By: Staff Reports | Gwinnett Citizen
Published: 2017-07-31 02:12
Date Modified: 2017-07-31 02:12
Employees in Gwinnett County, GA have a longer average commute time of 32.095 minutes than the national average of 25.2 minutes.  (Source: 2015 FRED Economic Data,  U.S. Bureau of the Census, American Community Survey)

With a population of 1.4 million people on the horizon, Gwinnett County Transit is conducting a top-to-bottom review of its current system and developing options to meet future transit needs.

Called Connect Gwinnett: Transit Plan, the initiative will involve extensive public input and education before culminating in short-term, medium-term, and long-term plans for the County's transit system.

"We're going to continue to grow so we need to start working on transit solutions now to be prepared for the future, said Board of Commissioners Chairman Charlotte Nash. "Improving mobility is important for our residents and our businesses."

The plan will address issues such as matching Gwinnett's needs with the right balance of transit modes, determining frequency of trips, ensuring coverage to different areas of the county, and identifying funding over the short-term (up to five years), the medium-term (5 to 10 years), and the long-term (10 years and beyond).

The first step is to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of Gwinnett's existing transit system, using input from the public, peer review, system analysis and field observations. That information will be used to optimize the existing system, which will form the foundation for medium-term and long-term projects.

• Transit options explored in the plan include:
• Expansion and upgrade of the bus system,
• Bus rapid transit, which resembles light rail but instead has buses, often longer articulated ones, using dedicated lanes, 
• Light rail transit, 
• Heavy rail transit train network, and
• Commuter rail, which uses existing train tracks and/or parallel tracks on shared right-of-way with stops three to five miles apart.

Public input is critical to ensuring the success of Gwinnett Transit, and the plan offers multiple opportunities for people to weigh in on how they think transit should develop in Gwinnett. Residents can start giving their feedback now by taking a short survey at www.ConnectGwinnettTransit.com/survey. The survey will be available through August.

Throughout the process, County staff and consultants will talk to residents, communities and stakeholders from across the County. In addition, staff will be attending community events and conducting phone surveys.

Teams of transit officials rode buses to various busy locations on Saturday, July 29, and talked to people, to help educate them about the bus system and to get their feedback.

To stay on top of what's happening throughout the plan, you can also follow the Gwinnett Transit Facebook page.

Once the comprehensive review and public outreach process is completed, proposed plans for the short, medium and long term will be developed for presentation in late 2017.  Transit officials will conduct a series of town halls to review the proposals with the public and collect public reaction. The Connect Gwinnett: Transit Plan will be presented to the Board of Commissioners in late spring 2018.