Map-Based Tool Increases Access to Mobility Options, Making It Beneficial to All Virginians
The Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) has announced that its new Virginia Trip Planner is available for use. The online trip planning tool incorporates travel information for both traditional bus service on set routes and flexible mobility options that do not follow an assigned road or schedule. Through the integration of more comprehensive menu of travel options in the Trip Planner, DRPT aims to improve the mobility of all Virginians, no matter where they live.
Using the online map-based tool, users can plan trips with bus, rail, bikeshare, carpools, vanpools, and walking anywhere around the Commonwealth. The Trip Planner is available on DRPT’s ConnectingVA website at connectingva.drpt.virginia.gov, which provides information about public transportation services, where to download the ConnectingVA trip planner and rewards mobile app, and how to talk to a local mobility manager or commuter assistance program staff across the Commonwealth.
“Virginia has a diverse mobility ecosystem made up of different travel modes that fit the needs of the community, whether large or small urban communities or suburban and rural areas,” said DRPT Director Jennifer DeBruhl. “Unlike any other online tool available, Virginia Trip Planner provides a more complete picture of mobility options to Virginians with a single search.”
Traditional trip planners and applications like Google Maps typically only display transportation services that follow a set route and schedule, which are less prevalent in rural areas or are inaccessible to people with mobility challenges. The Trip Planner includes public, human service, and specialized transportation, making it an advanced trip planning system.
The Trip Planner includes both General Transit Feed Specifications data, which describe fixed-route transit routes, as well as General Transit Feed Flex, which shows demand response and more flexible approaches to transportation services that are not set routes. This means that in addition to buses following consistent routes and schedules, the Trip Planner includes transit services in underserved areas such as microtransit, which riders can request on demand and travel anywhere around a specified coverage area.
The Trip Planner builds off DRPT’s previous work in creating the Virginia Transportation Navigator, a comprehensive clearinghouse for all transportation resources in the Commonwealth. Both projects were funded through the Innovative Coordinated Access and Mobility (ICAM) grant, a discretionary grant administered by the Federal Transit Administration. DRPT created the Trip Planner in partnership with AgileMile and Trillium, with project management by Kimley-Horn.
Part of the project development involves studying the use of the Trip Planner by those served by human services transportation, which includes a broad range of transportation service options designed to meet the needs of disadvantaged populations such as older adults or disabled people.