New Orleans is famous for its St. Charles Streetcar – the oldest continuously running streetcar line in the world. But greater New Orleans is changing, and so are the ways people move around.
An examination of the short, medium, and long-term market potential for transit service expansion included an analysis of demographic trends and transit-oriented development potential, and engagement with diverse community partners.
To ensure that the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) meets residents’ changing needs and expectations, Asakura Robinson examined the short, medium and long-term market potential for mobility strategies and opportunities for the RTA to expand their service offerings. This examination included building an understanding of where demographic groups are moving within the metropolitan area and assessing the capacity for new, transit-oriented development to reinforce transit ridership.
The project team engaged diverse community partners from different sectors, including university presidents, hospital workers and health care providers, HousingNOLA, and non-transit commuters.
This project also prompted the City to consider types of housing and businesses and where these assets are located in relation to transit systems.
In 2017, Asakura Robinson helped the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (RTA) develop a Strategic Mobility Plan that established a new vision, goals and roadmap to improve public transportation throughout the city and region. The RTA runs an expansive network of streetcars, buses and a Mississippi River ferry. The Strategic Mobility Plan benefits commuters, public transit users, non-public transit users, and people who prefer alternative modes of transportation. One key lesson learned from this project is that regardless of economic background, people expressed the same values and levels of importance for transit. Themes that stand out for this lesson include time and frequency of transit, transit reliability, and amenities at bus stops. While this project focused primarily on improving public transit, it also worked to improve inter agency relationships between Orleans Parish and Jefferson parish.
Community participation was central to this process and Asakura Robinson staff created engaging communications materials, conducted outreach to civic organizations and public officials, and translated community feedback into a clear understanding of New Orleanians’ mobility needs and challenges.