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ETS is looking at options for some neighbourhoods that will have longer walking distances or limited service as a result of the proposed bus network.

The Challenge

Designing a transit system that meets the needs of more Edmontonians requires balancing different priorities and making tradeoffs. For example, based on extensive public feedback, the proposed new bus network will provide more frequent service and routes will be more direct. In exchange, many people said they would be willing to walk a bit further to the nearest bus stop.

A 10 minute stroll is fine for most transit users, but it can be troublesome for people who have mobility challenges, are carrying heavy loads or are trudging through knee-deep snow at -30C degrees.

After the basic bus network is finalized with help from citizens, we will add in community buses, school specials, late night OWL service and options for some neighbourhoods that will have longer walking distances or limited service starting in 2020. The challenge is finding suitable first km/last km options to help people complete their journey in areas that have few transit users or are located further from the main bus routes.

Many options will be explored in a first km/last km study going to Edmonton City Council in fall 2018.

First km / Last km Study

Edmonton is just one of many cities that is looking for solutions to the first km/last km portion of a user’s transit trip. We will provide a first km/last km report to City Council in fall 2018, which looks at how other communities manage it, identifies feasible options for Edmonton and provides ballpark costs. Pending direction from City Council, we could conduct some pilot studies in 2019.

City Council asked us to look at the following options, and more.

  • An updated community bus strategy (for local routes)
  • On demand style of service
  • Review car sharing
  • Vehicles for hire
  • Partnerships with vehicle manufacturers to develop a fleet of connected automated vehicles and buses
  • Partnerships with Edmonton Seniors Coordinating Council, as well as seniors not-for-profit and for-profit transportation companies
  • Transfer some reduced conventional local bus service hours to enhance DATS paratransit service

Possible Solutions

We know there won’t be one first km/last km approach that will work for our entire city, and realistically there may not be a solution for every person. If you have a possible solution that could work in your local community, please let us know by calling 311 or send us an email.

Solutions Implemented by Other Municipalities

We are preparing for new technology and looking at new mobility options to include in our plans for the future of transit in Edmonton. We are also looking at best practices in other cities including Calgary, Minneapolis, Houston, Los Angeles and Seattle. Our initial research shows there are some innovative approaches being used by other transit agencies. For example:

  • Technology companies are developing software to support on demand transit services in Airdrie, Alberta, Orlando, Florida, and Austin, Texas
  • Tampa, Florida is subsidizing trips using Uber to/from specific transit stations
  • Boston, Massachusetts is partnering with Uber for on-demand paratransit (DATS) service

We have no agreements with any private companies, such as Uber, to replace our current transit service but we need to continually explore what is possible in the future. Any first km/last km options would have to meet the needs of Edmonton neighbourhoods, be easy to implement, affordable and would require approval by City Council after consultation with key stakeholder groups.

For More Information

Bus Network Redesign Project

Telephone

In Edmonton: 311
Outside Edmonton: 780-442-5311

TTY 780-944-5555
Email newbusroutes@edmonton.ca

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