Iowa City Area Transit Study News

A photo of a new City bus filled with riders.


The City Council’s 2018-2019 Strategic Plan calls for the City “to undertake a comprehensive assessment of Iowa City’s public transit system and to implement changes to assure that the service best meets the needs of the entire community.”

The City also recently adopted a Climate Action Plan which calls for a shift of 55% of vehicular trips to more sustainable methods of transportation such as biking, walking, or transit in order to meet greenhouse gas emission reduction goals by 2050. In order to reach these goals, the transit system will need to meet the needs of a greater number of residents and visitors.

In response, the City Council authorized an agreement with transportation planning firm Nelson-Nygaard Consulting Associates for a Comprehensive Operations Analysis (aka Transit Study) of Iowa City’s transit system. The City of Coralville and the University of Iowa (CAMBUS), the partner transit agencies within the metro area, are also included in the study.

What will the study do?

The study will be comprehensive in nature, reviewing many aspects of the transit system including (but not limited to):

  • All routes
    A bus stop lit at night by a solar panel.
  • Stops
  • Hours of operation (including Sunday service)
  • Service areas
  • Frequency of service
  • Analysis of a zero-fare system within Iowa City
  • Fares/passes
  • Bus stop amenities
  • Policies

Components of the study will be informed by ridership data collection, review of the existing system, public engagement and understanding of public priorities, and will be augmented by the technical analysis and expertise of the consultant team in order to propose system enhancements.

The study will also consider emerging transportation technologies and solutions to help address current and future transportation challenges, strategies to improve coordination between local agencies, and will culminate in a set of service recommendations and associated costs to help guide decision making.

There will be multiple opportunities for public input/participation throughout the process. We encourage you to bookmark this page or subscribe for email updates below.

A bus.
Give us your feedback with the web survey

The public had an opportunity to design their own transit system with a quick, user-friendly web-online survey. Now, we have designed three potential scenarios that address the changes the public wants to see, and have made a new survey to get feedback on the suggested changes. 

Checkout the detailed survey here: Transit Study Scenario Survey. 

Transit Study Documents 

Public meeting schedule

  • Iowa City – Iowa City Public Library Meeting Room A
    • Tuesday, January 28, 6:00 – 8:00 pm
    • Free on-demand transportation will be provided home from the event every half-hour during the event.
  • University of Iowa – Iowa Memorial Union #335 Divine Nine Room
    • Wednesday, January 29, 6:00 – 8:00 pm
    • Free Iowa City Transit shuttles between Downtown Transit Interchange and IMU form 5:30 to 8:15 p.m.
  • Coralville – City Hall Council Chambers
    • Thursday, January 30
    • 6:00 – 8:00 pm

Timeline of events

Due to its comprehensive nature, the study will take the greater part of a year and is expected to be completed in the summer of 2020. Below is the preliminary timeline of events.


  • August 28  – Kickoff meeting with consultant team
  • Week of September 9 – Ridership data was collected on each transit route. An on-board survey was administered to approximately 1,000 Iowa City Transit riders gathering basic demographic data, information about their transit trip, and desired service enhancements.
  • Week of November 11 – Public meetings will be scheduled in Iowa City, Coralville, and on the University of Iowa campus. Stakeholder meetings will be scheduled throughout the week.
  • October through November – Consultant team performing background review, market assessment, developing route profiles/maps, performing University of Iowa student analysis, evening route analysis, and finalizing a report on the existing conditions of the transit system.
  • November through December – Develop alternate service scenarios, develop goals for review of fares, review passes and policies, evaluate fare structure, perform zero-fare analysis for Iowa City, research ticketless mobile fare solutions.


  • January through March – Public meetings will be scheduled in Iowa City, Coralville, and on the University of Iowa campus to review the following: preliminary service scenarios, service scenario alternatives, fare analysis, bus stops and amenities, transit facility and interchange locations, electric vehicle assessment, impacts of zero-fare system in terms of capital, fleet, and labor needs.
  • March through May – Develop preferred alternatives, draft comprehensive operations analysis document.
  • June – Finalize study, providing recommendations for service enhancements, finalize comprehensive operations analysis document.
  • Summer 2020 – Develop plan for implementation.

Select to listen to our Traveling with Transit podcast



Listen to the Iowa City Matters "Traveling with Transit" Podcast for a detailed conversation about area transit service.




Contact Director of Transportation Services Darian Nagle-Gamm for more information about the study at 319-356-5156 or email

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