The Sioux Falls Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), in partnership with the City of Sioux Falls and Sioux Area Metro (SAM), recently worked with URS Corporation to complete a study on the SAM route system in Sioux Falls. The purpose of the study was to determine whether a grid fixed route system could improve service efficiency over the current hub-and-spoke route system. Improvements were measured as an increase in the percentage of the city within a ¼ mile walk distance of fixed route service, a decrease in the average travel time for transit riders, and a decrease in the number of transfers required for the riders to complete their trips.
The results of the study were that the grid system could not provide the same or better service than the current hub-and-spoke route system unless the transit budget is increased substantially. The grid system would not cover as much of the city with even a minimum level of service with existing resources. Transfers, wait times, and walk distances would also be greater for a majority of riders than they are with the current route system. For riders that would experience decreased travel times, their improvement would only be approximately 1/3 of the average travel time increase for riders experiencing longer travel times. Thus, the benefits do not outweigh the costs.
As a result, the study was further expanded to include potential improvements that should be made to the route system as the City continues to grow. Recommendations included the addition of new routes, and the modification and combination of existing routes. It also included a recommendation to add three new transfer centers similar to the existing Southwest Transfer Center on South Louise Avenue. Next steps will include developing an implementation and action plan.
Further details on the results of this study can be found in the Sioux Area Metro Route Analysis posted at: http://www.siouxfallsmpo.org/ .