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May 16

Putting the “R” in PART: How Our Regional Planning Helps Improve the Triad

Posted on May 16, 2019 at 11:20 AM by Brooke Kochanski

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To most of our loyal riders and first-time travelers, PART is simply a convenient, affordable way to travel throughout the Piedmont Triad. But in addition to all the PART Express Routes, vanpool program and other commuter resources, we’re busy at work behind the scenes, too.


PART works alongside dozens of local, regional and state transportation groups to ensure that the Triad’s transportation needs are being met — as well as planning for future needs.


Since our inception in 1998, we’ve been studying things like congestion, economic growth and transit planning. We’ve spent just over 20 years finding ways to ease major regional concerns like the impacts of growth and development on mobility or how large-scale transit infrastructure can improve our daily lives.


One such initiative was the Piedmont Together project, which brought together 290 people across 13 different civic forums hosted across the region. Working together with experts and Triad citizens alike we created more than 200 ideas to improve transit throughout our region.


One of the biggest takeaways from that effort was the discovery that the number one challenge facing residents was the lack of transportation options. This routinely caused families and businesses economic hardship, whether that came from difficulty accessing jobs or recruiting viable employees.


The lack of mobility options fuels the focus of the regional modeling program and planning efforts. This four-part initiative combines regional travel and freight modeling, transit ridership estimation, socio-economic analysis, and cutting-edge planning tools.


Thanks to this multi-level program, our Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) are able to save approximately $100,000 each year due in large part to our coordination efforts. The regional modeling program is managed in conjunction with the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s (NCDOT) Planning Department and the Greensboro, Winston-Salem, High Point, and Burlington-Graham MPOs.


We also keep a sharp eye trained on specific transit planning needs in the Triad. For example, a 2016 bus advertising campaign allowed us to analyze and propose solutions for funding and purchasing bus stop amenities.


And our access to vital data from federal, state and local agencies such as the U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. DOT and NCDOT allows us to dial into numbers big and small, giving us the information we need to make impactful decisions.


Through organizations like the Piedmont Transportation Professionals (PTP), we’re able to stay in touch with present and future leaders in the transportation sector. PTP facilitates training opportunities conducted within the Piedmont Triad for professional engineers and planners. Its diverse array of in-person forums provides continuing education, networking opportunities and resources, including the ability to earn AICP and PE credits.


But what does this all mean for our everyday PART riders? It means that we’re joining forces with some of the most forward-thinking transit professionals on a daily basis to improve the services and access to opportunity to people in the Triad.


From clean air quality initiatives to adding more PART Express routes to underserved areas, we’re working hard to improve transportation throughout the Piedmont Triad. We are working toward a cleaner, accessible and effective future, and the activities of our vast planning efforts are helping us get there together.


To learn more about our regional planning efforts, click here.