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Service Improvement Plan

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

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 through 2030. The improvements identified in the SIP depend on additional funding for transit operations to be implemented.

> View Final Plan/Draft Plan
> 2014 Metro Transit Service Improvement Plan Presentation (You Tube)
> Read transcript of SIP presentation
> View presentation to Metropolitan Council Transportation Committee (Oct. 13, 2014)

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 engaged 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. 

Stakeholder workshops and survey
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)

Winter 2013-2014 Survey
Nearly 4,000 surveys were received! Metro Transit staff analyzed the data, and used it to create the SIP. The feedback from the survey informed the guiding principles behind the plan and helped develop the criteria we will use to evaluate and prioritize improvements.

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

November 2014 Public Comment Period
A draft plan was released in October 2014. For the following month, the public was invited to review and comment on the plan: Metro Transit held six public meetings seeking input on the Draft SIP. In addition, the public could provide feedback on comment cards available on bus routes and by email, phone and U.S. mail. The Draft SIP was available for review at county libraries within Metro Transit’s service area and at Metro Transit Service Centers in downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Metro Transit received more than 500 service suggestions from nearly 200 individuals and community organizations. Most of the comments either supported or requested additional improvements to the frequency and span of existing routes. 

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 November 2014
Finalize SIP Early 2015

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