What is a Transit Commission?
A Transit Commission is a government body that oversees the planning and development of transportation issues within a city. It is typically made up of community members appointed by the city council and is responsible for advising the council on adjustments to transit routes, recommending fare changes, advocating for transit services, reviewing transit budgets, monitoring ridership, engaging in transit planning, and addressing service complaints.
A transit commission is important for a city like Iowa City because it helps to ensure that the city’s transportation system is efficient, effective, and meets the needs of its residents. By having a dedicated body focused on these issues, the city can work towards providing improved access to safe, convenient, reliable, and sustainable transportation for its residents.
Why does Iowa City need a transit commission?
- Enhance Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in transit planning, a goal set in the Iowa City Strategic Plan
Creating a transit commission can enhance Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in transit planning by ensuring that the commission is made up of members who represent the diverse communities served by the transit system. This can include appointing members from different racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, and ability backgrounds, as well as members who represent different work shifts or geographic areas within the city. By having a diverse commission, the transit system can better understand and address the unique transportation needs of all residents.
In addition to having a diverse commission, transit commissions can facilitate working towards advancing DEI by engaging in dialogue with community-based organizations and other stakeholders to better understand and address the transportation needs of diverse populations. This can include initiatives such as hosting webinars or workshops on transportation diversity, equity, and inclusion, partnering with community-based organizations to improve access to transit services, and implementing programs aimed at growing and sustaining a diverse workforce.
Overall, creating a transit commission that is focused on DEI can help to ensure that the city’s transportation system is accessible, equitable, and inclusive for all residents.
- Enhanced Public Participation
Iowa City possesses a vibrant and insightful citizenry with much to offer as advisors on public boards. A Transit Advisory Commission would provide a platform for direct and ongoing engagement between transit administrators, community residents, transit users, and stakeholders. The commission would help ensure that the community's diverse voices and needs are considered when making decisions about routes, schedules, and services in a manner that is available for public comment and viewable through published meeting agendas, minutes, and memoranda.
- Close the gap between transit policy and transit riders who are directly impacted or under-served
Creating a transit commission can help to close the gap between transit policy and transit riders who are directly impacted by the transit system. This can include appointing members who are regular transit riders or who represent organizations that advocate for transit riders. By having members who are directly impacted by transit policy on the commission, the commission can better understand and address the needs and concerns of transit riders.
Creating a transit advisory commission would also help improve access for under-served transit riders. By researching ways transit can better serve residents who lack access to the types of transit services they most need, creating new and innovative programs to provide services, and upgrading existing transit services to provide better and finer-grained tracking of current service utilization
- Potentially increase ridership
A city transit commission can increase ridership by enhancing participation in proposed changes to routes, stops, and bus schedules and improving communication so riders have complete and up-to-date information on routes, stops, service alerts and trip planning tools to make the system easier for the public to understand.
If you support an Iowa City Transit Commission, it's important to write to council members and let them know a Transit Commission is something you want to see happen. You can also write letters to the editors of local newspapers.
Link to IC city council emails
Link to DI letter to the editor page