July-August_2021 - 26

Mobility
accounting, some HR services
and audit
services. We don't
necessarily have to have complete
divisions or departments set
up within our agency for those
functions, " explained Ferbrache.
" When we have construction
projects or planning efforts, we
are able to use experts within city
departments, who help us see how
those things fit into a comprehensive
plan of the city. "
However, the biggest benefit
of working so closely within the
municipality, according to Ferbrache,
is the opportunity for
capital investment.
" We would not have the OKC
Streetcar, which is debt-free and
was 100 percent locally funded,
without the city and community
support, " says Ferbrache. " Whether
General Obligation bonds or the
transformational MAPS program,
public transit continues to be one
of the primary recipients of those
capital programs. "
EMBARK is now engineering
the region's first bus rapid transit
(BRT) system. The first route
was awarded $14.4 million from
a USDOT BUILD Grant with the
remaining balance locally funded
by the city of Oklahoma City. The
route is expected to be operational
in late 2023.
" None of this would be possible
as a standalone transit agency with
22 bus routes and no dedicated
revenue sources, " said Ferbrache.
" Ideally, we want to be self-sufficient
financially, but where we are
as an organization - working to
modernize our fixed-route system
and bringing new modes into the
community that we've never had
before - being a city department
is extremely helpful. "
Strategic Planning
In 2005, COTPA published its
2030 Fixed Guideway Plan that
provided a roadmap to implement
a series of regional transit
solutions, including bus enhancements,
BRT, streetcar and
commuter rail options.
EMBARK MANAGES Oklahoma
River Cruises along a sevenmile
stretch of the Oklahoma
River.
" I love talking about that study;
it's provided reliable guidance for
us and it's still relevant as we've
incrementally implemented the
plan, " said Ferbrache. " The plan
called for a better bus system, so
in 2013, we partnered with Nelson
Nygaard to recommend system
changes, which led to our current
improvements on the EMBARK
bus system like improved frequencies
and more direct routes. There
is always room for improvement,
but we did address the bus system
and we certainly made significant
improvements. "
Additional projects in the study
include a downtown circulator,
which was delivered in 2018 with
the opening of the Oklahoma City
Streetcar, several BRT corridors,
the first of which is on schedule
to open in two years and high-capacity
transit that would use existing
railroad right-of-way to add
commuter rail to the region, which
is being explored through efforts
with the Regional Transportation
Authority of Central Oklahoma.
" I think the plan itself helps us,
as an agency, bring a lot of credibility
to the table when we're having
discussions about transit, " noted
26 | Mass Transit | MassTransitmag.com | JULY/AUGUST 2021
Non-Rider
2020 Survey
Results
77%
feel EMBARK's
services are
valuable to the
community
83%
strongly agree/
agree that transit
is important
for a thriving
community
78.7%
believe it's very
important that
transit serves
low-income,
disabled or senior
populations with
few transportation
options
69%
believe transit is
very important
to support
economic
development and
access to jobs
Credit: 2020 ETC Institute
Ferbrache. " The final piece on that
is the flexibility we have administering
or implementing the plan. "
He points to the enhancements
implemented on the bus system
in 2014 to illustrate that the plan
is not a checklist EMBARK is
working through, but a roadmap
of what transit services can best
serve the community. The bus system
modifications implemented
in 2014 were studied, but with the
changes that have occurred in the
community with new trip generators
and new major employers, the
opportunity exists for EMBARK
to revisit those changes and evaluate
if further revisions are needed.
" Even though all the recommendations
in the 2030 system
plan have been implemented, we
can still work on enhancing those
services that have such as bus system,
streetcar and high-frequency
corridors. That's what makes the
plan so resilient and relevant, "
said Ferbrache.
This laser focus on continuous
improvement to serve the community
helped during the COVID-19
pandemic. While EMBARK did experience
reduced ridership, it was
not the steep decline experienced
on a national level and Ferbrache
did not hesitate to credit employees
as a big factor to keeping transit users
moving during the health crisis.
http://www.MassTransitmag.com

July-August_2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of July-August_2021

Ad Index
Editor's Notebook
People & Places
A Note from the Editor
Charles Carroll Carter: How He Left His Mark on Public Transit
Transit Industry Advancements: Riding on Rubber
EMBARK-ing Toward Better Mobility
Re-imagining Stations as the Center of Sustainable Urban Life
Via Jersey City Success Story
Products
The Scheduling Conundrum
July-August_2021 - 1
July-August_2021 - 2
July-August_2021 - 3
July-August_2021 - 4
July-August_2021 - Ad Index
July-August_2021 - Editor's Notebook
July-August_2021 - 7
July-August_2021 - People & Places
July-August_2021 - 9
July-August_2021 - 10
July-August_2021 - 11
July-August_2021 - 12
July-August_2021 - A Note from the Editor
July-August_2021 - Charles Carroll Carter: How He Left His Mark on Public Transit
July-August_2021 - 15
July-August_2021 - 16
July-August_2021 - 17
July-August_2021 - Transit Industry Advancements: Riding on Rubber
July-August_2021 - 19
July-August_2021 - 20
July-August_2021 - 21
July-August_2021 - EMBARK-ing Toward Better Mobility
July-August_2021 - 23
July-August_2021 - 24
July-August_2021 - 25
July-August_2021 - 26
July-August_2021 - 27
July-August_2021 - 28
July-August_2021 - 29
July-August_2021 - Re-imagining Stations as the Center of Sustainable Urban Life
July-August_2021 - 31
July-August_2021 - 32
July-August_2021 - 33
July-August_2021 - Via Jersey City Success Story
July-August_2021 - 35
July-August_2021 - 36
July-August_2021 - 37
July-August_2021 - 38
July-August_2021 - 39
July-August_2021 - Products
July-August_2021 - 41
July-August_2021 - The Scheduling Conundrum
July-August_2021 - 43
July-August_2021 - 44
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