How the UTA Flipped Public Opinion on Public Transit

The Atlantic looks at how the Utah Transit Authority was able to sway public opinion and turn public transit into a popular alternative.

The article highlights the unorthodox strategy employed by UTA – targeting people who don’t use public transit as a way to move the needle.

The agency and its advocates pointed out that TRAX ridership saves 29,000 trips — or two full freeway lanes — in the Interstate-15 corridor every day. Road-reliant businesses like UPS ran ads explaining that FrontLines would help residents get their packages quicker by reducing traffic.

UTA also worked hard to create what Meyer calls an “inter-local agreement” among cities up and down the Salt Lake Valley corridor. Transit officials explained the basic infrastructure that would be put in place in every city and told local officials that they would have to pay for any extra amenities themselves. That early clarity prevented cities from withholding support unless they got a better deal than others.