Products, Services, and Data

Public Transportation

Public transportation – locally comprised of buses and commuter vans – serves an integral role in the overall transportation system. Along with bicycle/pedestrian, freight, and roadways, it is one of the four components of the Treasure Valley’s transportation system that is addressed in the regional long-range transportation plan for Ada and Canyon Counties – Communities in Motion.

 

Public Transportation in Communities in Motion 2040 2.0

Communities in Motion 2040 2.0 (CIM 2040 2.0) was adopted in December 2018 and is the current long-range transportation plan for Ada and Canyon Counties. The COMPASS Public Transportation Workgroup helped develop a vision for the public transportation system needed for 2040, including new high capacity services, additional bus routes, and increased frequencies to meet the needs of a growing population.

While currently unfunded, this vision is divided into five distinct priorities, which build upon each other. These priorities are identified in CIM 2040 2.0 as unfunded public transportation priorities. A robust 2040 public transportation system, including high capacity public transportation on State Street and on the current rail corridor or a corridor parallel to it, is the fifth and final priority identified for 2040. Learn more.

 

Public Transportation in Communities in Motion 2050

COMPASS is currently updating CIM 2040 2.0 to look to the year 2050 – Communities in Motion 2050 (CIM 2050). As part of the planning process, COMPASS updated a previous study on high-capacity transit and studied regional park and ride needs and facilities to develop a regional park and ride plan for the Treasure Valley. 

High-Capacity Public Transportation

In 2020, COMPASS updated the 2009 Treasure Valley High Capacity Transit Study. The update provides background information from the 2009 study, combined with the most currently available data, to refine a list of potential high capacity modes and alignment alternatives (routes) recommended for further assessment. The study also provides an outline of next steps to advance a preferred alternative toward implementation. To further refine potential routes and modes, COMPASS conducted a public survey in early 2021 to gain public input into the most important characteristics of a high-capacity transit system in the Treasure Valley.

COMPASS staff used the survey results to identify trends, needs, and common destinations, then compared those to potential transit modes and alignments as identified in the Treasure Valley High Capacity Transit Study to narrow options to best serve regional needs and preferences. Based on that analysis, regional rail on the Boise Cutoff alignment was identified as the “locally favored” option and was approved as such by the COMPASS Board of Directors in June 2021.

Regional rail is a hybrid between commuter rail and light rail. Like commuter rail, regional rail uses the same heavy track infrastructure used by freight, but regional rail service is more like that of light rail, with more stations than a typical commuter rail system.

As the next step in the planning process, in June 2022 the COMPASS Board of Directors directed COMPASS staff to pursue funding for a “Planning and Environmental Linkages” study to help refine the feasibility of regional high-capacity transit options and prepare the region to secure funding to advance high-capacity transit planning and design into the federal process.

Learn more:

  • Survey results
  • 2020 Treasure Valley High Capacity Transit Study
  • High-capacity transit in the Treasure Valley “locally favored” option summary
  • COMPASS Regional Park and Ride Study

    COMPASS led a regional park and ride study that resulted in a park and ride plan for the Treasure Valley. The plan includes strategies for locating and servicing park and ride lots throughout the region to best support transportation modes beyond single-occupancy vehicles, such as transit, vanpools, carpools, biking, and walking, to create a more mobile and connected future in the Treasure Valley. Learn more. Link to the Park and Ride Study: Final Report.

    Coordinated Public Transit-Human Services Transportation Plan

    Specific funding is provided by the Federal Transit Administration to assist in meeting the transportation needs of older adults and people with disabilities. Projects funded with these funds must be derived from a locally developed Coordinated Public Transit-Human Services Transportation Plan (or “Coordinated Plan”). COMPASS is updating the current 2014 Coordinated Plan, which will allow Valley Regional Transit to continue planning, budgeting, and implementing coordinated transportation services throughout the region. Learn more.

     

    Public Transportation Funding

    Idaho does not have a dedicated funding source for public transportation – that is, there isn’t any sort of tax that pays for public transportation the way the fuel tax pays for roads.

    This means that much of the funding for public transportation is left in the hands of our local jurisdictions, competing in local budgets with other necessities such as law enforcement, fire protection, and more. This is not a sustainable funding mechanism.

    COMPASS continually works toward a dedicated funding source for public transportation, while planning for a future system when funding is available to expand.

     

    Past Studies and Additional Resources

    2017 - 2019 State Street Transit Oriented Development Plan

    This plan built on past studies and plans to implement portions of the State Street Transit and Traffic Operational Plan (see below) related to mixed-use development, transit station location, and design. Learn more.

    2015 Network Analysis

    COMPASS contracted with Kittelson and Associates to develop a public transportation network analysis of services for the year 2040. COMPASS used this analysis as a basis for developing the future public transportation system in CIM 2040 2.0 (above). View final report.

    2015 Transit On-Board Survey

    COMPASS and Valley Regional Transit conducted an on-board survey of public transportation users on Valley Regional Transit's system. View final report.

    2004-2012 State Street Transit and Traffic Operational Plan and related documents

    Link to studies, plans, and documents that comprise the State Street Transit and Traffic Operational Plan.

    2009 Treasure Valley High Capacity Transit Study

    The 2009 Treasure Valley High Capacity Transit Study focused on connections among three related planning projects: the downtown Boise Multimodal Center (now called Main Street Station), the Downtown Boise circulator, and a regional, east-west high-capacity corridor. Learn more and find links to previous related studies and plans.

     

    Learn More

    For more information on public transportation in the Treasure Valley, contact Liisa Itkonen at 208/475-2241 or LItkonen@compassidaho.org.