Transportation News
In Our Region
This month's transportation newsletter spotlights public transit in Greater Portland — from the publication of of our region's long-range public transportation plan, Transit Tomorrow, to short-term strategies to make transit more accessible and reliable. Thank you for reading!

—Chris Chop, Transportation Director
New long-range plan aims to improve and expand
the region's public transportation network
Earlier this month, the PACTS Executive Committee approved Transit Tomorrow, our region’s first-ever plan for growing Greater Portland's public transportation network.

This plan is the culmination of two years of planning and public engagement with passengers, residents, municipalities, transit agencies, businesses and other stakeholders.

The region’s vision is to make public transportation competitive with driving a car.
Here are data-informed recommendations for how we can achieve the vision:
Make transit easier
To make public transit easier to use in Greater Portland, Transit Tomorrow recommends deploying emerging technologies to plan trips, schedule rides and pay fares.

Using transit in Greater Portland currently requires referring to multiple apps, maps and timetables, but this information can be in one place with a mobile app.
Create more frequent connections
We can improve bus frequency so that buses come every 10 minutes, and we can expand service hours to extend from 6 a.m. to midnight seven days a week. When a transit system has more frequent connections, you won’t have to wait a long time to catch your ride.

Adding circulator routes to our region’s downtowns and villages will give riders a convenient way to get where they need to go.
Improve rapid transit
Rapid transit — like light rail, commuter rail and bus rapid transit — can bypass traffic congestion and help transit riders stay on schedule.

Adding rapid transit to key regional corridors will give riders a convenient and high-speed travel option between Saco-Biddeford/Brunswick, South Portland/Gorham, and Portland/Windham.
Create transit-friendly places
Dispersed, sprawling development patterns reduce the time and cost efficiency of public transit. If we’re strategic about where and how future growth happens in Greater Portland, we can expand housing choices and jobs in communities that are walkable and transit-accessible.

To do this, Transit Tomorrow recommends prioritizing growth in places where people already live, work and visit.

Also, the plan recommends the adoption of “complete streets” policies to ensure that streets are designed with all transportation users in mind, including motorists, transit users, pedestrians and cyclists.
What's next?
Implementing Transit Tomorrow will unfold over the coming years, but getting started on these recommendations can incrementally transform our region into one with better transportation options. Now it’s time to roll up our sleeves and get to work!

The region has already started on some initiatives and has several others getting ready to launch.

The Transit Stop Access Project will result in better-designed, more accessible bus stops around the region. The upcoming Transit Together study will identify short-term opportunities for transit providers to better align routes and schedules and potentially integrate some functions to save agencies money. Transit providers can reinvest those savings into system improvements.
Rebuilding transit ridership
Since the pandemic began a year ago, transit ridership has fallen significantly both in our region and in cities around the world. The region has identified two major strategies to rebuild ridership: innovate to improve service, and encourage people to hop back on board as we emerge from the pandemic.

Last week, GPCOG and the region's transit providers launched a public education campaign celebrating all of the people who have worked to keep riders safe over the past year. This is a first step in rebuilding ridership on our ferries, trains and buses.

You can help by following the campaign on Facebook and Instagram and sharing our videos and other content.