The issue of public transportation has become all the rage in central North Carolina – and Guilford County government has now joined the City of Greensboro and the Piedmont Authority for Regional Transportation in making plans for expanded transportation services.

 In the county’s case, the initiative, overseen by a committee headed up by Commissioner Carly Cooke, is funded by $1 million dollars in federal relief money from the American Rescue Plan Act.

Some of the Rescue Plan Act money can be used for infrastructure and Guilford County has set aside the $1 million to improve transportation. It’s not known yet exactly how that money will be used, so the county is putting out a call for ideas.

In the near future, Guilford County will begin accepting responses to its Request for Ideas for the county’s “Transportation Pilot Program,” which is an attempt to enhance access to transportation in all parts of the county at all hours of the day and night.

In order to help collect ideas, Guilford County is hosting a virtual information session providing information on the Request For Ideas application process on Wednesday, May 8 at 12:30 p.m.

During the virtual event attendees can learn more about the application process.

Guilford County is attempting to well-integrate its transportation plan with the transportation services that already exist and those being planned by Greensboro and the Piedmont Authority for Regional Transportation.

Publicly posted information about the project states that, through multiple “listening sessions, community survey input, and collaborative involvement with local officials from the cities of Greensboro and High Point and the Piedmont Authority for Regional Transportation,” the county has identified the following key areas of concern that county officials want to see addressed…

  • One area of focus is getting people to their places of employment. One challenge, county officials state, is getting workers in need of transportation “to existing and emerging employment hubs because there is a lack of timely, quick, and dependable service to key employment hubs or limited/no service during certain hours and days.”

 That includes those who work 2nd and 3rd shifts, and those who work on weekends, when mainstream public transportation may not be available.

  • The county is also concerned about providing transportation to those without a car who need county services. County officials state, “Lack of transportation negatively impacts everyone, but specific populations will face larger burdens, specifically those who are justice-involved, experiencing homelessness, or need to use the county’s public human services (e.g., Social Services, Public Health, non-crisis Behavioral Health, etc.). A lack of timely and accessible transportation is cited as a reason some individuals are unable to attend mandatory appointments or meetings to complete their assigned programs or access needed benefits.”
  • Another concern focuses on county residents who need transportation for crisis care. According to county leaders, the existing transportation systems aren’t the best option for people experiencing a behavioral health crisis – especially when that crisis occurs outside of regular operating hours and on weekends.