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SEPTA Board Approves Transit Planning Consultant Nelson/Nygaard

December 17, 2020

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The SEPTA Board today [Thursday, December 17, 2020] approved the selection of transit planning consulting firm Nelson/Nygaard to support the Authority’s Comprehensive Bus Network Redesign initiative (CBNR).

This represents a major step forward for this transformative effort.

It will take approximately three years to complete the necessary planning and implementation of CBNR.

SEPTA will work with key stakeholders, such as the City of Philadelphia, suburban elected officials, residents and advocates, to make changes that will improve service for customers and the communities throughout the region.

Work on CBNR has been ongoing. In June 2018, Jarrett Walker + Associates recommended a full examination of SEPTA’s city and suburban bus network in the Philadelphia Bus Network Choices report. Now, with SEPTA’s focus on helping the region recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of this project has grown.

“The Comprehensive Bus Network Redesign initiative will help SEPTA be more nimble and responsive to customers’ needs as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said SEPTA General Manager Leslie S. Richards. “We are looking forward to engaging the public throughout this process and delivering meaningful changes to our service throughout the region.”

Nelson/Nygaard is a national leader in transit planning and innovative public outreach, with strategies to engage hard-to-reach riders typically left out of the public process and potential riders. Under this contract, Nelson/Nygaard will lead a diverse team of industry leaders, including three Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) firms: Portfolio, Connect the Dots, and Merit Marketing to support outreach.

SEPTA’s current bus network has its origins in the city of Philadelphia’s early 20th century streetcar network. Though the bus network has adapted over the years as travel patterns changed, this comprehensive approach is new to SEPTA. The agency’s new fare policy, which was implemented in July 2020 and eliminated the transfer penalty will allow for a reimagining of how bus routes connect with rail transit to form a better network for all riders.

For more information about SEPTA’s Comprehensive Bus Network Redesign effort, visit www.septa.org/bus-network.

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