Connections 2025: Frequency or coverage?

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This is the fourth blog post in our week-long series about Connections 2025. We’ve heard your burning questions and have answers to your top questions.  

Day 4 – Question: Why can’t we have more routes, all with more frequency?

Remember that old saying, “You can’t have your cake and eat it too”? Well, we think that phrase stinks. We love cake!

Unfortunately, life doesn’t work like that.  (We know. Boo.)  We can’t provide every type of service under the sun at the same time – it’s just not possible.  Life (and transit planning) involves trade-offs and in the case of our service one of the more common trade-offs is frequency vs. coverage. Since Capital Metro doesn’t have unlimited funding, we can only provide limited amounts of either option. 

  • Frequency – buses running on major corridors every 10-15 minutes, riders may have to walk further to a bus stop, OR
  • Coverage – buses running on many streets, with short walks to the bus stop, but typically operating every 30-60 minutes.

How did Capital Metro decide what to do?

When Capital Metro was gathering public input earlier this spring, we heard frequency was most important priority to the public, followed by coverage. We faced a bit of dilemma, since we can’t provide both. So, we went back out to our community in May and asked again, but more specifically about these tradeoffs: frequency vs. coverage.  Again the public responded they wanted frequency. You can view the results at Connections2025.org

freq_graphic

Then what?

Capital Metro worked with our planning consultant to design a frequency-first focused network, increasing the number of frequent routes from 6 to 17.  At the same time, we still worked hard to maximize coverage. As a result, in the Connections 2025 Draft Plan Capital Metro is proposing a revised network where 99.5% of our existing customers would be within a 10-minute walk of the new network.

Want to learn more about the frequency / coverage tradeoff in 90 seconds?  Here is cool video Edmonton Transit created when they were conducting a similar study.

 

 

4 thoughts on “Connections 2025: Frequency or coverage?

  1. Dishonest points made dishonestly. Guadalupe by Hyde Park and NUNA used to have high frequency. Now it only has high frequency at the sparse 801 stops (30 minute frequency on the local). Your plan is next to eliminate the 1, despite it (still!) being one of the busiest lines in the system, and then the 5 to boot (also one of the busiest lines); meaning the only route remaining is the 801, which is 0.4 miles from my house in the most transit-positive neighborhood in the city.

  2. mdahmus

    Dishonest points made dishonestly. Guadalupe by Hyde Park and NUNA used to have high frequency. Now it only has high frequency at the sparse 801 stops (30 minute frequency on the local). Your plan is next to eliminate the 1, despite it (still!) being one of the busiest lines in the system, and then the 5 to boot (also one of the busiest lines); meaning the only route remaining is the 801, which is 0.4 miles from my house in the most transit-positive neighborhood in the city.

  3. Pingback: Connections 2025 – September Update | Capital MetroBlog

  4. Maria-Linda Yost

    Austin’s insanity is tempting 110 people a day to move here, while so many are forced to leave due to property taxes in Travis County. As the City Council develops downtown Austin it is systematically removing parking for all of those who commute into the area from outlying Cities and Counties. The “review” is done every 5 years? The worker bees need somewhere to park. Even when buses and rapid transit can eliminate the pressure (numbers of cars), where they catch the ride needs secure parking AND the rider ship shall (not should) support the costs; NOT merely Austinites-the fulltime residents. If the 15 min schedules are always full; add more there; adjust the schedule(s) to the ridership/growth areas. Nothing more wastefu/useless than to see empty/low ridership on City buses… .

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