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  • 13 Nov 2023 8:30 AM | WIPTA Admin (Administrator)

    Bus Rapid Transit 052523 02-05242023151911 (copy) (copy)

    A year into bus rapid transit construction on the east-to-west line, the city is starting to plan for the second route from Madison’s north side, through the downtown area to the south-side neighborhoods and end in Fitchburg.

    Some form of rapid transit within the city has been studied since 1992. The bus rapid transit system has been in the works for nearly a decade and is aimed at improving the city’s existing Metro Transit system to shorten travel times, reduce congestion and support economic development.

    Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway has made bus rapid transit a pillar of her platform during her tenure in office. The city broke ground last December on the east-to-west route, which will run along East Washington Avenue through the city’s center and the University of Wisconsin–Madison campus and end at West Towne Mall.

    The north-to-south line will include 33 stations with raised platforms, shelters, seating and bus arrival information. Both lines will include larger electric buses that arrive every 15 minutes throughout the day.

    BRT will use specialized lanes, dedicated boarding stations, off-board fare collection, and fast and frequent operations — but those modernizations require construction crews to update underground utilities and traffic signals, as well as remove the bump-outs at several intersections. On the east-west line, the main construction work is taking place on East Washington Avenue between Blair Street and Marquette Street, according to Mike Cechvala, Metro Transit's capital projects manager.

    “It will be a similar process to planning for the east-west line, but things will move a little bit faster since we've already established things that we needed for the BRT network in general,” Cechvala said. “It’s essentially an expansion of the line being built now.”

    Cechvala and others in Metro Transit plan to hold public information meetings to hear what Madisonians think of the route, where the stations should go and any other improvements that can be made along the line. Park Street will be the main area getting a major facelift.

    “We'd like to hear about other needs along the corridor that we could maybe accommodate, such as bike lanes, pedestrian improvements, intersection improvements, those kinds of things,” Cechvala said. “We're just starting the process so it's a good time to get input.”

    Metro would like to see “pretty significant improvements to Park Street” for the public, he said, and that will play a large role in the feedback process.

    “Park Street is a street that's not very welcoming to people in terms of the infrastructure that's there,” Cechvala said. “It's difficult to cross, it's difficult to walk along, it's difficult to bike and that affects transit as well. We'd like to hear people's ideas and thoughts about how Park Street could serve people better.”

    In-person informational meetings will take place on:

    • Wednesday, Nov. 1 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.: The Urban League of Greater Madison at 2222 S. Park St.
    • Thursday, Nov. 2 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.: Warner Park Community Center at 1625 Northport Drive.
    • Thursday, Nov. 9 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.: MainStay Suites in Fitchburg at 5421 Caddis Bend.

    A virtual meeting will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 8 from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. via Zoom. Those looking to attend can register online at

    The north-south line construction is set to begin in 2026 and continue into 2027 when the line will launch. It seems like a ways away, Cechvala said, but it's actually “a pretty aggressive timeline.” Cechvala attributed it to design work and downtown Madison construction completed for the east-west line, which speeds up progress for the north-south route.

    As for the east-west line, it will include 44 new bus stations, which will be 60 feet long and 10 to 12 feet wide. Fourteen of those are on the west side of the city where most stations will be located in the middle of the road, with left turn lanes additionally serving as bus lanes.

    Despite a small manufacturing delay waiting for steel parts to get galvanized, that line is set to launch next summer.

    “We get a few people who are saying, ‘Why is it taking so long?’ and ‘Why isn’t this station done?’ The basic answer is that it's a lot of work along a long corridor,” Cechvala said. “It's quite varied work, and so it does take two years to build it all. They are working on multiple sites simultaneously, which gets the whole project done faster.”

    “Things are getting done. They're basically on schedule,” he said.

    Full article here!

  • 9 Nov 2023 9:19 AM | WIPTA Admin (Administrator)

    UWL-hosted community collaboration to learn about policy becomes statewide model

    How we get from point A to point B in our community — walking, biking, taking public transit or our car — is a major part of our quality of life.

