Metro service in Cincinnati, the third largest city in Ohio, was once largely radial despite the fact that many travelers want to go across town as well as into adjacent counties. Metro’s routes were often circuitous, operating on neighborhood streets instead of adjacent arterials, and made deviations that cause long travel times. Finally, many routes were over capacity, due to a budget crisis that forced service cuts.
Nelson\Nygaard conducted a comprehensive operational analysis to optimize short-term route changes and to create the framework for a vote on increasing funding for SORTA. We reviewed fares as well to assess the financial impacts of transitioning from a transfer and zone-based fare structure to a single fare and daypass type structure.
After a series of public outreach and market research efforts as well as a technical analysis of the existing travel markets, Nelson\Nygaard recommended initial steps for Metro to take to move toward its long-term goals, including creating two new crosstown routes within existing funding levels. Long-term recommendations included bus rapid transit, express bus, general public demand response, and circulator services.