TMD worked with the Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County to develop a five-year plan for public transportation services in Reno, Sparks, and other communities in Washoe County, Nevada. The Transit Optimization Plan Strategies (TOPS) used ridership, demographics, a peer review, and location-based data to determine how to best serve this growing area. The plan included two rounds of public outreach tailored for RTC based on their service area and conditions during COVID-19. During the first phase of outreach, a survey was conducted to determine the public transportation priorities for both existing customers and the general public. The second phase of outreach focused on soliciting feedback on the draft service recommendations. Between the two outreach efforts, over 1,700 surveys were received which were used to shape the final recommendations. The final service plan was able to expand public transportation access in RTC’s service area with only a small increase in additional service hours. An analysis of the new service plan found the following:
- While the fixed-route revenue hours decrease slightly during the plan, the number of revenue miles will increase because of more efficient routing and schedules. This means more service on the street for customers at less cost to RTC.
- The number of square miles served by the FlexRIDE microtransit service will increase by 43%, further expanding transit access to new areas.
- Total population and jobs within ¼ mile of any fixed-route or microtransit service will increase by 10%.
- Total population and jobs within ¼ mile of 30-minute peak frequency weekday fixed-route or microtransit service would increase by 40%, meaning more existing and potential customers will have frequency service.
In addition to transit service changes, the plan included specific recommendations to improve other aspects of RTC’s public transportation services. TMD teamed with Celtis Ventures and Four Nines to assist in the analysis and recommendations for these areas:
- Retaining current transit riders and attracting new ones
- Improving customer service
- Improving and combining internal and customer-facing technologies
The TOPS was unanimously approved by the RTC Board in July 2022.