    Yet many of the decisions about transportation are technical or bureaucratic, involving concepts like "Euclidean zoning” and "Level of Service” that are difficult to understand and make it hard for the public to participate in the conversation, explains UWL History Professor James Longhurst.

    “While you may never have heard of terms like Euclidean zoning and LOS, they determine the design of almost every city in America,” says Longhurst. “They shape property values, housing costs and availability, and freedom of movement for almost everyone.”

    This need for transportation knowledge is why Longhurst joined a statewide organization in bringing an “academy” to La Crosse with the goal of teaching citizens to engage in policy issues that are important for health, safety and quality of life.

    Now this academy model for public engagement in health and transportation policy has been adopted in two other Wisconsin communities, Stevens Point and Beloit, and is spreading to other parts of the state, supported by AARP Wisconsin and 1000 Friends of Wisconsin.

    "Change happens locally with your councilperson,” said Sadie Kuhl, a member of the La Crosse community who joined the academy. “The class has given me the knowledge and a game plan to talk to my council members with actual solutions versus complaints.”

    About the academy

    La Crosse area citizens joined the Community Transportation Academy, a 10-week educational seminar, in spring 2023 with the goal of providing community members with skills and knowledge to advocate for safe and accessible transportation networks. Students learned about transportation plans and processes, engineering standards, interacted with local and national experts, took local tours and more.

    “The weekly classes really opened my eyes to how local infrastructure can’t just be built in one day,” says Randi Serres Pueschner, a local small-business owner. “It takes immense consideration of all factors that affect community members. We as citizens can be advocates for the changes we need in our communities.”

    Pueschner learned a lot about the decisions behind transportation design and the large amount of effort in every project. “This class has made me more compassionate to that fact and helped me prioritize learning more about my local community’s process,” says Pueschner.

    Members of the public and UWL students were in the class side-by-side with local elected officials who wanted to understand the issue more, as well as staff members for local government.

    “More and more communities in Wisconsin, in the U.S., and worldwide realize the importance of increasing safe and accessible alternate transportation options,” says Larry Sleznikow, a member of the La Crosse City Council who joined the academy. Sleznikow is also chair of the city's Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee and Committee for Citizens with Disabilities.

    The academy, facilitated by UWL Sustainability & Environmental Studies Program and UWL Graduate and Extended Learning, was led by 1000 Friends of Wisconsin, a statewide organization specializing in land use planning, transportation policy, and advocacy.

    “We are delighted with the results from the La Crosse Academy and eager to take the CTA to other parts of the state,” says Deb Nemeth, executive director of 1000 Friends of Wisconsin. “We were especially happy with the UW-La Crosse partnership.”

    1000 Friends is currently in a partnership UW-Stevens Point and, in the spring, will be in Beloit and later in Kenosha and Racine.

    UWL connection

    Longhurst, historian of urban and environmental policy, helped to bring the academy to La Crosse and worked to make it a credit-bearing class for UW La Crosse students.

    UW-La Crosse Graduate & Extended Learning provided technical support for the online parts of the course, connected 1000 Friends to local speakers, field trips and more.

    While programs like this exist in several other states, this was the first time such a class was offered to Wisconsin residents. The course helped bridge the gap between community advocates and transportation planning entities.

    Definitions: Expand your transportation policy knowledge

    “Euclidean zoning” is the practice of dividing cities into areas that restrict the use of property, named after the village of Euclid, Ohio. That practice was affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1926.

    “Level of Service” or LOS, is an engineering term that grades road intersections by how quickly motor vehicle traffic can move through them.

    Find the full article here!

  • 6 Nov 2023 10:09 AM | WIPTA Admin (Administrator)

    The Madison Poet Laureate invites you to celebrate the poets on November 9th at 6:30pm.

