January 19, 2010

The Draft of Metro’s Long-Range Plan in 60 Seconds

Return to Blog

We know everyone is busy. There is a lot of information out there to ingest. So this post is designed to be a 60-second summary (actual time may vary!) of the draft “Moving Transit Forward” plan presentation that we released yesterday.  You’ve got 60 seconds for the future of St. Louis transit, right?  Let’s go.

What is “Moving Transit Forward”?

STL region’s vision for transit restoration, growth and enhancement: 5-year, 10-year, 30-year.

How do we make transit decisions?

The planning team studies land use and regional data on population, employment, travel patterns and projections, and incorporates public input via community workshops, meetings, and websites.

But…East-West Gateway Council of Governments selects projects for design and construction.

Projects must be eligible for federal funding, and must have financial support at local and state level.

Using which criteria will we select projects?

1. Best service for as many people as possible.
2. Cost effective
3. Encourage economic development
4. Help mitigate congestion and pollution
5. Contribute to strength of region’s core


Service restoration and any expansion will require additional financial resources.


First Step

Service restoration of MetroBus, MetroLink and Call‑A‑Ride to pre-March 2009 levels

Passenger Amenities and Technology

Smart Cards
Computer-aided dispatch/automated vehicle location (used in CTA’s BusTracker)
More transit centers
Web- and cellphone-based applications


Potential corridors:
Planning, design, construction requires about 10 years, costs $60 million per mile
Final planning & design phase will determine stations, end points

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)

Potential corridors:
Planning, design & construction requires about 5 years and costs approximately $30 million per route
Final planning & design phase will determine stations, end points

Commuter Rail

Potential corridors:
Success depends on federal and state support of high-speed rail initiatives
Costs approximately $20 million per route if federal and state governments build rail infrastructure

How would we fund the plan?

Additional local funding is required for sustaining system, restoration and expansion.
Additional state funding is required to implement full scope of projects.
Federal funding is required for any major expansion project.

When could we see these projects?

1-5 years

1. Service Restoration
2. Planning and engineering for next light rail route
3. Three bus rapid transit routes
4. East-West Gateway selects light rail and BRT routes
5. Passenger amenities and technology

5-10 years

1. One light rail extension constructed and operating
2. Fourth BRT route
3. East-west Gateway selects next options for expansion
4. Additional transit centers

10-30 years

1. Second light-rail alignment
2. Begin planning and engineering phases for third light rail extension

Commuter rail?

Depends on federal and state support for high-speed rail

St. Charles County, Jefferson County, and Madison County, IL?

Depends on intent and funding from these counties

What happens now?

Seek public input through February 2010
Seek Metro Board of Commissioners approval in February 2010
Seek plan adoption from East-West Gateway Board
Final plan recommendation released in March 2010

There you have it. We are still seeking public input on the draft through February, so please check out this the long-range plans’s online survey to give us your feedback on the specifics of the plan.  If you have any questions about the plan, please let us know at [email protected].

8 thoughts on “The Draft of Metro’s Long-Range Plan in 60 Seconds”

  1. Warren says:

    Why can’t Metro post bus schedules at the bus stops?! Why is that so hard. Print out a schedule, laminate, post. It’s done all over Europe and in at least a few American cities.

    Better still: create lightboards that tell riders when the bus is actually coming.

    The proposed “amenities” are fine for people who a) have cellphones (which isn’t everyone) and b) are willing to spend money sending text-messages every time they wonder where the bus is (which certainly isn’t everyone.)

  2. Thom says:

    Courtney – thanks for the excellent summary; you certainly conveyed a lot of good information in short format.

    Warren, I would say that those are excellent ideas; however, all of these things would have costs. The bus schedules might not be too much, but they would still require a lot of labor to produce, install, and periodically update, especially if you want to reach every single bus stop.

    The message boards that announce when the next bus is arriving requires not only the boards, but on-board GPS on buses, communications links between the boards and a central server, a server and software to calculate the GPS feed and predict arrival time, and on-going maintenance efforts. This takes several years and quite a bit of money to implement. I would hope that this would be a standard feature on any future BRT routes, though?

    1. Courtney says:


      Thanks! The CAD/AVL technology would be available on BRT buses, and actually the technology is being phased into our bus system right now. When a bus retires (we retire them around 650,000 miles, 150,000 more than FTA guidelines), we bring in new buses with this technology built in. It will not only allow bus tracking and real-time arrivals, but also more advanced security features, automatic stop announcements, and maintenance help. You may have seen these newer buses; they have low floors as well. So the technology is coming, it just depends on how quickly we can implement it.

      And regarding bus schedule and route info at stops, it is a very important point you make. Your comment sparked a fresh conversation on the topic. We are working right now to find creative and sustainable ways to post schedule info and to keep bus riders informed. I know, I ride the bus and would like to see the schedules featured. I’ll keep you posted as we test ways to get that information out to you.

    1. Courtney says:

      Great article Warren. I wonder how free ridership could really help the #99 Downtown Circulator. Obviously its something to think about. Would the loss of farebox revenue be worth the tradeoff of having more people use and take transit downtown more often?

  3. RTBones says:

    Thanks for all the information. Its good stuff, even if I dont agree with it all. An open dialogue is a must when doing things like this.

    While I think the cell phone/web apps are a nice idea, I would MUCH rather see the existing bus and Metrolink stops revamped. Many cities around the world (and here at home) list bus schedules and routes at their stops. And no, I do not think it is too much to have at every stop. The only way you get around St. Louis on a bus these days is to either have a connection to the web (aside — the schedules listed on Metro’s trip finder are NOT always right) or know where youre going. Signs half falling down? Surely we can do better than this.

    The GPS for buses would be a “nice to have” but that requires money and maintenance, which I understand entirely.

  4. Jennifer says:

    For what it’s worth, that issue came up during last week’s Metro Live Chat. http://ow.ly/YBTY.

  5. nice work bro, nice article thank you!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Contact to Listing Owner

Captcha Code