by Raymond Hess, Director of Planning Services for the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC)
Southern Nevada has major planning needs as it expects to add 600,000 residents to its current 2.1 million population and welcome 10 million more annual visitors - reaching a record-breaking 53 million by 2025. Las Vegas needs a variety of transportation solutions to accommodate a growing population and to ensure efficient access to and from new professional sports and entertainment venues, hospitals and medical schools, employment centers, resorts, educational facilities, parks and expanding master-planned communities.
As the designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) and the administrator of Southern Nevada Strong, the area’s first federally recognized regional plan, the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC) realizes the future of transportation requires multimodal solutions that enable safe and efficient travel.
The RTC has embarked on the development of “On Board,” a comprehensive plan for the future of transit in Southern Nevada. The plan has three key areas: analyzing improvements needed to the current bus system, evaluation of the potential for next generation transit (like light rail), and assessment of how best to leverage emerging technologies.
To create the On Board plan, the RTC knew it was critical to hear directly from residents about what they need and want from the transportation system. The RTC also knew it needed to develop an innovative way that made it convenient for residents to learn about the On Board plan and provide feedback. So, the RTC launched a proactive community outreach effort to literally hit the road and go directly to residents at their community events and group meetings.
Through a collaborative partnership with its transit contractor MV Transportation, the RTC meticulously designed and retrofitted a retired 40-foot bus that will travel the Las Vegas Valley to get the Southern Nevada community engaged and talking about On Board. The colorfully wrapped and branded bus contains an array of features, including two wide-screen monitors for presentations and seated countertops with iPads for visitors to take the brief On Board survey (in English and Spanish) about the future of transportation in Southern Nevada. Input gathered from the community will help inform the final plan.
To encourage people to “come On Board” to learn more about the transit plan and provide their input, the RTC and MV made the On Board bus a comfortable and inviting place. Visitors can grab water from a mini refrigerator or a cup of fresh brewed coffee upon entering. In the back of the bus is a kid’s zone play area staffed by either RTC or MV personnel so parents can relax while chatting with RTC representatives. The RTC and MV also installed extra generators to ensure the vehicle could provide appropriate climate controlled conditions even with its doors open for long periods of time.
“We know that dynamic and interactive engagement tools need to be developed and brought directly to the community in order to get the best feedback,” said RTC General Manager Tina Quigley. “Thanks to MV Transportation and their partnership in constructing this bus, we can now engage our residents in a truly unique way.”
In addition to retrofitting the bus, MV is also sponsoring the vehicle’s operation, including maintenance and labor.
“We are thrilled to partner with the RTC on this initiative,” said Jim Schultzman, general manager of MV Transportation’s Las Vegas operation. “We believe in the importance of the On Board plan and are excited to hear what people want the future of transit in Southern Nevada to look like.”
The On Board bus will travel the valley, attending more than 100 community events over the next 18 months to gather direct input from residents on the strategic transit plan. For more information about the On Board transit plan and community engagement initiative, visit OnBoardSNV.com.
Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada
The Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC) is the transit authority, transportation planning organization, regional traffic management agency and administrator of Southern Nevada Strong, the regional planning effort for the Las Vegas valley. The RTC's vision is to provide a safe, convenient and effective regional transportation system that enhances mobility and air quality for citizens and visitors. The RTC encourages residents and visitors to use a variety of transportation choices to help reduce traffic congestion, clean the air and improve the quality of life in Southern Nevada. For more information about the RTC and its major initiatives or to download its transit app rideRTC, visit rtcsnv.com.
Raymond Hess serves as the Director of Planning Services for the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC). In his role, Hess oversees the region’s Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) as well as directs Southern Nevada Strong, a planning initiative dedicated to increasing transportation choices, improving economic competitiveness and education, and investing in complete communities throughout the region.
Published in December 2017