SEPTA begins bus network redesign effort

April 30, 2021
SEPTA says its bus network redesign project, ‘Bus Revolution,’ is an ‘extraordinary opportunity’ to realign the network to the needs of the community.

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) is taking a blank slate approach to rethinking its decades-old bus network. The transportation authority kicked off a three-year project, SEPTA Forward: Bus Revolution, that will deliver a redesigned bus network that “will improve the overall rider experience” by offering greater reliability, efficiency and ease of use.

A fact sheet on the project states “we recognize that SEPTA’s bus service is in need of a revolution to better serve you – our community of riders” and recognizes the changes to the region, as well as changes to mobility patterns brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Buses are a critical part of our transit system and an indispensable lifeline to work, school and more for many people in our region," said SEPTA General Manager Leslie Richards. "The Bus Revolution project provides us with an extraordinary opportunity to ensure that our system better meets the needs of residents and business in our area. As we plan for a future focused on equity, environment and economy, a strong bus network can improve quality of life not just for our riders, but also for everyone who lives and works in the region."

The first two years of the project will be devoted to planning and analysis, while the third year will be dedicated to implementing the changes. However, SEPTA explains the project will have a “robust customer and community engagement component” throughout every stage. SEPTA says it will seek public and stakeholder input on issues ranging from bus routing, bus stop spacing, frequency and span of service.

The Bus Revolution project is part of the transportation authority’s SEPTA Forward strategic plan, which was developed with rider input and provides a five-year framework in which to steer SEPTA toward “a better, more equitable future.”

“Improving SEPTA’s bus network is one of the best ways to improve the lives of people with low incomes and people of color who rely the most on public transportation to meet their needs,” the transportation authority included on the project fact sheet.

SEPTA anticipates it will have a new bus network in place by the end of 2023 and has tapped into a team of consultants to help carry out the technical work, as well as community engagement aspects of the project. The team of consultants will be led by Nelson/Nygaard with support from Michael Baker, Fehr & Peers and Walker Consultants.

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Group Editorial Director

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine and group editorial director of the Infrastructure and Aviation Group at Endeavor Business Media. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the editorial direction of the group and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.