New Links is a joint study and planning process by the RTA, Jefferson Transit, and St. Bernard Parish Urban Rapid Transit. It kicked off in early 2019 and we expect recommendations to be presented to the transit agencies in early 2020.
The basic concept of a network redesign is for a transit agency, a city, or a region to rethink where bus lines go and how to prioritize resources, starting from a clean slate. It’s premised on the acknowledgement that the current transit system is not adequately meeting the goals of the system. Those goals could be access to destinations, travel time, frequency, reliability, better serving marginalized communities, or a combination therein.
Furthermore, a network redesign process acknowledges that due to finite resources, an agency needs to rethink how to spend available dollars in order to accomplish its goals.
As Ride New Orleans has consistently detailed – and the RTA’s Strategic Mobility Plan (SMP) confirms – our transit network does not provide the reliable, widespread access to jobs and opportunities that the region’s residents and businesses need. Raising additional operating revenue is an important priority but unlikely in the short-term. Thus, there is a clear need to better allocate existing resources through a network redesign process.
This can result in big changes to the network that can have big payoffs for riders with reduced travel time, more on-time buses, and more frequent buses. But there are tradeoffs as well, that riders need to discuss. For instance, is it worth it to walk a little further to frequent service or transfer one more time for an overall quicker trip to your destination?
New Links will unfold in three phases:
- Phase I (January – August 2019): Introduce the basic process; community engagement and education; rider origin/destination survey; internal data analysis
- Phase II (September – December 2019): Draft different network scenarios that show potential changes to the regional transit network; present and receive feedback during a second round of community engagement
- Phase III (Early 2020): Utilizing community feedback, data analysis, and transit agency priorities, propose specific changes to the regional transit network and present those to transit agencies
After Phase III, the New Links process will be complete, but there will be an unofficial fourth phase as the RTA and Jefferson Transit determine whether to implement the New Links recommendations.
For more up-to-date information during the New Links process, you can go to newlinksnola.com or reach out directly to RIDE.