Community Transit’s Innovative Services focuses on partnering with local communities and jurisdictions to test new transportation solutions. We hope these solutions can help provide people with more public transit options and improve their quality of life. These pilot programs often serve as a vital connection to existing transit systems, providing access closer to people's homes and destinations and expanding access to transit for more communities.
Community Transit will partner with cities of all sizes in its service area to pilot these programs. Pilots serve as tests that help us learn from and potentially replicate in other communities. Communities for these pilots are chosen based on criteria such as population density, access to jobs, demographics/equity index, and current access to transit services.
Once selected, Community Transit works with these cities to partner on a comprehensive community needs assessment. This assessment identifies travel gaps and barriers to accessing transportation. This process includes learning from residents, working with city staff, and working with a community working group. These stakeholders help us to determine the local area of focus and the type of transportation service to test.
The type of service for each pilot may vary. Community Transit partners closely with each respective community to customize a service that is most effective for their needs. The success of these pilots will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis to determine if the service will continue long term. This will be based on ridership and other relevant data from the pilot.
After much consideration of various criteria — including population density, access to jobs, demographics/equity index, and current access to transit services — Community Transit will be partnering with the following cities to develop new Innovative Services pilots:
Community Transit presented results from a Needs Assessment survey that was conducted in spring of 2023 to the community working group for each city. This launched the solutions concepting phase, where Community Transit proposed service options to meet the needs identified by the community. A Solutions Survey was recently conducted in the fall of 2023 to get feedback from residents of each city on the proposed service options. Community Transit is currently working on the Solutions Survey analysis.
Community Transit and the City of Lynnwood partnered to launch the agency’s first innovative pilot project to better meet transportation needs within the city. This one-year pilot launched on October 20, 2022.
Lynnwood was selected for this pilot program because of its dense and diverse population and many popular destinations. Lynnwood will also be the site of the northern terminal for Link light rail in 2024. A comprehensive needs assessment identified travel gaps and barriers to accessing transportation in fast-growing areas of Lynnwood. This resulted in focusing on an on-demand microtransit solution to test.
On-demand microtransit is a flexible transit service that you request when you need it. Vehicles are typically smaller than traditional buses. Microtransit often operates within a defined service area to get riders close to home or where they want to go.
Zip Alderwood Shuttle was designed with input from community members to help make getting around the area easier. Throughout the pilot period, Community Transit gathered public feedback to develop this program into a travel option that meets the community's needs. Zip has successfully demonstrated high ridership demand during the pilot. As of October 5, 2023, over 1,400 customers have used the service, averaging 20 trips per customer, for over 32,500 boardings.
The Lynnwood community provided overwhelming support for the service during public engagement period that occurred from August 3 – September 7, 2023, with 94% of respondents supporting the service and its continuation past pilot period. On October 5, 2023, the Board of Directors approved for Zip Alderwood Shuttle to continue as a regular service for Community Transit.