Jul 21

Get To Know Your MPO!

Posted on July 21, 2022 at 4:15 PM by Regina Gardner

PART talks a lot about transportation planning ... and we are ‘on the road again’ preparing to gather data! This time for our MPOs. An MPO is a Metropolitan Planning Organization that is a federally mandated and funded transportation policy-making organization. They are made up of representatives from local government and governmental transportation authorities. MPOs were created to ensure regional cooperation in transportation planning. Sound boring and too much like ‘government’? Broken down, an MPO consists of your neighbors working to improve our local community’s transportation options!

We have four regional MPOs participating in an essential project kicking off this Fall, and we will be looking for you, our neighbors, to help us plan! This project will be specific to the Triad region, and participating MPOs are Burlington/Graham, Winston-Salem, Greensboro, and High Point, as well as PART.

The Triad Region Household Travel Survey is coming out this Fall.
MPOs need accurate information about how people get from place to place to ensure that transportation funds are spent where they are needed most.
Residents of our region can make a difference.
Participation by regional residents through a travel model survey will help build a complete picture of local and regional transportation needs. This allows decision-makers to more effectively target transportation improvements and gives residents a voice in the decision-making process.
Every household we invite will be essential.
Each invited household will represent many other similar households across the region. Regardless of the number of trips made or whether someone travels by car, bus, bicycle, or other means, their input will be vital. We need everyone to know that this is critical to ensuring our region is prosperous and efficient for years to come!

We will provide additional information in the coming months and offer participants cash incentives to participate.

Apr 08

Be a PART of our Response to COVID-19

Posted on April 8, 2021 at 3:15 PM by Sabrina Glenn

With all the changes in our everyday lives related to COVID-19, PART has had to respond by making changes to help ensure the safety of our drivers, riders, and overall community. Everything we’ve done has been geared to making sure that public transit is as safe as possible.

#MaskUpForTransit. When riding with PART, it is important to ensure you follow proper mask guidelines like making sure your mask covers not only your mouth but your nose as well. Also, wear a mask that you cannot blow air through; this will help to keep your airflow and bodily fluids contained. As of February 1st, 2021 TSA, SD1582/84-21-01 mandated that all public transportation workers and riders 2 years or older must wear face masks at all times while on public transit vehicles or in transit facilities.

                When riding with PART we also ask that you are mindful about social distancing. While it’s not always possible to be six feet apart, we encourage you to do your best not just when riding, but when boarding our buses as well. During the boarding process we ask that only one person enter at a time to create as much social distancing as possible. Passengers who are exhibiting visible signs or symptoms of the Coronavirus will be asked to deboard the PART Express bus. We take this very seriously because it is for the safety of all other riders and to maintain our community’s safety.

We’re encouraging all passengers to use PARTs TouchPass contactless payment system. Passengers can download the TouchPass App from your PlayStore or purchase a TouchPass Reusable Smartcard at the Coble Transportation Center (CTC) or you can order one online. Making the transition to digital fare payments will not only help lower the spread of COVID-19, but it can save you time and money. When you ride with Umo, you receive free transfers and simply tap or scan to quickly board the bus. Cash is still accepted on PART Express buses, but we do not provide change cards or transfer tickets. We encourage you to have exact change for each bus that you board.

We’re all looking forward to our return to normal. But until then, we’re asking you to do your PART in taking the proper precautions when riding. For a full list of information on PART’s COVID-19 activities, visit www.partnc.org/covid19.

Mar 24

Transportation's New Normal

Posted on March 24, 2021 at 10:04 AM by Sabrina Glenn

The phrase “new normal” has been thrown around a lot over the past year. When it comes to transportation and transit planning, we’ll know when we’ve hit the new normal when the specific factors we track remain consistent for at least three months.

For PART, understanding when we have settled into a new normal is critical. Not only does it help us make route adjustments and other operational decisions, but there are two regional studies related to travel behavior on hold; one is related to freight and delivery truck movements and the other to household travel. These studies could help the Triad for years to come, and we want to make sure the data we gather is as close to stable as possible.

That’s why we’ve been collecting and analyzing data trends throughout the COVID-19 pandemic that impact our region’s roadways, looking to see when they might start to normalize. We track specific factors to help us understand how traffic volumes and patterns may change including:

  • social and economic factors
  • COVID-19 infection and vaccination metrics
  • transportation and traffic numbers

Social & Economic Factors

We look at government restrictions and school policies along with unemployment rates. Typically, work-related trips only account for one-third of all trips, but the majority of peak traffic time. This means that lower unemployment rates could signal a normalization of traffic patterns.

COVID-19 Metrics

There is no baseline to compare COVID-19 infection rates to, but the number of active cases can indicate other trends, such as how likely people are to travel or visit local businesses. And experts have said that 70-80% of the population will need to be vaccinated before we have an umbrella of immunity, so watching those numbers can help us make informed predictions.

Transportation & Traffic

We look at public transportation ridership for all the agencies in the region along with traffic patterns in general. NCDOT shares information on traffic for cities across the state. We also examine trip generation over time which allows us to infer how many people are remote working.

The initial impacts COVID-19 had on traffic were easy to see. Understanding when volumes and patterns normalize will be challenging. Stay-at-home, no school, remote working and take out or delivery have not only lowered traffic volumes but also changed traffic patterns. Tracking the factors above will tell us when a return to normal occurs or when the new normal is reached so we can continue to help commuters across the Triad get where they need to go.