BCTA is moving forward with its technology. Phase 2 is currently underway and Phase 3 is in the planning stages. Phase 2 of the ITS program includes various system components including wireless LAN, smart card technology, electronic signage and new paratransit scheduling software from RouteMatch that adds another layer of management to the scheduling software and an upgraded telephone system. The new system will provide call takers an electronic sign showing how many calls are in sequence for reservations, how many are on hold, how many are for cancellations, how many are for pickup times. With the management layer, the supervisor of the center can monitor that activity in real time throughout the day.
"With that advancement in technology in the paratransit program we have actually kept on staff a temporary full-time position that we had hoped would not have to be filled with a permanent position," says Morandini. "We're going to keep the temporary person on staff for a couple of months and then we'll be able to save that full-time staff person with this new technology."
Planning for the Community's Future
The other project underway is the Transit Revitalization Investment District Grant (TRID). "That legislation provides a very unique framework to support the integration of land use and transportation and support or encourage the creation of livable communities in distressed municipalities across the state," explains Morandini.
"Pennsylvania is losing population in many parts of the state," Morandini says. She describes the situation in Pennsylvania, "While the southwest Pennsylvania region isn't growing, about 43 acres a day of green space is consumed for new development." She stresses, "I think the state, through this legislation and some other initiatives, is attempting to reverse that trend and do more infill as opposed to more urban sprawl."
BCTA worked at bringing together numerous key stakeholders in the county to create a common vision for the Borough of Rochester. Morandini says, "I think one of the reasons the state really liked this project is because we already had all these partnerships in place by the time we submitted the grant." Some of those partners include the Borough of Rochester, Beaver County Community Development, the Rochester Chamber of Commerce, the Rochester school district and the MPO.
The Rochester Transportation Center is the hub of the BCTA, housing a bus terminal, a park-and-ride facility and a customer information center. All of the fixed-route buses in the system are at the terminal on the half hour. As Morandini explains it, "If you get to Rochester you know your bus is also going to be here when you arrive to take you on to your next destination." She adds, "If you get to Rochester you can get to anywhere in Beaver County, you can get to Allegheny County and Pittsburg so it also provides for regional transportation as well."
The TRID utilizes the successful transit investment that is existing and hopes to build upon that to rebuild the community. Morandini explains some of the additional planning activities, "We have taken other planning districts and integrated them into the TRID area including the Main Street Planning District which has a separate funding source to improve the streetscapes, the business facades in the downtown area.The Elm Street Planning District is the residential piece to this and the Bridge Replanning District is the commercial part of the TRID area.
"The scope of work in the study includes looking at the infrastructure within the TRID area, a traffic analysis," she explains. "Also doing market research, that's a critical component of the planning study to determine what is the best use of the existing property within the TRID area." BCTA is looking at constructing a joint parking facility that would include a park-and-ride and additional space needs by the Borough for the existing and new development to come. That new development will be mixed-use but those involved in the planning are anticipating a strong residential component to it.