    The City of Madison is excited to announce the selected poets for the 2023 Bus Lines poetry project. Poems by six poets were selected, including:

    • “Land and People” by Rudy Bankston
    • “To my children in our garden” by Daniela Chandler
    • “Madison Metro” by Harmony, 3rd grader at Lincoln Elementary
    • “Trees in the Wind” by Kael, 3rd grader at Lincoln Elementary
    • “Remember” by Nola Pastor
    • “Solid Gold” by Mary Louise Peters

    The selected poems can be seen in the attached images or PDF. 61 poets applied, submitting 130 short poems that celebrated the environment, including composting, gardening, upcycling and recycling, the importance of mass transit, and more. Bus Lines is made possible by a partnership between the Madison Poet Laureate and Metro Transit, with support from the Madison Arts Commission.

    Selected poems will be placed on Madison buses beginning in late November, and the poets will be honored at a celebratory reading of their work at Pinney Library, Thursday, November 9th at 6:30PM.

    Madison Poet Laureate Angela Trudell Vasquez shared, “during my entire term as the Madison Poet Laureate, we were unable to put the poems on the buses during the pandemic. I am so happy that in my fourth and final year as poet laureate the poems are back on the buses. The entire city will now be able to see the rich creativity and spirit of their fellow Madisonians. Poetry brings us closer together, just like public transportation.”

    About Poetry in Madison

    The City of Madison Poet Laureate position was created in 1977 by then Mayor Paul Soglin. The Poet Laureate is honorary position that guides and nurtures the development of the poetry community in Madison thereby enriching our culture. The Poet Laureate leads the Poetry in Common Council series, the Bus Lines project, and mentors the City of Madison Youth Poet Laureate. The Bus Lines program was started in 2009 by then Poet Laureate Fabu. This program creates an opportunity for Madison residents to display their poems on Metro Transit buses and brings poetry before city residents in a creative way.


    Angela Trudell Vasquez, Madison Poet Laureate,

    Karin Wolf, Arts &Culture Administrator,

    Read the full article here.

  • 2 Nov 2023 8:48 AM | WIPTA Admin (Administrator)

    MADISON, Wis. -- The next part of Madison's Bus Rapid Transit project got underway Wednesday when city and Metro Transit officials held their first public planning meeting for the proposed north-south line.

    The line would consist of 33 stations, which have raised platforms, shelters, seating and bus arrival information, and larger electric buses that would arrive every 15 minutes. It's expected in 2027.

    Transportation officials laid out some proposed stops at the meeting Wednesday, at the Urban League building on the city's south side.

    "I live way out on the edge of town, and so I have quite a walk to the closest bus stop," south side resident Kate Schulte said.

    She wants to see a sop closer to Novation Parkway and Ski Lane, but also wanted to generally learn more about what the city has planned to bring to others living in her area.

    "Some people are very car-dependent, but then there are a lot of people in a lot of apartments out there, [former] town of Madison, people like me out there," Schulte said.

    Others at the meeting wanted know if the line would have access to the airport.

    "I think is something that should be looked at, especially for people who would want to get across town and make that, you know, every major city you look at has that," Kirk Hoffman said. "And I think that that would really improve the areas in that sense."

    According to Tom Lynch, Madison's Director of Transportation, the city is waiting on another grant application for the project.

    "Of that, 80% was going to be federally funded and then 20% would be locally funded," Lynch said, "and so we're partnering with... the state of Wisconsin was going to invest (in) some on Park Street and then some other people who are able to contribute to get this all done."

    According to Lynch, the city should know the status of that funding by March or April of next year.

    The construction work underway right now is for the east-west line, which will run from Junction Road to East Towne through the downtown and campus area. Lynch said that should be done in the latter half of 2024.

    The city is learning from that work on those east-west bus stops, which take longer to build.

    "You know, they have new walls and the like, and so we want to carry the same branding, but we might modify them a little bit so that maybe they're a little easier to construct," he said.

    It's hoped that the new BRT system will help the city of Madison meet its climate goals.

    Residents on Wednesday said if that's the case, the city should do more for bikers when planning new lines.

    "I think using like the University Avenue model of having bike lanes that go opposing traffic, that are protected bike lanes would really improve the ability for people to move around in different climate friendly transit options," Hoffman said.

