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Duluth, MN 55802 
Transit Planning
The MIC plays an important role in ensuring a coordinated and effective transit planning process within the Duluth-Superior metropolitan area. MIC staff works cooperatively with the Duluth Transit Authority (DTA) on programs that positively affect and promote transit use.

Current Transit Planning Efforts
MIC staff regularly attends DTA Board meetings and contributed to the recent Human Services Coordinated Transit Plan for the greater Duluth and Superior area. Several other short-term planning efforts are scheduled in the 2007-2008 Work Program:
    City of Superior Route Analysis to examine the potential of a dial-a-ride system within the city versus the current fixed route system

    DTA Riderrship Survey to conduct and analyze the responses of an on-board ridership survey

    ADA Disability Plan Update to update the existing ADA plan for the DTA

    Downtown Duluth Modal Connections Study the 2008 MIC Work Program includes the development of a plan to fully connect all modes of travel (auto, bus, bike, pedestrian) within the greater Duluth Central Business District and Canal Park. View the scope of the project.
Recent Transit Planning Efforts
The MIC's transit planning efforts in recent years have focused primarily on evaluating and making recommendations to improve bus service and faciilities within the City of Duluth and the greater Duluth region.

    Duluth Transit Authority Downtown Transportation Terminal Analysis (October 2004)
The proposed design for a centralized downtown off-street transit center option called for a multimodal hub to be constructed below Michigan Street on 3rd Avenue West.
    One of the long-term recommendations from the Duluth Transit Authority Service Analysis and Downtown Interaction Study of 2003 was to conduct an in-depth analysis of the feasibility of building an off-street transit terminal in the downtown or peripheral location/s. Collaborative Design Group and SRF Consulting were hired to address this recommendation.

    The major benefits of the off-street transit terminal option would be to provide a central point for bus transferring and to combine a variety of multimodal transportation services to offer customers in reaching their destinations (long haul buses, taxis, light rail etc.). Key factors in identifying potential sites included proximity to employment concentrations and existing or planned skywalk facilities.

    The study process began with consultants identifying 20 preliminary site possibilities. Working with the technical and policy groups established for this study, the selection was narrowed to three feasible sites. Consultants and DTA worked closely with the Greater Downtown Council, Mayors Downtown Task Force, and MIC Staff on this project. The three proposals were unveiled for public review in August of 2004. The cost of operating the three proposed terminals are virtually identical, however, the capital costs of building them differ. The DTA will be searching for funds if the DTA Board decides that transit services should be moved off-street. The preference of the DTA, and best site recommendation from the consultants, would be to develop one centralized terminal with skywalk access.

    View Downtown DTA Terminal Analysis Report

    DTA Service Analysis and Downtown Interaction Study (February 2003)
    The MIC, the Duluth Transit Authority (DTA), and consultants Abrams-Cherwony conducted a Comprehensive Operations Analysis (COA) and Downtown Interaction Study for DTA transit services. The main objectives are to improve operations at the downtown bus stops and to develop more efficient route structures. In addition, this plan will yield a five-year transit plan guiding DTA services.

    Several surveys were conducted to assist this planning process including: counting passenger boardings and deboardings on all routes, surveying users onboard and at downtown bus stops, and a downtown walk-in meeting. A Technical and Policy Committee have guided the process, keeping a strong focus on operational issues in the downtown area.

    Survey results showed that routes and hours of service in the Miller Hill Mall are major issue for riders. Further, transit users are satisfied with the current location of the Downtown Transit Centers however they would like to see various improvements to these two locations including: increased operation hours, restrooms, increased policing, additional benches, a larger waiting area, and additional route information. Abrams-Cherwony suggested widening the curb space at both Transit Centers and utilizing queuing lines, which would allow more space for pedestrians walking through the area. In the long term, the DTA may want to consider constructing an off-street terminal to further maximize transit services and coordinate other intermodal activities.

    View DTA Service Analysis and Downtown Interaction Study

    Duluth Regional Transit Study (November 2001)
    The Duluth-Superior Metropolitan Interstate Council (MIC) teamed with SRF Consulting to analyze the need for expanded transit service into the outlying Duluth communities of Cloquet, Two Harbors and Hermantown. The Regional Transit Study set out to identify the feasibility of establishing new Duluth Transit Authority (DTA) routes and/or services into these communities.

    Before data collection began, the MIC presented the study goals and scope at each community’s city council meetings. Data collection then began by collecting employee address information from major businesses, which was geocoded for GIS analysis to determine commuter concentrations. The MIC and SRF then developed a transit survey, which was distributed to major businesses in Duluth, Hermantown, Cloquet and Two Harbors to assess employee interest in and need for weekday commuter transit services. This information was later compiled into a database. In addition, focus group sessions with local social service and government representatives were held in each community to identify other transit service gaps. These sessions shed light on non-commuter transit needs such as special event services, shopping and recreational interests. SRF examined demographic information, existing transit services, and performance measures and also analyzed survey results.

    Study results found major marketing gaps across transit companies resulting in lack of service knowledge for potential customers. In addition, the majority of those surveyed desired transit services that would be similar to their automobiles (direct door to door service, minimal waiting time and low cost). At this time, expansion of DTA services into these communities appears financially unfeasible; however, potential routes were identified for future use.

    View Duluth Regional Transit Study

For More Information
Contact MIC Planner Chris Belden by phone at (218) 529-7502 or send send him an email.ail.