MnDOT asks public to help shape future of regional public transportation in central Minnesota

The Minnesota Department of Transportation is sponsoring a project to evaluate the potential for new regional public transportation services and other commuter options in central Minnesota.

Future transit services could be initiated from cities throughout central Minnesota to St. Cloud, Minneapolis, St. Paul and elsewhere, depending on the outcome of the Central Minnesota Commuter Study, which is scheduled to begin in mid-September.

One of the first steps of the project is to ask central Minnesota residents about their current commutes, the challenges they face and what improvements they hope to see in the future.

The public is requested to share their responses to a MnDOT-sponsored survey about commuter behavior in central Minnesota. Survey researchers will be random dialing telephones during daytime and evening hours in the following counties: Benton, Cass, Chisago, Crow Wing, Isanti, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Sherburne, Stearns, Todd, Wadena and Wright.

“We hope people won’t hang up on the surveyors,” said Sue Siemers, MnDOT project manager. “If they’ll spend just a little bit of time on the phone with us, they can help us understand where future transportation resources should be invested.”

All survey responses will be kept confidential and no responses will be able to be tracked to any specific households.

The Central Minnesota Commuter Study also will include surveys at regional park-and-ride facilities, focus groups and an extensive analysis of travel patterns. The study is expected to be completed in 2012 and will serve as a roadmap for future investments in commuter transportation.

MnDOT District 3, with offices in St. Cloud and Baxter, is overseeing the study in collaboration with Nelson\Nygaard Associates and their partners, Minneapolis-based LSA Design and Decision Resources Ltd.

For more information about this project, contact Susan Siemers at 320-223-6556.