Understanding the needs and expectations of transit customers is a key challenge for every transit agency. After 20 years of piecemeal growth Edmonton's transit network needed a comprehensive review. We started with a Transit Strategy that included the largest and most comprehensive public engagement program in Edmonton's history. A three phased approach was used to gather ideas, prioritize needs, and address trade-offs. We reached out to both transit users and non-transit users in a variety of ways including public workshops, surveys, and talking to customers in person, on the bus, at festivals, and other public venues. The engagement led to a new set of principles for transit network design which was approved by City Council in 2017. This strategy includes a new hierarchy of routes to simplify the network, and high frequency service on major corridors even at the expense of longer walking distances. The engagement also revealed that while some preferences were common to all Edmontonians, particular differences in preferences emerged between residents in inner and outer neighbourhoods. The principles of the Transit Strategy were then applied to redesign the bus network. An interactive map with rough schedules was created so Edmontonians could see how the proposed network would work. ETS staff and consultants talked with thousands of Edmontonians at public workshops met with bus operators at every transit garage, reviewed comments received from the online survey, email, phone calls and social media. This feedback was used to validate design principles and identify missing connections, resulting in substantial changes in the second draft of the network. In addition, several communities were found to be poorly suited for traditional fixed-route transit, leading to additional workshops where residents helped planners evaluate solutions using alternate modes of transit. This presentation will go through Edmonton's Bus Network Redesign project with a focus on the many ways (digital, traditional, and innovative) we engaged citizens and used their feedback to inform the design principles and resulting bus network. The proposed bus network will go to City Council for approval in November 2019.
Recorded February 12 2020