June 21 - The Public Transportation Committee of the Outer Banks Transportation Task Force focused on local transportation needs and challenges at their meeting this week.
The Committee’s mission is to research the feasibility of public transportation on the Outer Banks. Members have reviewed public transportation studies compiled by the Institute for Transportation Research at NC State and also from the Ken Hosen Group as well as others. The Committee has also discussed data compiled from a recent Dare County Visitors Bureau survey that showed visitors’ overwhelming support for public transportation and also support for paying to use such a system.
The focus of this month’s meeting turned to local residents’ use of a public transportation system. It was noted that over 2,000 foreign students have been logged in with Pathways International, not including students working in Hatteras and Corolla. They arrive with no vehicles and are likely to be given a bicycle to use for travel, which on many roads on the Outer Banks present not only a safety concern to the bicyclist but also the traveling public. Committee members expressed concerns about those in the workforce that do not have reliable transportation or in many cases, even a driver’s license. They discussed the benefits of some type of public transportation to support the recruitment and retention of workers, especially with fuel prices at an all-time high. They also discussed the benefits of public transportation to all of Dare County’s citizens– when workers have access to reliable transportation, businesses can thrive and expand thus supporting a healthy economy and access to a variety of services.
The Public Transportation Committee will be working over the next month on the distribution of an Employer Needs Assessment to obtain hard data from businesses on transportation issues. For more information about the Task Force, go to www.obtransportation.org.