Thursday, February 17, 2011

Pittsburgh Transit: Headed Where?/ February Updates

The bus schedules effective March 27th as a result of a 15% cut in service are now posted on the Port Authority's Website: March  27 Service Changes.

Monday, February 14th, President Obama released a new six-year transportation plan [PDF] . One of the highlights of this new plan is a 127% increase for transit funding that aims to reduce the gap between the percentage of funds going for highway and road development, 80% now, a meager 20% for transit. Under the newly proposed plan highways will only receive 74% of funds.

Meantime transit agencies across the country struggle to find the funding resources that will allow them to survive during the next fiscal year. And this is no news for Port Authority riders who are facing the loss of more than one sixth of the service come March. As a matter of fact, Pittsburghers rallied the day after President Obama’s release of the new transportation plan to protest service cuts.

Photo Credit: Lauren Daley

Since transit is an essential feature in the economic development of 21st century urban centers (and this is a topic we had covered here), members of the Allegheny County Transit Council became involved in several projects aimed at not only preserving but improving transit service for Pittsburgh and surrounding urban areas.

Real-Time Bus Schedules:
Real-Time Bus Schedules use data provided by local governments and transit agencies to keep riders informed of delays, detours, and traffic and trip connections. ACTC members Ana Bayne and Michael Sypolt took part in a live chat session where guest Nick Grossman from Open Plans discussed the benefits of real-time bus schedules and the success of the project among MTA riders. Several ACTC members will meet with Mr. Grossman and other developers to discuss real-time schedule related technology during the March East TranspoCamp unconference.

On the upside, before the whole GPS issue is clarified, CMU’s transportation project team Traffic 21 is in the last stages of launching a smart phone app that provides real time information to riders by using crowdsourcing, i.e., data collected from riders. Thanks to ACTC member Noelle Badertscher we will be able to return with more details on the app as soon as March. Until then you can check the Traffic 21 website for updates.

Soon transit riders from Pittsburgh will know whatever their bus is late or not or if they should take an early bus because of bad weather or traffic conditions.


ACTC members are working on proposals for funding resources with several other community oriented non-profits. Also, by the end of February, a comprehensive map that provides information on service cuts for each electoral district will be available on:

The map allows riders to compare the effect of service cuts on their own electoral district and take the matter into their own hands by contacting their local representative.

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