Cities Working Together to Better Transportation

Article by: Tom Wiese, Sales Associate

Improvements happen when cities start working together; the sharing economy can certainly vouch for that. Every single day, we are seeing a significant increase in cities working together to enhance their infrastructure and significantly improve the daily commute of their residents. Instead of individually working on these issues, cities are collectively forming umbrella organizations to positively impact their communities.

For the transit industry, many agencies, like NEORide, are trying to create an umbrella of agencies to build a power house. The collectivity of joining forces provides smaller cities and agencies with the power to procure, streamline transportation between transit authorities, develop a joint fare model, and create interconnected GPS systems. In Connecticut’s transit system, CTTransit, we’re starting to see commission for regional planning commission. Their sole purpose is to help bring cities together that have historically struggled in getting a say or procuring at a reasonable cost. Giving cities a voice that allows them to compete with the big players is key to giving them the power they deserve.

In 2013, the Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan (RTA) was formed, which consists of 4 other municipalities in Detroit and surrounding counties — Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT), Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART), Ann Arbor Area Transit Authority (AAATA), and Detroit People Mover. The changes that Detroit’s transit is expected to bring are a Detroit to Ann Arbor passenger rail, bus rapid transit(buses with dedicated right-of-way), four commuter express routes, expansion of local bus service, universal fare card, and express airport routes from surrounding cities. These enhancements to transit are significant to Detroit, which has been bettering its reputation through a revitalization.


Raleigh-Durham is no stranger to connecting its region’s transit lines to further expand mobility. Raleigh-Durham recently made the push to invest in commuter rails and bus lines to appeal to the economy’s diverse social and economic demographics.  David Eatman, transit administrator for the City of Raleigh, summed up the importance transit can have on a region.

“Transit is a very important asset to our communities and ensures mobility to our citizens in all jurisdictions, but it’s also an important economic driver when you’re attracting and retaining businesses and quality talent to the area,” said Eatman.

GoTriangle, the umbrella agency overseeing wake county and 12 municipalities in the Raleigh area, is an example of another organization with big plans to bring a region together. They plan to triple bus services and increase hours of operation, expand commuter rail to 37 miles, and connect the light rail from Durham to Chapel Hill. These changes will enhance transit because the “commuter does not stop at the county line.”

In addition to transit agencies, we are now seeing an increase in other organizations working together.  Specifically, cities are beginning to work together to create a seamless transition from one parking environment to another.  MobileMeter, a mobile parking app powered by Passport, aims to ease the parker’s experience. The app provides the residents and transients for both Urbana and Champaign the ability to pay, park, manage and extend their parking session via their smartphone. The real perk of the parking app is that it gives users the functionality to handle the experience solely from one app while they are in either city — there’s no need for users to download separate apps for each city.

When cities work together, it’s evident that they will positively impact their community by enhancing infrastructure and empowering smaller municipalities. As the transportation industry encourages forming collective organizations, it’s just the beginning for mobility…