Blog Post: Transit Helps Riders’ Pocketbooks & Drives Economic Growth
Did you know that according to a recent American Automobile Association (AAA) study, the average car costs the owner over $8,000 per year before gasoline expenses? The costs of licensing, registration, taxes, depreciation, maintenance, insurance, and finance charges can add up to a hefty financial burden. In fact, the average person’s largest expense, after housing, is buying, maintaining, and operating personal vehicles. The average U.S. household spends 18 cents of every dollar on transportation, and 96% of that expense is spent on personal vehicles. Much of this expense is generated before you fill up at the pump.
The pocketbook savings is one reason why more folks in the MAPO Planning Boundary are choosing to use the Mankato Transit System. It allows them to opt out of these expenses and save money.
The economic benefits of transit don’t stop at the individual; they extend to the entire community. Studies show that for every $1 communities invest in public transportation, approximately $4 is generated in economic returns. Transit is particularly important to local business owners, as 87% of trips on public transit have a direct impact on the local economy. Transit is a smart financial choice for both the individual and the community.
Project Spotlight: Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Transition Plan
In the coming months, citizens of the MAPO’s planning boundary may see a team collecting sidewalk slope and other data. This is because, among other projects, the MAPO is conducting an evaluation of pedestrian infrastructure within the boundary. The goal is to ensure compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The data our teams collect will be included in an ADA Transition Plan that will provide a blueprint, schedule and planning-level costs for upgrading the MAPO’s pedestrian infrastructure. Each jurisdiction within MAPO is self-evaluating policies, practices and pedestrian infrastructure within the public rights-of-way to identify ADA deficiencies that pose barriers to safe and efficient access for all users.
View the project website for additional information, including project updates, materials, meeting notifications and opportunities to comment on the Self-Evaluation and Transition Plan.
What is the ADA?
Our public spaces should be accessible to everyone. To help reach that goal, a set of civil rights legislation was signed into law in 1990 – the Americans with Disabilities Act. It prohibits discrimination based on disability and imposes accessibility requirements on public accommodations. The spirit of the ADA is best summarized by the quote; “…no qualified individual with a disability shall, by reason of such disability, be excluded from participation in or be denied the benefits of the services, programs, or activities of a public entity, or be subjected to discrimination by any such entity.” -Americans with Disabilities Act, Title II, 42 U.S. Code § 12132
Why is the MAPO managing this project?
In 2016, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) provided guidance, informational resources, and background on the ADA to all of Minnesota’s Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs). Title II of the ADA pertains to the programs, activities and services public entities provide, including local public service agencies and local transportation agencies. As a regional transportation planning entity, the MAPO is uniquely capable of coordinating this project among its member jurisdictions.
The MAPO area is served by a variety of public and private transit providers. The largest of these is the Mankato Transit System (MTS). Increasingly more people are enjoying the MTS and other regional providers. Below is a refresher on how to help ensure your bus ride is safe, enjoyable, and efficient.
1. Know your route. GMTS route information is available here.
2. Use Google Maps. For those with smart phones, just type your destination into Google Maps and select the “bus” icon. GMTS has uploaded route information to Google to help riders find their way.
3. Have your fare ready ahead of time when boarding. This will help ensure everyone gets there on time. Fill the bus seats in the back first.
4. Sit appropriately. The “courtesy seats” (the seats nearest the front) shouldn’t be used until the bus starts to fill up, unless you are elderly, disabled, or pregnant.
5. All buses are ADA accessible and equipped to accommodate wheelchairs, scooters and walkers.
9. Consider purchasing a 30-Day Frequent Rider Bus Pass.
10. Don’t inflict your noise on others. Loud talking, electronics, and singing can be distracting. Wear ear buds and keep the volume low enough so that only you can hear it.
11. All buses are equipped with bike racks and may be used at no extra charge. Bicycles are not allowed inside the bus.
Winter Bicycling Tips
The MAPO area is a four-season climate, but you don’t have to be a die-hard bicyclist to enjoy your bike year-round. Below are a selection of winter bicycling tips. Stop into any of Greater Mankato’s bicycle shops for more guidance.
• Lower your saddle. Lowering your center of gravity is likely to make your bike less wobbly. If slipping does occur, you’re in a better position to grip the ground with your feet and stabilize yourself. Lastly, if you do fall over, starting from a lower position will decrease the impact.
• (Slightly) decrease tire pressure. Letting a small amount of air out of your tires will allow more traction on a slippery road surface.
• Watch snow for clues. Remember that any road surface that glitters will most likely be slippery, even if it appears dry.
• Keep your bicycle clean. Winter road salt, slush, and grime can accelerate rusting and corrosion. A well-maintained bike will respond better and is safer to ride.
• Dress appropriately. Winter is not only colder, it’s also darker. Remember to dress appropriately for the temperature and the decreased daylight. Stay warm, stay visible.
Source: O’Sullivan, Feargus. The Safe Way to Ride Your Bike in Winter. January 8, 2018. Photo credit: Mikael Colville-Andersen. Creative Commons License.