Public Transportation Studies and Initiatives

Public transportation currently plays a key role in Portland's future sustainability - economic, environmental and social equity - and is poised to play an even greater role.  Some of our most recent transit planning and coordinated initiatives are described below.

More information on public transit routes and schedules for Portland and the region's transit providers can be found in the Greater Portland Transit Guide and Map

METRO Bus System Updates

The City is actively working with METRO on bus system changes including the installation of bus shelters at key locations, changes to bus routes to serve new needs, the frequency of bus service and their schedules.  In addition, METRO is undertaking two main initiatives to improve the customer experience and its route structure.

  • A new automated fare system - coupled with its first fare increase in ten years - is slated to begin in April 2020.  It will incorporate new payment types via smart cards and smart phones and a fare structure called "fare capping" that will make far payments more equitable.  For more information, go here..
  • METRO is re-examining its primary on-peninsula bus routes, Routes 1 and 8, to make them more efficient and responsive to riders’ needs.  The initiative, called the Peninsula Loop Reboot, is expected to be implemented in 2021 using in part new electric buses and serve new areas of the peninsula.  More information can be found here.
  • METRO has also done some preliminary analysis on the costs and benefits of more significant service changes - longer rs, more service frequency - for some its primary routes.  A presentation to the City Council’s Standing Committee on Sustainability and Transportation can be found here.

Portland Hub Link Study (2016)


In collaboration with local and regional transportation providers, the city explored options and opportunities to more effectively link major transportation centers and downtown with an express bus service. The study used four key objectives to assess potential route alternatives:

  • Connectivity: Effectively linking Portland's major transportation hubs to facilitate multi-modal connections
  • Mobility: Contributing to the overall mobility of the region by complementing existing and planned transit services
  • Economic Development: Supporting access to key activity centers and development districts
  • Cost Effectiveness: Making the most of available funding sources
The study recommends a new service that uses Congress St (and Park Avenue for a short section) to Franklin Street to connect to the METRO Pulse and the Casco Bay Ferry Terminal/Ocean Gateway.
RecommendI-B_Portland Hub Link Feasibility Study FINAL REPORT - May2016
METRO adjusted the Routes 1 and 5 in 2015 to improve service to the PTC from downtown (Route 1) and service to the Jetport/Maine Mall (Route 5).

The Thompson’s Point Transit Tax Increment Financing district was instituted as part of the approval of the development project. The TIF dedicates a portion of new property taxes generated by the development over time to funding increased transit service and other complementary improvements.

Peninsula Transit Study (2009)


The Portland Peninsula Transit Study was initiated to develop effective alternative transportation solutions that will maintain and enhance the livability of the Portland Peninsula including:
  • Public transportation improvements
  • Bicycle and pedestrian facilities improvements
  • Transportation demand management strategies
  • Transportation pricing strategies.
  • Changes to land use and development requirements
PeninTransitStudyGraphic
The city has implemented a number of recommendations from the study including:

  • “Fee In-Lieu of Parking” ordinance
  • Transportation Demand Management requirements, standards and application tools
  • Expanded bike parking with bike parking requirements for private development
  • Design of Phase I of the Congress Street Bus Priority Corridor project.

Congress Street Bus Priority Study (2013)


An outgrowth of the Peninsula Transit Study, the Congress Street Bus Priority Corridor Study recommends strategies and modifications to Congress Street to reduce the delay to buses and increase the accessibility to and comfort at bus stops, thus making transit a more efficient and more appealing transportation option.

The City and METRO have implemented a number of items to date:

  • Placing the signals at Brown and Casco Streets in flash mode to reduce delays
  • Constructing the in-line bus stop and installation of a bus shelter at Two Monument Square
  • Design and bid for Phase I construction (to be constructed in 2017).

Bayside Transportation Master Plan (2016)


Rethinking transit service/routes and its supporting infrastructure like bus stops was a key 'focus area' within the  Bayside Transportation Master Plan. It recommends short and longer term modifications to services and bus stops. The 'Bayside Vision' (2000) envisioned Bayside as a transit-oriented neighborhood in terms of its built environment and public transportation opportunities.