Meeting Oregon's Transit Goals
Oregon is diverse, and public transit varies widely throughout the state. The needs of residents in larger urban areas like Portland and Eugene are often different than those living in a small coastal town like Tillamook, or a growing city like Bend. However, whether in a rural or urban community, riders and community members have expressed the need for expanded transit service, and while the particular methods used may differ for each locale, there are significant similarities in how better transit can provide a higher quality of life for the residents, businesses and visitors of Oregon communities.
MAKING TRANSIT A LIFESTYLE CHOICE
The desire to use transit as a regular mode of transportation - commuting to work, visiting the grocery store, traveling to a nearby attraction - is growing throughout the nation, including Oregon. A 2013 Oregon Values Project study found that a majority of Oregonians supported more investment in public transit over further investment in roads for cars. However, Oregon's transit agencies are unable to support this lifestyle choice, as their systems lack the frequent service, geographic coverage and connectivity to make public transit an everyday option over driving a car.
SERVING THE TRANSIT DEPENDENT
Every community in Oregon has large numbers of people who depend on public transit to meet their mobility needs. An elderly woman in Portland depends on dial-a-ride to get to her medical appointments. A disabled veteran in Umatilla needs the bus to access his social services in Pendleton. A student in Corvallis relies on the bus to make it to class and work on time. Unfortunately, there are many Oregonians that are currently without access to reliable public transit that need it to access the necessary good and services in their lives.
ATTRACTING ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
A growing economic means a growing need for reliable and efficient transportation. As part of a growing transportation ecosystem, transit play a vital role in reducing commute times, providing affordable transportation options, and attracting new, emerging businesses. In communities throughout Oregon, transit providers are hearing from business owners and developers that better transit would make them more competitive in attracting and retaining top-talent or tenants. Oregon transit agencies are ready to support and drive economic growth in their respective communities, but they need more resources to do so.
combating health and climate challenges
Child and adult obesity rates have been on the rise since the 1990's, and diabetes, heart disease and stroke currently affect one in seven Oregonians. All of these conditions are proven to strongly correlate with a lack of physical activity. Additionally, transportation related CO2 emissions are trending towards a 25% increase within the next ten years, adding to the public health concerns that come from lower air quality and climate change. Planning efforts have shown that transit and alternative transportation options are some of the best ways to meet public health and climate change goals. Helping our transit agencies meet these challenges will be crucial to improved health and quality of life for all Oregonians.
In many of our communities - whether located on the magnificent Oregon coast, close to one of Oregon's many rivers and lakes, in the mountains or high desert, or in fertile valleys - tourists are the lifeblood of local businesses and residents. Better transit would make it safer and more affordable for people to visit the beautiful places our state has to offer, and provide a boost to the economies that depend on Oregon's public transit.