The Iowa-Illinois “Quad Cities” transportation network, which includes four transit systems, an extensive trail network, a ferry system, and a planned commuter rail is an exemplary illustration of a multi-modal system that connects people and communities. This robust transit system is supplemented by a convenient website where customers can virtually book all of their transportation needs for every mode that is a part of the network.
The “Quad Cities” represents a unique metropolitan area in the US. Home to approximately 300,000 people, evenly split between Iowa and Illinois and separated by the Mississippi and Rock Rivers, the Quad Cities metropolitan area includes over forty municipalities. With no single dominant jurisdiction, the communities have had a history of working together to provide dependable, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly fixed-route transit service.
In 2004, the Iowa Quad Cities Transit Coordinator position was created jointly between CitiBus, Bettendorf Transit and River Bend Transit. The coordinator, who is located at Bi-State Regional Commission, performs route planning, marketing, and transit use training for the Iowa Quad Cities transit systems and is also a liaison with MetroLINK, the Rock Island County Metropolitan Mass Transit District. Recently, the coordinator conducted on-board transit training on all of the systems for 21 social service agencies. The coordinator continuously tries to improve service delivery and is currently working to set up riverfront loop service. This half hour headway route would serve downtown areas, three convention centers, bikeways, ferry landings, and civic and sports attractions.
The result of a virtual and physical transit system is increasing ridership for all systems. For the first time, CitiBus passed the million annual rider mark in 2007 and thus far in 2008, MetroLINK is averaging a 10% increase in ridership each month compared to the same month last year. In 2007, ridership for the three fixed route systems totaled 3.6 million. This network shows that utilizing multi-modal connections not only improves service delivery for those utilizing the system, but draws in new riders with its convenience.