Service Improvements

Our Initiatives and Outreach

Connecting with Our Community

At COTA, we’re committed to our Central Ohio communities by partnering with individuals and groups to develop solutions to better serve them, participate in outreach activities and look for the community’s involvement in our plans.

Each year, COTA engages in more than 300 outreach activities to foster relationships in the communities we serve. Examples of community outreach include:

  • Community leader roundtable discussions
  • Neighborhood presentations to groups, business and civic organizations
  • One-on-one and group meetings with stakeholders

Below is a handful of past and ongoing community initiatives. Click on the links to learn more about each.

Our Most Recent Route Redesign

In May 2017, COTA launched its first-ever overhaul of our entire bus network. Based on public input, stakeholder involvement and our Board of Trustees’ leadership, COTA developed a Transit System Redesign (TSR) that:

  • Simplified routes
  • Doubled the number of high-frequency bus routes
  • Improved transit service
  • Increased weekend service
  • Reduced bus congestion downtown
  • Connected more people to more jobs with shorter wait times
  • Provided more travel options for the growing populations
  • Enabled more frequent and consistent service seven days a week
  • Unveiled more than 3,000 vehicle transit stops and a newly-designed wayfinding system

Our TSR launch efforts included:

  • a strategic marketing campaign informing the community of the changes
  • a trip planner that allowed customers to compare old and new routes
  • an 80-person street team that assisted riders in the weeks surrounding the launch

Representatives from the Maryland Transit Administration and Rochester Regional Transit Service have visited COTA to understand how we were able to achieve this ambitious goal. We have also shared information about our TSR with officials in Boston, Cleveland and Indianapolis.

 

A Policy Agenda Thats Ready for Tomorrow

State Public Policy Agenda 2018 Federal Public Policy Agenda 2018
Goal 1: Transit Funding

Pursue state legislation, innovative funding mechanisms, programs and policies that support increased state investment in public transportation.

  • Maintain the sales and use tax base, and encourage any legislation exempting a good or service to identify replacement funding.
  • Seek increased funding for transit agencies.
  • Seek funding for high-capacity transit projects and multimodal infrastructure.
  • Support increasing transportation dollars returned to localities and Metropolitan Planning Organizations.
Goal 1: Transit Funding

Pursue federal appropriations, programs and policies that support increased federal investment in public transportation.

  • Maintain funding for the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) at the authorized levels of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act.
  • Seek increased funding for the Bus and Bus Facilities Formula Program and the Bus and Bus Facilities Competitive Grant Program.
  • Maintain FAST Act levels of funding for the Capital Investment Grant program, which supports critical investments in public transportation and economic growth, including funding of the Columbus Region’s first bus rapid transit line, known as CMAX.
  • Support an increase in federal transportation dollars returned to localities and metropolitan planning organizations such as MORPC.
  • Support continued funding of the TIGER and FASTLANE programs for transit and multimodal connectivity.
Goal 2: Technology

Advance new transportation technologies and initiatives  that encourage transit and position Central Ohio as a leader in transportation innovation. 

  • Encourage ongoing engagement by ODOT in the Smart Columbus program.
  • Work with DriveOhio to ensure public transportation is a focus.
  • Promote policies, programs and funding for first mile/last mile solutions.
  • Pursue autonomous vehicle policies and regulations that support transit.
Goal 2: Technology

Advance new technologies and initiatives that encourage transit and position the Columbus Region as a leader in transportation innovation.

  • Ensure ongoing engagement by USDOT and USDOE in the Smart City program in collaboration with Smart Columbus and its partners. Oppose any efforts to recapture previously obligated budget dollars. Ensure that future year funding is maintained.
  • Promote policies, programs and funding to create first mile/last mile opportunities for COTA and our communities.
  • Pursue autonomous vehicle policies and regulations that support the success of transit.
  • Support the designation of the Transportation Research Center as an official site for the USDOT Automated Vehicle Proving Grounds Pilot.
Goal 3: Sustainable Growth

Advocate for state programs, policies and funding that spur economic development and create sustainable growth that will serve the regions projected growth of up to 1 million people and 600,000 new jobs by 2050.

  • Support policies and incentives that encourage transit-oriented development in Central Ohio.
  • Promote land use regulations and planning tools for the preservation and redevelopment of urban buildings.
  • Advocate for grants to support alternative fuel and low- to no-emissions buses.
  • Seek support for employer transit pass programs.
  • Support tax benefits that incentivize transit use.
  • Collaborate with regional partners to enhance the national competitiveness of Central Ohio through multimodal transportation.
Goal 3: Sustainable Growth

Advocate for federal programs, policies and funding that spur economic development and create sustainable growth that will serve the regions projected growth of up to one million people and 600,000 new jobs by 2050.

  • Support policies and incentives that encourage transit-oriented development and reinvestment in Central Ohio’s neighborhoods and commercial districts.
  • Advocate for federal funding and grant programs to support alternative fuel buses and low-to-no emissions buses, such as compressed natural gas and electric buses.
  • Seeking federal support and funding for innovative employer transit pass programs, such as the Cpass program in downtown Columbus.
  • Maintain support for commuter tax benefits.
  • Collaborate with regional community and business partners to enhance the global competitiveness of Central Ohio through multimodal transportation efforts.
Goal 4: Workforce

Encourage state legislation and policies that allow COTA to attract and retain the best and brightest and support a pipeline of skilled workers to satisfy our workforce needs.

  • Support technical education programs.
  • Advance job attraction incentives, tools and strategies in the transportation industry.
  • Coordinate workforce issues with the Columbus Chamber of Commerce.
Goal 5: Safety

Promote a safe and secure environment for our customers and employees.

  • Support safe working conditions for employees.
  • Advocate for policies that ensure threats in public areas are resolved safely and expeditiously through agency coordination, information sharing and technology.

View a printable version of our State Policy Agenda.

View a printable version of our Federal Policy Agenda.