service altogether and all Saturday service was discontinued. The goal of the Transit Feasibility Study is to determine if there is enough demand in the city to support a new circulator service that would replace some of the discontinued service and integrate into the larger OCTA network. The transit circulator service would be funded through OCTA Project V funds, a program that sponsors community mobility services in OCTA member cities. To receive funding, the proposed services would need to satisfy established performance criteria.
The Transit Feasibility Study involved a community survey to assess resident and employee demand for transit service within the city, an analysis of demographic characteristics, a review of relevant planning documents, an overview of available transportation services, and a peer review examining how other Orange County cities have used Project V funding. TMD evaluated pilot partnerships with Transportation Network Companies (TNCs), such as Uber and Lyft, to see what challenges other cities faced in implementation. TMD developed three different potential service options for the city to consider and estimated operating costs, fare revenue, and ridership in order to project service performance and required subsidies per passenger boarding. TMD shared the results with the City of Rancho Santa Margarita Planning Commission and City Council in October 2017.