Columbus, Ohio, USA
Point-to-point and first-and-last-mile service
3 large buses and 3 vans
of fixed routes connect to the on-demand service
increase in transit coverage
growth in ridership between December 2019 and December 2020
This Midwestern city — the 14th most populous in the country — competed against 77 others nationwide to win the U.S. Department of Transportation’s “Smart City Challenge” — a challenge that asked participants to develop an “integrated, first-of-its-kind smart transportation system that would use data, applications, and technology to help people and goods move more quickly, cheaply, and efficiently.” The Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA)’s goal was to increase transit coverage and ridership. Additionally, amid the Covid-19 pandemic, there was a need to reevaluate underused fixed routes and analyze which areas could benefit from an on-demand service.
In partnership with Via, COTA launched its first microtransit service in July 2019. Since then, they have introduced three additional zones, including Via’s first fully on-demand bus service in the United States. The services provide point-to-point and first-and-last-mile transportation in Grove City, South Side, Westerville, Northeast Columbus, and New Albany. Riders can connect to 19 different fixed routes, 10 of which were added after consulting with the Via Strategies team to connect to areas that were experiencing a reduction in fixed route service due to the pandemic. Rides are free if making a connection to a fixed route service.
COTA//Plus Bus On-Demand is providing residents of Northeast Franklin County with service that meets their immediate and specific needs. We are excited to explore how other neighborhoods can benefit from this innovative solution and connect more people to our transit system."
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