RTA envisions a region with sufficient and stable funding to support improved public transit options that will advance equity by increasing accessibility; satisfy the integrated mobility needs of Southeast Michigan communities; and promote livable, healthy, and sustainable growth. In order to develop a strategic agenda, and to coordinate ongoing and future planning activities, RTA has embarked on an update to its Regional Master Transit Plan (RMTP). ADVANCE 2021 is RTA’s RMTP and will guide strategic planning activities in Southeast Michigan over the next 20 years.
RTA recently completed a strategic analysis of major regional transit corridors and their competitiveness for FTA’s Capital Investment Grant program. The Regional Transit Corridor Strategy report lays out that analysis and a strategy for moving forward with implementing these corridors in partnership with the transit providers and MDOT.
A foundational step in the planning process is this Southeast Michigan Regional Transit Briefing Book (Briefing Book). The purpose of the Briefing Book is to:
- Provide the public with a baseline understanding of the existing regional transit system.
- Share recently completed and ongoing planning efforts to improve the system.
- Describe the benefits of improved transit to the region’s residents and businesses.
- Present an updated Vision, Goals, and Strategies for improved regional transit.
- Set a framework for public engagement.
In order to create a plan to improve public transit that meets the needs of Southeast Michiganders, RTA conducted surveys, virtual open house meetings, community listening sessions, and targeted rider outreach. Between May and September 2021, RTA heard from over 4,370 people through the following methods:
- Nine virtual open houses
- Over a dozen targeted listening sessions
- Online survey
- General public survey
- Transit rider survey
The original RMTP was approved in August 2016. The 2016 RMTP was a fiscally constrained 20-year master plan with a total recommended investment of $4.6 billion. That plan led to 1.2 mil property tax levy request on the November 2016 ballot. That initiative was narrowly defeated.
The RMTP was paired with the development of five major regional corridor investments projects. These culminated in adopted Locally Preferred Alternatives for all five corridors.
The last several years have included robust discussions on how to best update the 2016 RMTP. This included the developed the draft Connect Southeast Michigan strategy. This effort represented several important advancements in our regional transit discussion. These included more services in more places, investment programs to support local services in less urbanized areas, and programs to support the integration of new technologies to modernize the transit system.