EMBARK is a leader in the regional effort to plan, design, improve and maintain a cost-efficient transit network by fostering relationships, developing public/private partnerships with Greater Oklahoma City communities and promoting the use of transit oriented development policies.
Below are studies and grant projects that are aimed at significantly improving the transit options available for Central Oklahomans. Each builds on earlier plans and is based on broad public input and technical insights.
MAPS4 Transit Improvements
MAPS 4 will continue the transformation of our public transit system with dramatic new improvements funded by this $97 million package. The budget includes $10 million to improve existing bus stops with lighting at every stop and approximately 500 new ADA-accessible shelters. More buses and signal prioritization to help frequency and reliability of services will receive a $12 million investment.
The package also includes $60 million for advanced transit options that could include bus rapid transit lines to south OKC/Capitol Hill, the NE 23rd Street corridor, the Adventure District and the Innovation District, plus park-and-ride facilities and micro transit. Future planning and land acquisition investments of $5 million are also included.
The Northwest Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project will be Central Oklahoma’s first BRT line and will provide a premium transit service to Oklahoma City (OKC) residents through faster and more frequent service with enhanced vehicles, stations and passenger amenities. The Northwest BRT route is approximately eight miles in length (one-way) between downtown Oklahoma City and the Lake Hefner area, connecting regional medical centers, commercial centers, the downtown central business district (CBD), and residents along the Classen Boulevard and Northwest Expressway urban arterials. The corridor is ideal for BRT.
OKC Moves: A Regional Bus Study
The purpose of OKC Moves is to assess the existing conditions of transit service in Central Oklahoma and explore ways to improve the transit system. OKC Moves will use technical analysis and community input to design a system that meets the needs of the community. The outcome of the study will be a detailed plan for transit improvements and investments.
2030 Fixed Guideway Plan
The Fixed Guideway Plan (FGP) identifies potential regional transit solutions that improve connections among metropolitan area’s growth centers, enhance economic development opportunities, improve mobility, expand transportation options and improve air quality. The solutions include a combination of local bus, BRT, streetcar, commuter rail and other options.
Downtown Alternatives Analysis
The Greater Downtown Circulator AA was the first planning step toward carrying out the metro area’s Fixed Guideway Plan, and focused only on downtown and health center mobility. The AA recommended modern streetcar as the best overall transit technology and a 7.6 mile route. The TIGER II streetcar planning and ongoing MAPS 3 streetcar planning would build upon the AA work and focus on a shorter route. All streetcar options will feature an enhancement of the adjacent bus system.
MAPS 3 is a 10-year construction program designed to improve the quality of life in Oklahoma City.
2013 Transit Service Analysis
In January 2013, the Central Oklahoma Transportation and Parking Authority (COTPA) initiated a Transit Service Analysis process. The goals of the Transit Service Analysis were to evaluate the existing Metro Transit bus system, improve the route network to increase ridership and productivity within the existing budget, and also identify future service improvements if additional resources become available. The study was awarded to consultant NelsonNygaard - a nationally recognized public transport planning and engineering firm.
NW Corridor Multimodal Concept Plan
The Oklahoma City Planning Department, Oklahoma City County Health Department, the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments and EMBARK have jointly collaborated to study and develop a concept plan which identifies the potential for multimodal transportation in the NW Corridor. The centerpiece is bus rapid transit (BRT) from Downtown to Meridian and beyond and the NEPA work for the BRT corridor was well underway in 2018. In this plan, the NW Corridor is defined as the area that runs along North Classen Boulevard and Northwest Expressway. The goal of the concept plan is to increase mobility as well as improve community health through multimodal public transportation options and land use strategies.
In January 2017, EMBARK initiated a fare study to evaluate the current fare structure and develop an overall fare policy. The study will review EMBARK’s existing fare structure and fare collection equipment to identify opportunities to improve integration of the modes within EMBARK’s family of services, including fixed route bus, paratransit (EMBARK Plus), ferry transit (Oklahoma River Cruises), bike share (Spokies), Oklahoma City Streetcar and downtown parking.
The goal of the study is to establish fare principles, including fare policies to guide setting fares and implementing fare changes, and to develop an action plan for implementing fare integration and fare collection technologies that support the fare principles. The study was awarded to consultant Four Nines Technologies - a recognized public transport and IT firm with specialization in fare policy and fare collection technologies.
Two public meetings were held to get feedback on existing fare structure, fare payment, and fare policy for EMBARK Bus, ADA Para Transit, Oklahoma City Streetcar, Off-Street Parking, Spokies Bike Share and Oklahoma River Cruises.
Long Range Plan
The purpose of the plan was to provide a clear picture of the future steps and funding opportunities essential to the bus, rail, vanpool, bus stop, technology and other improvements needed for the greater Oklahoma City region. The plan was designed to be conservative, practical, incremental and well supported by data.