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LOTS Considering Fixed Route Bus System

Sean Ports
Lee Ogle Transportation System (LOTS) is performing a feasibility study to determine if a fixed-route system would be successful in Dixon.

On Tuesday, April 16, LOTS hosted two public meetings to gauge public opinion at the Dixon Park District Facility on Washington Avenue. Residents of Dixon can express their opinions on the subject by completing a survey. LOTS is partnering with RLS & Associates, Inc., a transportation management consultant from Dayton, Ohio, to perform the study and plans to finish it in August 2024. Currently, LOTS only provides an advance-registration curb-to-curb service operating Monday through Friday from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

The goal of the study is in three parts: determine feasibility, create an implementation plan, and partner in housing and economic development efforts. Typically, fixed routes succeed best in a high-density population city such as Rockford or Chicago, which is why Dixon currently only offers scheduled pickups. To determine feasibility, route accessibility needs to be considered. Safe and accessible bus stops need to be installed in convenient locations. High-traffic areas such as parks, downtown, truck stops, and shopping centers are ideal locations. Residential areas with schools and a large demographic of older adults or low-income families are also a major consideration for stops. But how far are people willing to travel to reach a bus stop? Christy Campoll, a representative from RLS, expressed that the farthest distance people are willing to travel to a bus stop is somewhere between two blocks and a quarter-mile.

The study is also considering route schedules. How often should the bus schedule run? Would there be enough use if it ran every half hour? Or would it be better to run every one to two hours? There is a possibility that the current curb-to-curb service would continue in conjunction with a fixed route. However, parameters for riding would have to be determined, such as if someone lived within a certain distance of a bus stop, would they qualify for scheduled pickup? Practicality in schedule, placement, and route path plays a large role in bringing this idea to life. More public meetings will be held this summer for people to express opinions on new proposed routes or alternative services.

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