Minnesota DOT Launches Rural Trip Planner Project

The Minnesota Department of Transportation recently launched a pilot project to bring trip planning and payment technology for daily trips into rural areas of the state.

[Above image by Minnesota DOT]

The pilot program provides residents and visitors in southern and western Minnesota with the ability to plan for and, in some cases, pay for public transit and intercity bus trips by using the Transit mobile application. Travel and route information for those services went live in that app on March 1, Minnesota DOT added.

Photo by the Minnesota DOT

Transit is a free app available for download in Google Play or the Apple App Store and is used in more than 300 cities around the world. It allows users to see route and travel options for public transit and connecting services.

Select transit agencies will also have in-app ticketing, allowing riders to pay for fares electronically and show their device to bus drivers to ride, noted Elliott McFadden, who serves as the Greater Minnesota Shared Mobility program coordinator for the Minnesota DOT.

“This pilot program with the Transit app focuses on rural areas because this technology has not yet been made available outside of Minnesota’s big cities,” he said in a statement. “The project will be the first to bring the latest technology to make it easier to plan and take trips in many communities in Greater Minnesota.”

The pilot will run through April 2024 and is funded by two innovation grants from the Federal Transit Administration at a cost of $1.9 million.

Researchers from the University of Minnesota will study both of the projects to help determine whether this technology should be scaled to the rest of the state, with the goal of better informing future public transit investment in Greater Minnesota, the Minnesota DOT added.

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