On Monday, July 6 Jackson’s Town Council and the Teton County Commission accepted START’s proposed 2020-2025 Route Plan to be the primary guiding document helping the jointly operated transportation department chart its operations into the future. Implementation will require further approval or amendments and a corresponding budget. On a macro-level, public transit is a vital part of the solution to curbing the 62% of greenhouse gas emissions that come from vehicles in Teton County.
The 2020-2025 Route Plan was created by LSC Transportation Consultants, Inc., which led a thorough evaluation of alternative routing options utilizing existing START resources. LSC was the preferred consultant based on similar work they provided for other transit systems in resort towns. While the town and county’s Integrated Transportation Plan (ITP) establishes a long-term strategic transit plan for START, there was a missing piece in terms of near-term solutions to maximize efficiency and use of existing resources. Potential expansions to START called for in the ITP were factored into this Route Plan to provide as much synergy as possible.
Recognizing that when implemented, this new Route Plan will have a significant impact on our community, START hosted a thorough public engagement process that started in June of 2019 and included stakeholder interviews, rider surveys, focus groups, driver meetings, general community surveys, route option workshops, and finally a community survey on route options last winter. After compiling all the input received, the consultants finalized the following list of recommendations.
- Micro-transit options with smaller vehicles and real-time on-demand service in East Jackson
- Efficient transit connections with travel times competitive to personal autos
- Direct routing for Town Shuttle and Teton Village routes
- Higher frequency to maximize and increase ridership
- New routes for south Jackson and further south
- Reduced emissions and vehicle miles traveled
- Increased commuter and regional services
Though thrilled to be at the end of the development phase of its new Route Plan, the START team has made major adjustments to its timeline for rolling it out. Initially, the plan called for full implementation to start in the FY21 fiscal year, which is currently underway. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and related budget cuts, START put full execution of the Route Plan on hold for the time being. Partial implementation is now planned for later in FY21 with full implementation in FY22. START Director Daren Brugmann was clear with elected officials that he will be back for approval when the time is right.