Key Point

For almost half of people who use public transit in our community, it takes over 45 minutes to get to work, compared to 6% of people who drive a car.

Let's Break It Down

Over half of Metro riders take two or more bus routes to get where they are going.

Locally, 40% of people who use public transit take over 45 minutes to get to work. The current Metro bus system provides services to Douglas, Pottawattamie, and Sarpy Counties, with 34 routes. Of these routes, 25 are local with two Downtown Circulators and 7 Express Routes. Local services are provided 7 days per week and express services 5 days per week. Service frequencies range from 15 to 90 minutes. A 2013 Metro rider survey found that 48% of riders took one route, 45% took two routes, and 6% took three or more routes for their trip.

Why Does It Matter?

More consideration of effective land use would make public transit options more efficient.

It's important for all community members to be able to get to work efficiently and on time, no matter what transportation method is used. The more easily people can get to and from their job, the more time they are able to spend with their families, friends, and neighbors. Additionally, efficient public transit commutes allow those who depend on it to better navigate urgent situations.

The Heartland 2050 Regional Transit Vision describes 5 keys to successful transit including:

  • Land use: Transit works best in areas with large numbers of people who travel for work, entertainment, and retail.
  • Frequency: Buses arriving every 15 minutes on a consistent basis improves predictability and ridership.
  • Timeliness: Fewer stops decreases ride time for passengers.
  • Coverage: Serve as much area as possible, but have an emphasis on the most productive areas.

If the Omaha-Council Bluffs metro were to have more efficient, accessible transportation, we could see an increase in transit ridership. Efforts have begun to increase the efficiency of the Metro system, including the development of the first Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system on Dodge Street. The system is expected to cut 16 minutes of vehicle travel time from Westroads Mall to downtown. It is projected to increase economic development by $450 million and generate 1,350 new residents along the corridor. Additionally, it’s anticipated to provide $2.4 million in reduced greenhouse gas emissions, a reduction in congestion, enhanced water quality, and fewer traffic accidents. The BRT expects to begin running in the fall of 2018 with an expected design and construction cost of $30.6 million.

How Do We Compare?

We are faring better than St. Louis and Kansas City, but not as well as other cities in the Midwest.

Of those who use public transit, 40% report taking 45 minutes or longer to get to work, compared to 6% when driving a car to work. In Kansas City, 42% of public transit users and 9% of drivers report taking over 45 minutes to get work. In Des Moines, 30% of public transit users and 6% of car drivers report taking over 45 minutes to get to work. In St. Louis, 53% of public transit users and 12% of car drivers report taking over 45 minutes to get to work.

Data Source: U.S. Census American Community Survey 2012-2016  5 Year Estimates, Table B08134, Heartland 2050 Regional Transit Vision 

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