In 2015, the City of Canby, Oregon, hired JWA to provide a long-deferred update to its Transit Master Plan. Canby is a small but fast-growing exurban city on the edge of the Portland region, with a mixture of demand-responsive local service and intercity service.
Canby withdrew from the regional TriMet transit district in 2002, and began operating its own local, intercity and paratransit services. After a few years of service growth, however, growing costs and declining tax revenues forced severe cuts. An update to the agency’s Transit Master Plan in 2009 was aborted.
In 2015, years of good management had stabilized Canby’s service levels, customer expectations and finances. Transit schedules and operating procedures, however, had drifted into mediocrity. The agency was ready to think about the future again.
JWA led a public involvement process that focused people’s attention and opinions on a few key choices facing the agency: whether to make dial-a-ride and paratransit services more efficient, and how to prioritize intercity and local transit within a very limited budget.
Through door-to-door conversations, web surveys, public meetings and an interactive stakeholder workshop (all in English and Spanish), JWA and its partners were able to gather actionable public input from a large and representative sample of this small town. (Local firm Multicultural Collaborative supported JWA with culturally-specific outreach.) Engagement with the Canby City Council was also a key part of the planning and decision-making process. City officials gave early policy guidance on the major choices that will underlie the Draft Plan, improving the chances that it will be adopted, implemented and resilient over many years.
The work included analysis of existing dial-a-ride and paratransit operations. The team delivered advice and coaching to Canby staff on how to improve the efficiency of these services. Some of this advice has already borne fruit, as it informed a new operations contract that Canby signed while the updated Plan was still in draft form.
The Transit Master Plan was adopted in November 2017 by the City Council. Service changes based on the Plan were put into effect by Canby staff in April 2018.
JWA has since then led an intercity study for a corridor connecting Portland, Canby and Salem, Oregon. The study built on some of the work done in this Canby Transit Master Plan, and addressed the needs and desires for more intercity transit among cities, small towns and rural areas.