    There will be multiple opportunities for the public to share their thoughts on the plan, including a meeting at the Warner Park Community Center from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursday and another at the Mainstay Suites in Fitchburg on Nov. 9 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. A virtual meeting is scheduled from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 8. For more information, click or tap here.

    Find the original article here.

  • 10 Oct 2023 7:37 AM | WIPTA Admin (Administrator)

    The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) announced today that the final draft of Wisconsin Rail Plan 2050, which establishes a long-term vision for freight and passenger rail travel, is available for the last round of review and comment through June 10​, 2023. 

    “Thank you to all who participated in the first round of public comment on the draft Wisconsin Rail Plan 2050. We invite the public to revisit our rail plans and participate in setting a course to help strengthen our economy and make our multimodal infrastructure more efficient and resilient,” WisDOT Secretary Craig Thompson said. “Rail moves about 32% of our freight in Wisconsin and demand for passenger service is growing. This is an exciting time to help plan the future of rail in Wisconsin.”

    The draft Wisconsin Rail Plan 2050 is available to review online​.  Comments can be made through the online comment form.  A website with more information about this planning effort is also available

    To request the plan in another form, please contact:​


    Bureau of Planning and Economic Development

    4822 Madison Yards Way

    PO Box 7913

    Madison, WI 53705


    The draft Wisconsin Rail Plan 2050 is part of a comprehensive review of WisDOT’s federally required long-range plans. When published, it will replace Wisconsin Rail Plan 2030. The initial draft went before the public on January 27, 2023 for a 30-day comment period. The final plan is to be completed in 2023. 

    The Wisconsin Rail Plan 2050 will include policies for railroad crossings, freight rail, Wisconsin’s state-owned rail system, long distance passenger rail, intercity rail, and commuter rail. The plan will specifically discuss rail data trends, existing and possible future service levels, rail system conditions, and commodity freight movements. 

  • 26 Sep 2023 1:50 PM | WIPTA Admin (Administrator)

    The introduction of WisGo will allow Waukesha Metro customers to benefit from a simplified and versatile payment system, promising a more convenient and efficient experience while using public transit.

    Waukesha Metro has announced that it has introduced WisGo, a cutting-edge fare collection system, in collaboration with Umo. WisGo offers numerous enhancements for public transit riders, including diverse payment options, fare capping and seamless connections to neighbouring transit services like the Milwaukee County Transit System.

    The WisGo mobile app had made its debut on 11 September 2023, while the release date for the WisGo cards will be announced in later Autumn 2023. Commuters will have until April 2024 to transition from the previous fare system to WisGo, although cash payments and transfers will remain available.

    Mayor Shawn N. Reilly of the City of Waukesha said: “We’re proud to make transit in the region easier through one, simplified payment system and look forward to modernising how our people get to important destinations such as work, school and medical appointments through WisGo.”

    “I’m excited to see that many of our riders are already using WisGo within the Umo mobile app to connect to Milwaukee County. The feedback we’ve received from riders has been very positive,” said Brian Engelking, City of Waukesha Transit Manager.

    Waukesha Metro is the second transit agency to adopt WisGo, following the Milwaukee County Transit System’s pioneering move. Other nearby transit agencies are gearing up for a similar transition, promising Wisconsin’s commuters a seamless and convenient payment experience.

    WisGo offers multiple payment avenues, including the Umo mobile app, which accepts credit cards, debit cards, Apple Pay, Google Pay and WisGo cards. Commuters simply scan the QR code on the Umo app screen or WisGo card, and the system deducts the correct fare. Once a rider reaches the fare cap, further deductions cease, and low fund balances are promptly flagged.

    Furthermore, WisGo introduces fare capping, allowing riders to save money as they travel more without the need for daily, weekly, or monthly passes. Once the cap is reached, subsequent trips within a specific time frame are free. Fare capping extends to regular, reduced fare and youth riders when using other participating WisGo transit agencies.

    Read the full article here.

