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North by Northwest Connector Regional Transit

Date:
February 17, 2015
Topics:
2014, Excellence Awards, Transit

The North by Northwest Connector is a regional transit network that links transit service in Benton, Clatsop, Columbia, Lincoln and Tillamook counties. Transit schedules are coordinated between adjoining districts allowing seamless ridership throughout the region, including connections with Portland and the Willamette Valley. The North by Northwest Connector system includes an interactive website for transit trip planning and branded signage to easily identify Connector buses and transit stops. Marketing efforts have included a Visitor Pass program providing 3- and 5-day ridership throughout the system, with over 200 passes sold since the Connector system was started in January 2013.

Chief accomplishments to date have been the operational efficiencies resulting from coordinated bus schedules, and increased ridership for the transit partners. Rural transit districts typically face special challenges with smaller ridership bases and a geographic dispersion of riders. The Connector system addresses these challenges by attracting additional riders in outlying areas and making pick-up of these riders more efficient. Attracting new partners, including the Siletz and Grand Ronde tribes and employers with commuting workers, is also essential to the effectiveness of the system.

Initially funded with U.S. Department of Energy funding, the Connector system was established to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and serve as a replicable model for other regional partnerships. In addition to reducing emissions, the Connector has resulted in an additional benefit to the transit partners: creating critical mass and leverage when seeking system development funding. To date, $300,000 in new transportation funding has been granted to the Connector for improvements that directly enhance both the system and the individual partner’s service delivery.

The North by Northwest Connector was awarded a 2014 Excellence in Regional Transportation Award.  View descriptions of other award winning projects here.