For the first time since redesigning its transit system, StarMetro may conduct a Comprehensive Operational Analysis (COA) beginning this year. At their January 29 meeting, the City Commissioners will vote on approving funding for StarMetro to hire a consultant for the COA.
In November 2019, the Capital Region Transportation Planning Agency (CRTPA) approved the project and the use of $250,000 from the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP) through a request for proposal.
According to the meeting agenda, conducting a COA is recommended but not required by the FDOT.
“Conducting a COA allows public transit agencies to better align their operations with the goals and objectives set forth within their Transit Development Plans (TDP), which are required for agencies receiving state transit block grants,” staff reports.
According to the meeting agenda, the FDOT recommends conducting a COA every 10 years, and StarMetro’s last COA was in 2005.
In 2011, StarMetro completely redesigned its transit system, replacing all previous routes. Since that time, ridership has consistently declined. For example, in 2010 there were 4.946 million StarMetro passenger trips. Based on 2018 numbers, the number of annual StarMetro passenger trips has declined 33.5% during this eight year period.
Conducting a COA could help uncover inefficiencies and further streamline the transit system.
“The COA will collect a variety of data including ridership, on-time performance, stop-level usage, and individual route characteristics,” staff reports. “The data will be used to perform route efficiencies and determine additional modifications to routes and services that will improve overall system performance.”
If the Commission approves accepting the funding, StarMetro will plan to proceed with the COA and present an update to the Commissioners at the end of 2021.