  • 21 Sep 2023 11:33 AM | WIPTA Admin (Administrator)

    Just under 5 weeks until our electrifying joint conference with MIPTA! Prepare for an epic three days jam-packed with networking, connections, and knowledge-sharing with transit pros from both states. Secure your spot now – it's an opportunity you can't afford to miss!

    Register here:

    Become an exhibitor:

  • 18 Sep 2023 4:02 PM | WIPTA Admin (Administrator)


    MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee County Transit System will continue its free ride period into early 2024 on the new CONNECT 1 BRT line, according to MCTS on Monday.

    The change is due to supply chain issues.

    A new Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) feature that may be available in 2024 is pre-board payment, according to a statement.

    The pre-payment feature will reduce boarding process times in public transit. Riders will be able to use their WisGo card to scan or access the Umo mobile app before boarding the CONNECT 1.

    Read the full announcement below:

    Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) and its fare payment service provider, Umo Mobility, have agreed to extend the free ride period on the new CONNECT 1 BRT line into early 2024. Riders can continue to explore the regional, 9-mile route that reaches major employers, education, recreation, and medical destinations, at no cost. One of the new features of Milwaukee County’s new Bus Rapid Transit line (BRT) is pre-board payment. Due to a supply chain delay, the pre-board fare equipment will not be ready as planned this fall.

    MCTS will announce the timeline when WisGo pre-board fare collection will begin on the BRT sometime in early 2024, along with timing for an educational campaign throughout the community.

    A Preview of Pre-Payment Along the BRT in 2024

    MCTS will join major metros that already offer pre-board payment including San Francisco, Portland, Paris, and Berlin, and will be the first to offer pre-board bus payment in the state of Wisconsin. When riders pay at the platform before boarding the bus, it speeds up the boarding process. Pre-board payment is found more often in rail service than public transit. Once the new platform validators are installed in 2024, riders will be able to simply scan their WisGo card or Umo mobile app prior to boarding the CONNECT 1.

    Read the full article here.

  • 14 Sep 2023 7:55 AM | WIPTA Admin (Administrator)

    By Savanna Tomei

    JANESVILLE, Wis. — Students in Janesville can now ride public transit for free.

    What You Need To Know:

    • Starting this school year, Janesville students get free fares on public transportation
    • Previously, like many public transit systems, students got reduced fares
    • Before the pandemic, students took an average of 45,000 to 50,000 reduced rate rides per year

    Previously, students could get reduced rates on public transportation in Janesville, not unlike many other cities in Wisconsin.

    “We were averaging about 45,000 to 50,000 student rides in previous calendar years, particularly before the pandemic,” said Rebecca Smith, director of Janesville Transit System (JTS).

    Starting this school year, the rides for Janesville students are free.

    “Students have to just show their student ID card and they can board any city bus any time we’re in service,” she said.

    They’re also adding more bus routes at the times kids need them most.

    “We can capture that ridership peak in the morning with an additional four buses on the road, and we can capture that ridership after school with an additional nine buses on the road,” Smith said. 

    Edgar Alonso has been driving for JTS for 17 years. Every year, he said he looks forward to school starting again.

    “I used to drive 60 kids in the morning during school time, so I’m expecting more than that,” he said.

    He gets to know the students who take his bus, and although he’s hesitant to admit it, he said he does develop favorites.

    “They are funny,” he said. “They’re kids, they behave like kids. So they keep you on your toes.”

    Students don’t even need to be coming to or from school to utilize the free rides. They can be an opportunity for young people to get to work, or just spend time with their friends.

    “Parents can help their students get jobs, go to the mall, head to the library, do other fun things around town at any time, and now, those rides are free,” Smith said.

    Smith said she expects this year to eclipse that 50,000 student rides per year now that fares are free.

    Find the full article here.

  • 12 Sep 2023 1:57 PM | WIPTA Admin (Administrator)

    The ATP project team is completing a quick poll to identify favorite places to walk, bike, or roll in Wisconsin.  Please click on the link below to let us know your favorite places and what makes them special!

Wisconsin Public Transportation Association

1502 W Broadway, Suite 102

Monona, WI 53713

(224) 357-6748

Proud Members of:

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