Omaha – Staff from the Center for Public Affairs Research, alongside partners from the Nebraska Safety Center, officially kicked off a unique five-year partnership intended to improve and promote public transit across Nebraska.
Sponsoring partner, the Nebraska Department of Roads (NDOR), also attended the open house event. The two colleges have worked closely with NDOR’s Intermodal Planning Division since December 2013 as part of a formal agreement to assist with statewide transit improvement projects. These have included, for example, developing a public transit website, and researching system gaps to enhance public transit coverage for rural Nebraskans. Following a successful phase one collaboration, NDOR officially extended the partnership through 2021.
Today, the UNO-UNK-NDOR partnership operates under the name Advance, symbolizing its mission to enhance the quality of Nebraska’s public transit systems. Long-term objectives include improving the overall safety, efficiency and affordability of public transit in Nebraska, with a particular focus on enhancing service in the state’s rural areas.
“We are working to improve Nebraska’s transit systems across the board, but especially for rural residents, who have unique mobility access challenges,” said Kari Ruse, NDOR Transit Liaison Manager. “I cannot overstate the value that the university brings to the table in terms of providing the resources and expertise to help meet these objectives.”
I cannot overstate the value that the university brings to the table in terms of providing the resources and expertise to help meet these objectives."
- Kari Ruse, NDOR Transit Liaison Manager
In terms of individual roles, CPAR will provide a variety of project support, ranging from research, to technology to public outreach. For example, CPAR Director Jerome Deichert is spearheading an intercity bus assessment that include a series of public meetings in April to gather input. Staff at the Nebraska Safety Center, under Director Mick Anderson, have implemented a cutting-edge driver training program that could eventually serve as a model for other states. The partnership creates a synergy that poses exciting prospects for the future.
“We’re proud and enthusiastic to be working with our colleagues at the Nebraska Safety Center and NDOR,” Deichert said. “This is a tremendous opportunity for the colleges to come together and combine their unique expertise to improve the quality of life for all Nebraskans.”
As part of its mission, Advance is co-sponsoring Nebraska Public Transit Week with UNK, NDOR, and the Nebraska Association of Transportation Providers during April 9-15, 2017. The week was proclaimed by Lieutenant Governor Mike Foley on March 8, 2017. Transit providers statewide will host a range of events in celebration, from stuff the bus food drives to free ride voucher giveaways. The desired outcome is to promote citizen awareness surrounding public transit in all areas of the state. Nebraskans are encouraged during the week to learn more about public transit options in their communities. Information about Nebraska Public Transit Week events will be made available on the state public transit website, nebraskatransit.com, leading up to the celebration.
To learn more, check out Advance's inaugural video.
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