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Bedford Park launches suburban-city job access mobility pilot

Pilot aims to increase transit ridership and the use of shared modes of travel by providing the community’s commuters’ access to safe and reliable last‐mile connections.

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Connect2Work will provide employees access to FLM, late‐night, on‐demand transit services
Connect2Work will provide employees access to FLM, late‐night, on‐demand transit services

Home rule community Bedford Park, Illinois, has selected a team of mobility and technology partners to operate a first-/last-mile (FLM) transportation pilot programme.

 

The Connect2Work pilot aims to increase transit ridership and the use of shared modes of travel by providing Bedford Park commuters’ access to safe and reliable last‐mile connections between transit stops and their place of work. The long‐term goal is to reduce traffic congestion by providing alternatives to solo driving, which contributes to traffic congestion.

 

Microtransit services

 

Connect2Work will provide Bedford Park employees access to an array of FLM, late‐night, on‐demand microtransit services, which will improve commuters’ access to jobs during both regular and late‐night business hours.

 

The programme will also include a “first‐in‐the‐region” mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) app, which will help connect commuters to their preferred mode of travel.

 

Bedford Park’s mobility challenges and potential solutions were identified through the village’s last mile mobility planning effort, which was funded through an Invest in Cook grant. Bedford Park issued a request for qualifications (RFQ) and received 11 responses. The following partners were selected:

  • first/last mile service: Uber
  • late‐night service: Uber
  • on‐demand microtransit Service: Via
  • mobility-as-a-service: Moovit.

The public sector partners include Bedford Park, Cook County Department of Transportation & Highways (CCDoTH) and the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) working in collaboration with the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Metra, and Pace.

“We thought there must be a better way to get residents to transit and regional workers to and from transit to jobs in the village, in a cost‐effective way”

“We are very excited to get this innovative pilot operational to help our residents, our businesses, and the region,” said Dave Brady, president of Bedford Park village.

 

“We have been hearing from our constituents and the business community, such as Home Chef, Cintas, Ingredion, and others, about the transportation challenges for a number of their employees on getting to and from work especially with the coronavirus.”

 

He continued: “We have a number of transit connections in and around the village, including the CTA’s Orange Line Midway station, and we thought there must be a better way to get residents to transit and regional workers to and from transit to jobs in the village, in a cost‐effective way. We think this innovative pilot programme could be that better way.”

 

The Connect2Work programme is part of a multi‐phase effort aimed at developing, testing, and scaling innovative FLM and on‐demand mobility solutions, including microtransit, ride-hailing, and ride-sharing applications.

“The Connect2Work pilot offers a unique opportunity to test how technology and innovation can help us to build on the strengths of the existing transit network to provide seamless mobility”

The pilot will also explore ways to integrate these new mobility services with existing transit service in ways that improve access to transit and promote equitable mobility options in Bedford Park, an important industrial and commercial employment centre in Cook County with more than 26,000 jobs.

 

“The Connect2Work pilot offers a unique opportunity to test how technology and innovation can help us to build on the strengths of the existing transit network to provide seamless mobility during and after the Covid‐19 pandemic,” added Leanne Redden, executive director, RTA.

 

“Bedford Park has a large and essential workforce and unique infrastructure challenges for last-mile connections to transit in the area. The RTA is excited to be partnering with the village of Bedford Park, Cook County, and local employers to help workers safely get to job locations within Bedford Park and home again at the end of their shift.”

 

The village plans to have the pilot programme operational in early 2021.

 

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