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Help shape the future of Metro Transit bus service. We're setting priorities for our growing transit system.

The Service Improvement Plan (SIP) is a service expansion plan that builds on the existing bus network and identifies opportunities to add new routes and improve frequency and span on existing service. It is a prioritized vision for how Metro Transit will seek to improve the local and express bus service over the next 10 to 15 years. The improvements identified in the SIP depend on additional funding for transit operations to be implemented.

Current work

Metro Transit planners are currently reviewing the feedback received on the Draft SIP during the public comment period from Nov. 1-30. We will use this feedback to make changes and inform the development of the Final 2015-2030 Service Improvement Plan, which will be presented for approval to the Metropolitan Council in March 2015.

How we received feedback

We held six public meetings in November seeking input on the Draft SIP. In addition to attending a public meeting, the public could provide feedback on comment cards available on bus routes and by email, phone and U.S. mail. The Draft SIP is available for review at county libraries within Metro Transit’s service area and at Metro Transit Service Centers in downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Read more about the Draft SIP

The Draft SIP screened 165 proposed improvements in the Metro Transit service area. Based on the evaluation measures, each proposed improvement was ranked High, Medium or Low; 122 projects scored either a High or Medium and are priorities for implementation.

Read the Draft Service Improvement Plan (combined file that includes Executive Summary, tables and figures). See individual files below.

> Read transcript of SIP presentation above 

> Click here to open the video in a new window (YouTube)

Transit Planning 101

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Many things go into making the transit network effective. Here are four key elements:

Transit that connects a multitude of people to the places where they live, work, shop and play.
Transit that is a cost-effective use of public funds.
Transit that provides a basic level of access across the region.
Transit that supports efficient development.


Metro Transit uses these planning principles in mind when designing bus service:

Complex route vs. simple route

Design simple, direct routes

Simple routes that travel in nearly a straight line are easy to understand and provide faster and more frequent service. A route that zigzags will be slower, more confusing and cost more to operate.

Serve areas with high density of uses

Places with many people and destinations within a compact area are more cost-effective to serve with transit. Higher density allows for a smaller number of routes to serve a greater number of people and needs, making transit useful to more people.

High density usage

Balance frequency and coverage

This is the big tradeoff in transit. Metro Transit must balance its limited resources between providing fast, frequent service that people may have to walk to with service that covers more area but operates less frequently. The goal: serving the highest number of people while providing basic access across the region.

Match level of service to demand

Whenever possible, we offer bigger buses and more frequent service where needed. Providing too much service is expensive and prevents trips and routes from being added in another area that needs it. Providing too little service makes transit less useful and can lead to crowding on existing service.

Listening to customers

Metro Transit is engaging stakeholders throughout the process of creating the SIP. We regularly hear from customers about improvements they would like implemented: higher frequency on core urban routes, better suburb-to-suburb connections, more urban crosstown routes, new express service,faster travel times and more customer amenities. 

We began developing the SIP in Fall 2013 with stakeholder workshops and a survey.

• Purpose of the workshops: Engage stakeholders and enlist their assistance in reaching out to their constituents

• Workshops were held in Edina, St. Paul and Brooklyn Center. Staff and elected officials from every city and county in Metro Transit's service area were invited, along with representatives from nearly 200 community groups.

> See the workshop presentation (.pdf)


Survey results and feedback

Thank you for the nearly 4,000 surveys that were received! Metro Transit staff are currently analyzing the data, and will use it to create the 10- to 15-year plan. The feedback provided in the survey also will inform the guiding principles behind the plan and help us develop the criteria we will use to evaluate and prioritize improvements.

> View a summary that outlines the outreach process thus far, and includes preliminary survey results and a draft of the plan's guiding principles


Based on this input, we will create a draft Service Improvement Plan using the transit planning principles outlined above. The draft plan will be distributed to the public for review and comment this fall. Once we hear from you, we’ll revise the plan and put it to use.

Stakeholder Outreach

Nov.-Dec. 2013

Receive Public Input

Dec.-Feb. 2014

Review & Process Input

Feb.-April 2014

Develop Draft SIP

May-Oct. 2014

Public Review of Draft SIP

November 2014

Finalize SIP

Early 2015


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