Georgia transit authority to pilot on-demand multimodal transit system, and New Orleans planning new Bus Rapid Transit line

Georgia's Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) has been awarded a one-million dollar grant from the U.S. National Science Foundation to pilot an On-Demand Multimodal Transit System Solution (ODMTS) in partnership with Georgia Tech Research Cooperation.


ODMTS is a hybrid of traditional public transit and ride-sharing that offers real-time routing capable of filling in service gaps left by a fixed bus route. Instead of waiting at a traditional bus stop, a person needing a ride to the grocery store, for example, could use a smartphone app to summon a vehicle to a nearby location that is common to other passengers in need of a ride in the area, as well.


The small-scale pilot project is being tested in areas where there is a greater need for transit accessibility, aiming to test the system's efficiency and provide information on whether a large-scale version will work across MARTA's service area as the agency is undertaking a comprehensive redesign of its bus network.


And in New Orleans, public transit officials are seeking funding for a rapid bus line that will connect riders from major city hubs to far-flung city neighborhoods. The Regional Transit Authority plans to ask the federal government to foot the bill for the new line and, though officials haven't said how much faster they will be able to move passengers downtown, where stations might be, or how much it might cost, they plan to study those issues over the next year. In considering "bus rapid transit", the RTA joins a growing number of public transit agencies (including ours here in Pittsburgh) that are working to adopt the service. In 2019, 13 such systems in the U.S. were in operation, double the number from 2010 according to the new American Public Transportation Association.