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The well-respected advocacy group, Transit Alliance, is leading the Better Bus Project on behalf of both Miami-Dade Transit and several of the key cities. Transit Alliance and the County hired us this year to help develop transit network alternatives that would illustrate what the transit network could look like if the trolley networks were more coherently integrated with the overall county-wide network and if the balance between ridership and coverage goals were changed.
The local newspaper, the Miami Herald, has a good article about the networks and the choices they illustrate.
We previously released a Choices Report that highlighted one of the major shortcomings of the existing network, a lack of a frequent grid. The two network concepts we developed try to build a frequent grid, at least in the core of the network. Below are slices of the Existing Network, Coverage Concept, and Ridership Concept for the core of the region.
And the legend:
The concepts cost the same as the existing network, and they are fully implementable. If everyone loved one of the concepts, it would be possible for Miami-Dade and the cities to make the network changes and implement one of these in 6-9 months. But we aren’t asking people to pick one or the other. We’re asking people to tell us which concept they are closest to, so that the County Board and City Commissions can get input on the direction they should choose for Miami-Dade.
Some other key questions raised by these concepts include:
- Should the trolleys be changed to make them complementary parts of a county-wide network? Both the Coverage and Ridership Concepts can provide more frequency on more streets because the city and county networks are designed to complement each other.
- Should bus stops be placed farther apart so buses can go faster and people can get where they are going faster. Today, stops are about 1/8 of a mile apart. Both the Coverage and Ridership Concepts assume that stops are spaced about ¼ mile.
- And, of course, how should the region balance the competing goals of ridership and coverage?
So if you know anyone in Miami-Dade County, send them to the project website to explore and express their views. Encourage them to peruse the Concepts Report. And if you’re interested in reforming bus networks in general, watch the conversations around the concepts and the ultimate decisions by the local elected leaders. As with every network redesign we do, these concepts are here to help people decide what values they want transit to prioritize. We can help the community understand the options and the outcome, but it’s ultimately their decision.