Comprehensive Operational Analysis (COA)
Thank you for your comments and feedback on the recommendations presented December 12 and 13. A few take-a-ways for those not able to attend:
There is no timeline for changing bus routes or schedules as recommended in the report. Planning efforts are underway to look at the recommendations and decide what changes happen first and continue into the future. When a route adjustment is getting ready to be made, we’ll provide the public information on those changes in detail, including new bus schedules, maps and public postings on Facebook and Twitter.
We are actively exploring microtransit in Kalamazoo. We’d love to hear if you have used microtransit in your travels in Michigan or nationwide.
We want to make sure that if routes are adjusted that we minimize any impacts to our riders. This takes time so please be patient with us.
If you have comments or feedback on the recommendation, please email us at email@example.com or use the Contact button in the top right corner of the website.
As of February 13, 2023
- Executive Summary
- Existing Services and Assets
- Budget and Funding
- Peer Comparison
- Market Analysis
- Initial Public and Stakeholder Input
- Service Assessment
- Preliminary Service Scenarios and Stakeholder Reactions
- Final Recommendations
Metro is considering ways to improve bus service for current and prospective riders.
Over the past year, Metro has been working on a Comprehensive Operational Analysis (COA) study. The aim of this study is to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the existing Metro system and to develop recommendations to improve ridership, productivity, and the overall transit user experience. The COA included detailed analyses of each Metro route, as well as a comprehensive assessment of the overall market for transit service in the region. In addition, the COA included several opportunities for public and stakeholder involvement, such as surveys and public meetings.
Two preliminary service improvement scenarios were developed and presented to the public in May of 2022. Based on the feedback received from the public and other stakeholders, as well as field testing results provided by Metro staff, a final scenario was developed.
The information to be presented reflects the final recommendations of the COA study. These recommendations are built on the notion that an effective transit network consists of strong individual routes.
This means that each route must:
- Be easy to use,
- Be intuitive to understand
- Serve a robust mix of the types of destinations that tend to generate a high number of transit trips (multi-family housing, grocery and retail centers, medical facilities, and academic institutions).
The final recommended service scenario concentrates Metro’s fixed-route transit service where it can be most effective (i.e., areas with higher density and transit-supportive land use). However, the recommended scenario also supplements the fixed-route network with “microtransit” service.
Microtransit is an app-based on-demand service that operates like Uber and Lyft but utilizes transit-specific vehicles. Microtransit is a particularly effective tool for serving lower-density and/or automobile-oriented environments. It can provide both local circulation within a designated zone and first/last mile connections to the fixed-route network.
The service information presented in this packet is divided into three phases: a cost-neutral phase, a short-term phase, and a long-term phase. This phasing approach is a reflection of the fact that Metro service must operate within the constraints of the agency’s available resources. The cost-neutral recommendations can be implemented with the financial resources currently available to Metro, while the short-term and long-term recommendations will require additional resources to facilitate implementation.
In all scenarios, the service operates as late as 10:00 PM. While Metro operated late-night service past 10:00 PM prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, a review of ridership activity from that period showed very low ridership on all routes after 10:00 PM. While service after 10:00 PM is not being recommended for any route at this time, late-night service is a good use-case for on-demand microtransit service. It is recommended that Metro consider implementing city-wide microtransit service during the late-night hours to gauge demand for service after 10:00 PM before considering late-night fixed-route service. However, this recommendation is beyond the time-horizon of this study.
Finally, the recommendations presented will serve as a guide for Metro as it looks at service improvements into the future. Extensive work will be needed to implement the recommendations, including public and driver feedback, bus stop locations, and outreach. Time will be focused initially on areas that can be adjusted with minimum impact to service. No timelines are identified in the recommendations to allow Metro the ability to plan accordingly as they improve the system into the future.
What is Microtransit?
MATS – Muskegon, Michigan: Website
The Rapid – Grand Rapids, Michigan: Website
SMART – Detroit, Michigan: Website
Sample of Microtransit using VIA: Video
What is a Comprehensive Operational Analysis?
Every ten years Metro takes a look at the transit system and looks at ways to improve. This includes both our fixed route system and Metro Connect, our paratransit on-demand service. The current Comprehensive Operational Analysis started in October 2021 with an expected completion date of December 2022. Below are resources for the project:
Please call (269) 337 – 8222 with questions or for further information.