Service to Rapidly Growing Suburban Commercial and Business Interests West of Pittsburgh
The Airport Corridor Transportation Association (ACTA) is a non-profit Transportation Management Association (TMA) incorporated in 1990 to increase travel options and support responsible economic development around the Robinson Town Center area 10 miles west of downtown Pittsburgh, PA. RideACTA demand responsive shuttles service over 100 employers, businesses and training centers, complimenting Port Authority of Allegheny County Transit (PAAC) services in the area. Between August 2009 and August 2010, Ride ACTA ridership increased over 100% from 38,400 to 79,500 trips per month.
The success of RideACTA, in concert with PAAC services, illustrates progress across many of the critical dimensions central to effective “mobility management.”
Development of the Robinson Township/North Fayette area began in the early 1990’s and twenty years later continues to attract national and international businesses. Readily accessible to the Pittsburgh International Airport as well as downtown Pittsburgh, the area consists of large land parcels that have encouraged the development of business parks and large corporate campuses. Early development in the area consisted of numerous remotely located business parks, the Bayer Corporation campus, the Mall at Robinson, Robinson Town Center and the regional IKEA. Unfortunately, early stages of development did not include much attention to congestion mitigation strategies, public transportation access or pedestrian amenities. As a result this rich, dense suburban business and commercial district is extremely difficult to navigate by car, bus or on foot.
Today the area continues to thrive with new businesses choosing to locate in the corridor. New developments are being completed on the periphery of the commercial district, including national retailers and restaurants.” As importantly, with the continued trend toward outsourcing service work, there are four large national Call Centers that continue to hire in the RideACTA service area. Due to the creation of hundreds of jobs suitable for entry-level workers and workers striving to get back into the workplace this is positive but it is not without challenges.
The area is serviced by a Port Authority of Allegheny County (PAAC) route that originates in downtown Pittsburgh and penetrates the Robinson/North Fayette business district by providing a consistent level of service to the “hub” located at IKEA. Beyond this central point there is little or no public transit options and unfortunately most employment opportunities are not located within a safe walking distance of the “hub.”
RideACTA demand responsive shuttle services operate seven days per week and compliments the PAAC route that serves the IKEA bus stop every 30 minutes.. The RideACTA IKEA shuttle serves businesses and employers located within 1.5 mile radius of the IKEA bus stop. In addition, RideACTA Penn Center West provides last mile service to transit riders transferring from Port Authority service on the West Busway. This shuttle takes workers from the busway to the Penn Center West Business Complex on Campbell’s Run Road. The service operates five days a week during peak hours only and with the recent PAAC service reductions, the service is quickly reaching capacity. The shuttle has provided employers with reliable transportation for their recruiting, interviewing and training purposes to hire hundreds of entry level workers.
In addition to its demand responsive shuttle services, RideACTA incorporates marketing and outreach strategies designed to connect job seekers with area employment opportunities and to create a mutual understanding of the benefit of reliable and affordable public transportation in recruiting and retaining employees to support a strong and vibrant business community. The ACTA staff conducts outreach events at the IKEA shuttle location to meet and greet shuttle riders for informational sessions and works closely with the PAAC staff when designing, producing and communicating informational brochures about how to use transit and shuttle services in the Airport Corridor.
ACTA has arranged a partnership with the Community College of Allegheny County West to help with students and most recently new retraining classes offered in the evening hours. ACTA also offers comprehensive training to workforce training, workforce development and human service agencies through its Transportation 101 program.
ACTA understands the necessity of technology as a convenient and cost effective tool for the continued success of the service. The RideACTA website provides a real-time shuttle locator for the convenience of the rider. The PAAC call center refers rides to Ride ACTA and PAAC references RideACTA service in their printed timetables as well. Facebook will be available for new users as well.
Ride ACTA survey data indicates that 68 percentof the riders have incomes below 150 percent of poverty level, 98 percent ride to work or work-related activity, and 95 percentuse other public transit in conjunction with the RideACTA shuttle.