Within the Peoria-Pekin Urbanized Area, only three municipalities belong to the Greater Peoria Mass Transit District (GPMTD), and only two other communities contract with GPMTD to provide fixed route and complementary paratransit service for their citizens. This leaves nearly 87,000 people, one-third of the population of the Urbanized Area’s population, in an underserved territory, the Grey Area, looking to travel for their basic needs to other metropolitan hubs throughout the region. Lochmueller worked with the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission (TCRPC) to conduct a comprehensive review of the area’s mobility solutions. This need-based service expansion and funding analysis was necessary to prioritize the restrictive transit operations funding and costly staff time spent on service expansion discussions with communities.
The Grey Area Mobility Enhancement & Expansion Study evaluated existing services and created a service area profile to determine areas and individuals of highest need for mobility solutions. The study team also reviewed relevant existing planning documents in the Tri-County region to identify issues, opportunities, programmed improvements, and illustrative (unfunded) projects that may impact or support future transit services in the region. With input from the project team and community stakeholders, the project team identified mobility-limited older adults as the target audience for service expansion and consulted with agency experts and service providers to determine appropriate mobility solutions. The study team developed a strategy to inform local, regional, and state formula funding priorities and investments in both the capital and operating realms, which also highlighted potential federal discretionary grants in efforts to build regional consensus to pursue such opportunities. As a result of the study, and specifically the funding opportunities available, the TCRPC has clear direction and strategy to immediately seek funding for a pilot.