Walker Consultants is working with the Fresno County Rural Transit Agency (FCTRA) to test how new technologies can be implemented to enhance and expand transit service in rural areas.
The cost of providing traditional transit services in rural areas increases every year, as the County struggles to cover large service areas to meet rider needs. Social service organizations across Fresno County expressed the need for transportation services for their residents and clients to travel to jobs, medical appointments, training, the grocery store, and other vital destinations. Some areas of the County have no fixed-route transit service and people experience mile-long walks in the sun and heat to get to the nearest bus stop. From there, riders must often make several bus connections to reach their final destination, making traditional transit a long and unreliable travel option.
Walker assembled an internal team with extensive experience in transit policy and strategy, electric vehicle policy, shared use mobility, transportation modeling, financial analysis, and transit technology. With a rigorous analysis of residents’ needs, Walker then created a business plan for implementation of an electric vehicle rural rideshare/carshare pilot to expand service and decrease costs. Walker also created a plan to expand and make more efficient the FCRTA’s existing rural service. Finally, Walker identified traditional and innovative funding sources for the plan’s implementation, including more than $8 million in grants.
The new service exclusively uses electric vehicles to reduce environmental impacts, as Fresno County experiences some of the worst air quality in the nation.
Walker worked with the FCRTA and a private operator to implement the microtransit/rideshare business plan and continues to partner with the agency to monitor and adjust service based on demand. The new service will help small, disadvantaged communities across Fresno County fill their transit gaps cost-effectively.
Working on the next phase of electrification with FCRTA, Walker is leading the planning, research, development, outreach, design, and implementation of a transit microgrid system that will power a 100 percent electric zero-emission bus fleet.
The microgrids will create local community resiliency hubs that that store power for emergencies, provide car share, bike share, and personal electric vehicle charging, rain gardens, food trucks, cooling stations, Wi-Fi locations, and other amenities to support economic development and resiliency.