Monday, May 20, 2013

Sacramento RT's "TransitRenewal"

Sacramento Regional Transit (RT) recently conducted a Comprehensive Operations Analysis (COA) of its entire fixed-route service. Coined “TransitRenewal”, RT was determined to replenish its system to recover from a major service reduction brought upon by economic downturn. In 2010, RT was forced to eliminate 28 bus routes and night service on both bus and light rail service to fill a budget gap (Turner).

A COA is basically exactly how it sounds: a comprehensive review of an agency’s transit services and passenger travel habits. The analysis typically includes a detailed market demand and demographic assessment using travel demand, census, and other data to understand where transit service is a competitive option. Understanding the market for transit by reviewing land use, densities, and transit dependent populations is integral in operating highly effective services in a particular region. The analysis also includes a very detailed review of an agency’s transit services, including service type, corridor, route, trip, and even stop levels details. This allows a complete understanding of the strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for service adjustments and investments.

I was privileged to work on RT’s TransitRenewal as a transit planning consultant a few years back. The project gave me the opportunity to get involved with multiple aspects of the transit planning process: identifying the problems and successes, developing alternatives, participating in public outreach and agency “inreach”, and developing recommendations to improve service. The analysis was based upon a very objective approach to reinvest underperforming services that carry very few people into higher-demand areas that could provide more operating revenue for the agency. A revamp of their service standards assisted in communicating the proposed recommendations to the public and various internal staff members. In addition, the project included various measures to enhance operations efficiencies for both bus and light rail service, including interlining green and gold line LRT trains. The analysis also incorporated social equity measures with an Federal Transit Administration (FTA)-mandated Title VI assessment, which assess the likelihood that major service changes will not result in disproportionate impacts. 

RT is currently in the process of implementing various recommendations that were included in “TransitRenewal” as they continue their determination to bring service back to its citizens.

1. Lindelof, Bill. "Regional Transit restoring some services in Sacramento, including late night trains". The Sacramento Bee. 29 August 2012. Web. <>.
2. Sacramento Regional Transit District (RT). "TransitRenewal 2012-2017". Web. <>.
3.Turner, Melanie. "Regional Transit cuts 28 Routes, Night Service". Sacramento Business Journal. 30 March 2010. Web. <>.

Post was edited by Kate Carlos.

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