Transit is an integral part of SEMCOG's transportation management system. In its efforts to improve the mobility of all people, including those with special needs and those without cars, SEMCOG works to help public and private transportation providers meet the mobility needs of the people and communities they serve. Working on a regional level, SEMCOG developed a regional transit plan, Improving Transit in Southeast Michigan: A Framework for Action. This plan sets the course for developing a comprehensive transit system in Southeast Michigan by combining extensive public input with research and technical analysis to create a system that provides a balance of viable options. A four-tier transit system is recommended:

  • a 12-corridor rapid transit network;
  • enhanced fixed-route bus service;
  • improved and expanded community transit; and
  • establishment of regional transit links.

Since adopting the plan, the region is implementing several recommendations. These include:

  • The Regional Transit Authority (RTA) of Southeast Michigan.
  • The RTCC Transit Service Plan was adopted in December 2008, expanding SEMCOG's Regional Transit Plan with more detailed corridor analysis and recommendations.
  • Advancing transit service in the Woodward Avenue Corridor from downtown Detroit to Pontiac. SEMCOG, local governments, and other stakeholders along the corridor are conducting a Woodward Alternatives Analysis study.
  • The Ann Arbor-Detroit Regional Rail project is being implemented to provide an alternative means of commuting between Wayne and Washtenaw counties and will serve as the first regional link in Southeast Michigan.
  • The Wally (Washtenaw and Livingston Line) is a commuter rail project in the US-23 corridor to mitigate heavy congestion between the cities of Howell and Ann Arbor.

At the same time, SEMCOG actively works with other organizations and agencies to develop specialized transportation services designed to meet the special needs of the region's residents.

Regional On-board Transit Survey

SEMCOG and its partners completed the 2010-2011 Regional On-Board Transit Survey in December 2011. With 18,500 respondents (approximately 8.5 percent of the region's transit ridership), the survey evaluated the travel patterns and demographics of riders living in the region and riding at various times of day on the region's seven transit operators:

Along with informing transportation plans at SEMCOG, other planning agencies and local governments throughout the Southeast Michigan region having extensive and recent data will make the region more competitive for federal transit funding when it becomes available. Some of the information obtained includes origin, destination, demographics (including vehicle availability and household income), access and egress modes, and public transit use.

Riders were surveyed using a survey form format with their responses. A database integrating ArcGIS and Microsoft Access was developed to display data by selected categories (route, time-of-day, etc.) and by output type (queries, tables, etc.). Documents related to the survey include:

2009-2010 SEMCOG On board Survey Report (pdf, 3.3MB)

Specialized Transportation Services

Specialized transportation services provide transportation options for seniors and persons with physical or mental disabilities. There are many agencies in Southeast Michigan that provide specialized transportation service to local areas for health appointments, employment, shopping, and other purposes.

To better identify individuals with specialized transportation needs and coordinate services across multiple transit providers, transit agencies develop Coordinated Transit-Human Services Transportation Plans. The Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT) (pdf, 1.3MB), Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART) (pdf, 706KB), and Washtenaw County in cooperation with the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority (AAATA) (pdf, 657KB) each have developed Coordinated Human Services Transportation Plans that have been approved by the Michigan Department of Transportation and the Federal Transit Administration.

The Coordinated Transit-Human Services Transportation Plan serves as a guideline for grant applications seeking federal funding. The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) law requires all entities selected for funding under the Enhances Mobility Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities and New Freedoms Programs (Section 5310) and the Urbanized Area Formula Program (Section 5307) to develop a locally coordinated transit-human services transportation plan specific to the needs of individuals with disabilities, older adults and low-income individuals in their service area in order to access allocated funding. SEMCOG is the designated recipient of the Federal Transit Administration’s Section 5310 and 5307 funds for Livingston, Macomb, Oakland, St. Clair and Wayne Counties. The Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority receives funds for Washtenaw County.

Contact Deanna Donahoo at (313) 324-3319.

Developing Regional Solutions
SEMCOG is a regional planning partnership of governmental units serving 4.7 million people in the seven-county region of Southeast Michigan striving to enhance the region's quality of life.