TheRide Offers Partnership to MDOT to Investigate Transit Scenario in US-23 Study

TheRide Offers Partnership to MDOT to Investigate Transit Scenario in US-23 Study

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Press Release
For Immediate Release
February 9, 2024
Jeffrey Pfeifer
Manager of Public Affairs and Engagement
(810) 923-9732

ANN ARBOR, MI -- The Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority (TheRide) is offering to assist MDOT in developing a pro-transit scenario as part of the ongoing study on US-23 that could both divert traffic away from parts of US-23 as well as some local roads, while being more cost effective to the State of Michigan.

TheRide is offering to work with MDOT US-23 Improvement Project Study in a technical advisory capacity to help develop a transit scenario for the study.

“We understand that MDOT is being asked to consider a transit solution along US-23, and we happen to already have one that has been endorsed through extensive public involvement and our Board’s approval,” says TheRide CEO Matt Carpenter.

Tens of thousands of commuters drive into Ann Arbor every day for work, many using US-23. TheRide's proposed partnership would divert cars away from parts of US-23, replacing them with a small number of highway coaches which would reduce pressure on the highway enough that widening US-23 would not be necessary.  

TheRide has an approved long-range plan (TheRide 2045) that includes specific recommendations for diverting roughly 8,000 cars/day away from the US-23 corridor and local streets like Plymouth Rd. and Washtenaw Ave. through the use of Park & Rides. 

Park & Ride is a tested and successful service, with several small scale parking lots (200 stalls) already in the Ann Arbor area. TheRide envisions scaling this service up to a size common in larger cities, with several much larger 2,000 stall lots situated further away on approaching freeway corridors such as US-23 north and south of Ann Arbor, and M-14 and I-94 east of Ann Arbor.

Users would then be shuttled into Ann Arbor destinations on highway coaches like those used for AirRide or D2A2.

image of d2a2

“This isn’t an engineering challenge, it’s a funding challenge,” said Carpenter. “If the money were available, TheRide has the vision, capacity and expertise to execute a service like this. So this is worth at least considering.” The vision calls for large parking lots to be constructed about 10 miles outside the Ann Arbor freeway ring, along existing interchanges.

park & ride area map

“We understand that building Park & Ride lots is maybe a little outside of MDOT’s traditional role, which is why we are offering our assistance. These sorts of ideas will become more common in a multi-modal future. And MDOT did already build a Park & Ride lot along US-23 and 8 Mile road as part of the Flex Lane project,” says Carpenter.

More Park & Ride shuttles can also increase safety on area highways and in Ann Arbor, reduce speeds, noise, equity and environmental impacts, and congestion – key parts of the City of Ann Arbor Transportation Master Plan. More transit could also reduce GHG emissions from cars and overall Vehicle Miles Travelled – a key elements of the City’s A2Zero climate action plan. More transit is compatible with walking and biking as well. TheRide is also exploring Zero Emission Buses, and notes that such highway coaches are also available.