Washington, D.C. – Members of the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB) voted unanimously today to support a program aimed at improving some of the region’s approximately 20,000 bus stops.
The Regional Bus Stop Improvement Program focuses on economically distressed areas and was developed for submission to the Livability Bus Program, a new discretionary Federal Transit Administration (FTA) program. The program totals $16.7 million and identifies approximately 2,800 sites for improvements. The federal grant request is for $13.4 million, while the remaining 20 percent will be matched by local agencies.
Using Census and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) data, TPB and Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) staffs coordinated with local jurisdictions to develop a proposal that prioritizes accessibility improvements to bus stops throughout the region, including both Metrobus and local bus stops. Improvements include sidewalk extensions, lighting, bus shelters and real-time information at stops, such as NextBus displays.
Nat Bottigheimer, Assistant General Manager for Planning and Joint Development at WMATA, noted that improving bus stops is a high priority at Metro and these improvements allow people with disabilities to have bus transit options, in addition to those provided by MetroAccess, the door-to-door service provided by Metro.
Victor Weissberg, Special Assistant to the Director for the Prince George’s County Department of Public Works & Transportation, said that improving access to bus stops is a need throughout the region, especially among the disabled and low-income populations. Prince George’s County submitted the largest set of improvements, constituting nearly half of the total program funding amount.
Wendy Klancher, Senior Transportation Planner at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG), noted that in addition to improving conditions for current bus riders, the enhancements to bus stops will encourage new riders to make use of the region’s many bus systems. “The range of improvements in this program has the potential to benefit every segment of our region’s population,” said Klancher.
TPB members asked that minor changes be permitted to be introduced until January 27. Grant applications are due February 10. Per the grant’s requirement of a single applicant, WMATA will submit the grant proposal, with the TPB’s endorsement, on behalf of the six participating jurisdictions (Arlington County, the District of Columbia, the City of Greenbelt, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, and Prince William County).
More details regarding the proposal, including elements by jurisdiction and specific funding distribution, maps of focus areas for improvements, and selection criteria are available here.