Neighborhood leaders, nonprofit directors, and health care providers have told us that, for many Greenville County residents, transportation is the number one obstacle to employment, medical treatment, education, and more. In early 2015, the Piedmont Health Foundation launched a study of public transit and health and human services transportation to better understand mobility in the community and to identify ways to increase residents’ ability to travel in Greenville County.
With the technical support of a consultant team from CDM Smith and Arnett Muldrow and Associates; the guidance of a task force of local planners, transportation providers, and stakeholders; and financial support from local sponsors, the Piedmont Health Foundation assessed the need and transit use among residents, inventoried existing transportation services, and considered underlying infrastructure and existing plans. For more about our research methodology, see our Executive Summary.
Transportation & Mobility Community Survey
How often are you unable to drive because you can’t afford it?
A few times a year
Does the current Greenlink bus schedule meet your needs?
How does the current Greenlink bus schedule not meet your needs?
Service doesn't go where I need to go
Planning and Infrastructure
In order to have a transportation system that is effective, efficient, sustainable and accessible, the infrastructure on which it operates must support it. This includes the roads on which transit drives and how it connects with the residential and commercial areas and the people it serves.
Greenlink already provides 1.3 million rides per year in Greenville County on its 15 fixed routes and paratransit vans. But this study found that many transportation needs are unmet, and “choice” riders are not opting to use public transit because of service limitations.
By first bolstering Greenlink’s planning capacity, the system can better design services to cost-effectively meet the public’s needs. Then, with service expansion based on current and anticipated demand, innovations in service methods, and with adequate financial support, Greenlink can improve mobility.
Health and Human Services
Greenville County has dozens of transportation services provided by nonprofits, businesses, and volunteers, but because they all have different funding sources, scheduling systems, and eligibility requirements, they are both duplicative and unable to meet the vast need in the community. By better coordinating these disparate services, we can make the most of available assets to improve mobility.
Key takeaways from our research study:
- Lack of transportation is a primary barrier to economic success
- Transportation is fundamental to quality of life and success
- Car ownership does not equate mobility
- Greenlink does not meet most residents’ mobility needs
- Most existing infrastructure supports only car travel
Actions & Next Steps
Targeting county infrastructure and planning
We have three paths. First, we are convening people and agencies responsible for planning, zoning and public works to determine how they can coordinate more effectively. We are also completing an inventory of all bus stops in the county to find the percentage of stops that are not ADA compliant. Finally, we will advocate as the County considers revisions to its land development regulations.
Conducting a comprehensive operational analysis (COA)
We are assisting with a 7-month COA on Greenlink. The results will show us the viability of existing routes and stops and will shape the next step for the existing transit system.
Identifying mobility management opportunities
We will convene health and human services transportation providers to determine where their services are complimentary, duplicative or where gaps exist.