augusta free press news

Introducing Transportation Navigator: Virginia’s one-click transportation service locator

virginia map
(© niroworld – stock.adobe.com)

Locating a transportation service provider just got easier with the launch of Transportation Navigator, the one-click directory that connects you with the information needed to find transportation services near you.

This initiative is funded through the Federal Transit Administration Mobility for All grant program and the Commonwealth Transportation Board’s Innovation and Technology Transportation Fund. It aims to improve mobility through innovative coordination of transportation options and by enhancing access to vital community services.

“Launching the Transportation Navigator is a big step towards bridging the information gap that keeps too many Virginians from accessing the many safe and reliable public transit options available to them,” said Jennifer Mitchell, Director of the Department of Rail and Public Transportation. “By leveraging technology to better connect our communities, DRPT will use the information available through Transportation Navigator to significantly improve transit service coordination and communication in rural and small urban areas.”

Transportation Navigator is now the most thorough online archive of public transportation information in Virginia, providing a directory of public transit, human service, and specialized transportation providers, programs, and services. The Department of Rail and Public Transportation partnered with Kimley-Horn, VirginiaNavigator, and Trillium Transit on how to improve access to transportation information on a free and easy-to-use website. The project leverages the existing structure of VirginiaNavigator and the industry standard General Transit Feed Specification to deliver two types of information: resource listings on the VirginiaNavigator platform, and transit route, schedule, and stop information to help riders plan their trips through a variety of trip planning platforms including Google Maps and other mobile apps.

The new “Virginia Transportation Finder” widget is available on DRPT’s website to support the public in locating transportation providers. VirginiaNavigator has updated its transportation resource listings to include DRPT’s partner agencies and other transportation providers across the Commonwealth. Partner agencies are encouraged to contact DRPT if they are interested in housing the widget on their websites. Additionally, a new transportation page on SeniorNavigator.orgdisAbilityNavigator.org, and VeteransNavigator.org will support members of the public as they search for transportation providers.

“Transportation has always been one of the top searched needs across our family of websites. Access to transportation is a vital component in supporting older adults and people of varying abilities across the Commonwealth so they can maintain their independence and quality of life,” said Adrienne Johnson, executive director of VirginiaNavigator. “With these online transportation-focused resources, Virginians can now easily and seamlessly learn about various transportation options and connect with the providers serving their community.”

Trillium Transit has developed GTFS feeds on behalf of 13 Virginia transit agencies, many of which had no GTFS data prior to this project. Trillium is also assisting DRPT with maintaining the new GTFS clearinghouse, which provides access to a comprehensive list of GTFS data for all transit operators in the Commonwealth. DRPT has made additional resources available through its mapping website.

Moving forward, DRPT is working with a team of master’s candidates from the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University to determine future growth opportunities for the public-facing platform.