Midcoast Transit Study
CHALLENGE: The communities of Thomaston, Rockland, Rockport, and Camden were interested in exploring the possibility of an expanded public transit service in the midcoast. There are real needs among the poor and elderly for additional public transportation, but the rural nature of the region makes it hard for a transit system to reach enough of the population. In order to gauge the demand for transit the study needed to reach a large and disperse population and employment base and create real data as to potential ridership.
STRATEGY: Morris was hired by the transportation consultant to be responsible for the gathering of a variety of input from the public. An aggressive phone survey of major employers within the study area established major commuting times, perceived need for transit from customers and employees, and gauged employers’ support for a potential public transit system in terms of usage, funding and advertising. An online survey of the general public was conducted to expand this knowledge base. In order to reach as many people as possible, including those without computers, Morris worked with the local libraries to post links to the survey on their websites and at their public computers. Paper surveys were also filled out by residents of three elderly housing communities and by shoppers at a table set up outside the Walmart located in the study area. Public meetings were also held in two locations in the study area to explain the study process and hear concerns and issues.
RESULTS: This study is still in progress. The surveys conducted met with considerable success. Sixteen of the twenty-two largest employers in the region were surveyed for the employer survey resulting in a clear view of work scheduling and transportation needs for various industries in the region. The public survey received over 760 responses from across the region with a good representation of all ages and employment statuses. A full report with recommendations on the future role of transit in the region is due out in the fall of 2013.