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Expand to a Regional Transit System

Action Outcome

Develop a transit system that ensures all County residents and workers can get to jobs, lifeline, and leisure activities via transit service.


  •   More than 30 interviews completed with community leaders
  •   Established "Partners for Transit" – a transit support and advocacy organization
  •   Two subcommittees formed – Governance / Administration and Communication
  •   Identified dedicated regional transit funding
  •   Created website and monthly news letter with information on need for regional
  •         transit and transit testimonials from the community

    Action Champions

    Jeff Irwin, Commissioner, Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners
    Richard Sheridan, President, Menlo Innovations

    Action Manager

    Terri Blackmore, Executive Director, Washtenaw Area Transportation Study

    For information contact Terri Blackmore at


    Action Description

    A great transit system was identified by the A2Success workgroups as key to attracting and retaining talent.  Expanding the region’s transit system includes identifying additional funding as well as the appropriate components of a high-functioning transit system (fixed route, community connections, commuter rail, demand response or lifeline service, etc.) 
    This service could include sustainable, reliable fixed-route service in the urbanized area with more frequent and longer service, community connectors, commuter services via express bus and rail, and lifeline transit service throughout Washtenaw County.  This type of high-functioning transit service provides a high quality of life through transportation choice and availability to all users, reduced congestion, improved air quality, and increased economic investment.

    Action Team

    Terri Blackmore, Washtenaw Area Transportation Study
    Michael Behnam, Citizen
    Eli Cooper, City of Ann Arbor
    Anya Dale, Washtenaw County
    Gretchen Driskell, Mayor, City of Saline
    Vanessa Hansle, RideConnect
    John Hieftje, Mayor, Ann Arbor
    Carsten Hohnke, Ann Arbor City Council
    Diane Keller, Ypsilanti Area Chamber of Commerce
    Brett Lenart, Washtenaw County
    Susan Pollay,  Ann Arbor DDA
    Nick Sapkiewicz, Washtenaw Area Transportation Study
    Frant Schwende, Washtenaw Biking and Walking Coalition
    Nancy Shore, GetDowntown Program
    Conan Smith, Michigan Suburbs Alliance, and WCBC
    Mary Stasiak, Ann Arbor Transportation Authority
    Chris White, Ann Arbor Transportation Authority

    Action Timeline

    Action Steps


    1. Develop a transit expansion plan for Washtenaw County (include projects, costs, funding, organizational steps)
    Adopted January 2009
    2. Educate County leaders about proposed transit plan (presentations to businesses, governments, non-profits, etc.)
    January to December 2009
    3. Survey County residents on transit June 2009
    4. Reorganize transit authority under Public Act 196 June 2009
    5. Establish campaign to build support for increased transit funding to realize expansion plan May to November 2009
    6. Educate residents, businesses, community on transit benefits, needs (including funding), proposed expansion, and implementation strategies (funding opportunities) May to November 2009
    7. Voter action November 2009 or later
    8. If funding available, implement transit expansion plan Begin implementing in phases as soon as funding identified


    Communications to Date

    Presentations to communities and community groups:

    City Councils – Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Saline
    Township Boards – Ann Arbor, Superior, Ypsilanti, Lyndon, York
    DDA’s – Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti Downtown, Ypsilanti Depot Town
    Planning Groups - CAPT/DART, MORE, SSC, SWWCOG
    Religous Groups - WS UMW, MOSES
    Chambers – Ypsilanti, Ann Arbor, Dexter
    Chief Elected Officials
    Transit Agencies – AATA, WAVE, PEX
    Community Groups – West Side Methodist Church, Rotary Club of Chelsea


    Metrics and Reporting

    • Increase in transit mode use (e.g. number of bus, rail, non-motorized trips)
    • Increase in geographic areas of services
    • Expansion of time span when service is provided (e.g. transit service that runs later at night, earlier in the morning or on weekends)
    • Frequency of operation (how often service runs in span of service time)
      Ridership numbers (Note: To be effective, measurements must be evaluated in context of service areas).
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