MnDOT launches greater Minnesota trip planner for public transit

The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) has launched a multimodal trip planner for rural Minnesota. 

The goal of this pilot project is to bring trip planning and payment technology for daily trips to southern and western Minnesota, including Rochester and Mankato, a news release from MnDOT said. 

People can download the free phone app Transit to plan for and — in some cases — pay for public transit and intercity bus trips. Travel and route information went live on the app on Wednesday, March 1.  

"This pilot with Transit app focuses on rural areas because this technology has not yet been made available outside of Minnesota’s big cities," said Elliott McFadden, who serves as MnDOT’s Greater Minnesota Shared Mobility program coordinator. "The project will be the first to bring the latest technology to make it easier to plan and take trips in many communities in Greater Minnesota."

This pilot will run through April 2024 and is funded by grants from the Federal Transit Administration at a cost of $1.9 million. Researchers with the University of Minnesota will study this pilot project to help determine if the technology should be scaled to the rest of the state. 

The app Transit is used in more than 300 cities around the world. It allows users to see route and travel options for public transit and connecting services, with some transit companies offering in-app ticketing so people can pay for their fares electronically. 

Minnesota transit agencies participating in pilot project

The following are the transit agencies participating in the pilot project: 

  • Brown County Heartland Express
  • Central Community Transit
  • Jefferson Lines (by mid-March)
  • Land to Air
  • Morris Transit*
  • Mankato Transit System*
  • Minnesota River Valley Transit
  • Prairie Five RIDES
  • Rochester Public Transit (by the end of March)
  • Rolling Hills Transit*
  • SMART*
  • The Otter Express*
  • Tri-CAP*
  • TRUE Transit
  • UCAP Community Transit

The transit agencies listed above with asterisks have in-app ticketing available.