Apr 11

March 2022 PARTiculars

Posted on April 11, 2022 at 10:46 AM by Regina Gardner

March Masthead

Explore with Express.


As part of our Explore with Express series, this month’s focus will be on our Route 3 High-Point Express. PART’s routes 1, 2, and 3 seamlessly connect Winston-Salem, Greensboro, and High Point, making it as simple as a nice relaxing bus ride to navigate the Triad.


Most people know High Point as the Furniture Capital of the World. But, along with furniture, High-Point has many great things for visitors to enjoy, and the Piedmont Environmental Center is one such place. Located off Penny Road in High Point, the PART system makes it easy to get to from neighboring cities. 


This exceptional Center provides programs and a place to learn, conserve and enjoy nature through hands-on experiences that focus on our fragile natural environment. It offers 6 miles of beautiful nature trails and planned educational classes for school groups and individual programs. It also houses a unique 70’ x 30’ walk-on topographic Mapscape of North Carolina, small animal exhibits, and has conference rooms and classrooms available to reserve. The High Point Greenway and the Greensboro Bicentennial Greenway join at the Piedmont Environmental Center, linking the Center to over a hundred miles of beautiful and extensive trail systems. 

So, hop on a PART bus and get out and enjoy what the Triad has to offer! PART buses are climate controlled, bike-friendly, handicap accessible, have high back reclining seats and high ceilings. Riding with PART is easy, affordable, and very comfortable!

Piedmont Environmental Center collage



PART’s New Board Members


PART would like to welcome our two new Board Members, Martha Wolfe and Skip Alston. We are thankful for their service. 

Board Members


UMO

“Why isn’t there a bus stop at this corner?”

My project _2_

“I need the bus to arrive downtown 10 minutes earlier.” “If the bus went here, I could ride it to work.” These are the challenges that keep transit planners up at night! Designing public transportation routes and service is complex, with multiple factors to consider. For example, determining the safest and quickest way between destinations and identifying safe and accessible bus stops. Creating a schedule to accommodate travel needs and deciding when service should start/stop and which days it should run.


To help with these challenges, Transit Planners use mapping tools and data that focus on where people live and work to determine which communities would benefit from service. The Federal Transit Administration classifies PART’s service as an express commuter service, a specific type of service that connects neighboring communities. Most of the routes are long-running with limited stops. PART’s service enters and leaves downtown areas with reduced stops and travels primarily along an interstate or highway with the “doors closed”, connecting neighboring community partners we serve. Within our 10-county service area, routes have schedules designed to accommodate commuters; others have frequent service throughout the day, servicing all types of trips.


In addition to maps and data, PART relies on input from local citizens. Service changes are generally the result of riders changing needs and suggestions, balanced with feasible and fundable, and aligned with our mission of Connecting Communities. 

Public Transportation agencies have always needed to be fluid, changing as communities change, and are adapted to searching for creative ways to address mobility needs. However, a post-pandemic society delivered many new challenges. Our region, and the industry, have been impacted by a significant reduction in ridership. People started working from home, left the workforce in record numbers, and had concerns over catching the virus. Looking for ways to attract a new generation of riders while bringing back former riders will keep transit planners busy, and up at night, for the next few years!


Working to stay informed.


On February 24th, Piedmont Transportation Professionals hosted an event with NCDOT Integrated Mobility Division’s (IMD) John Vine-Hodge, Deputy Director, and Bryan Lopez, Regional Planning Manager, presenting. In 2019, NCDOT merged the Transit and Bike/Ped divisions to create this division. Over the course of that year, IMD established and began defining itself. John and Bryan took this opportunity to introduce the multimodal planning strategies & goals undertaken by IMD and review the programs and resources the unit has available. 


Also presenting was Mark Kirstner, PART’s Director of Planning, focusing on Transportation Planning and Transportation Demand Management. The event hosted over 40 participants both virtually and in person. 


Screenshot 2022-02-25 142807footer


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.