The Move Minneapolis webinar “How to Plan Multimodal Trips in the Twin Cities” brought a panel of experienced community members together to share their experiences, know-how, and tips on planning sustainable trips via biking, walking, and transit. The webinar also featured live demonstrations of trip planning using Google Maps and the Metro Transit Trip Planner, with introductions to the Transit App and the Pointz App.

A few quotes from the webinar:

What tools or strategies do you use to plan your sustainable and multimodal trips?

“The app that I use the most is the Ride MVTA (Minnesota Valley Transit Authority) app just because the accuracy in terms of when the train or the buses will be there is a lot better than say, Apple Maps. Not as good as getting it straight from the Metro Transit trip planner or the website… I’m not good at planning. I don’t usually plan and I really go with the whim, so it’s been the most helpful for me.”

“I use a combination of Google Maps, then also the Metro Transit website. I will usually just go straight to the schedule if it’s a route that I ride often… just to see when it’s going to be there and then I can figure out… how long do I need to leave to actually get to the bus. I really like things planned out very well. So then I’ll also go to Google Maps and then check the trip on Metro Transit’s website because every now and then one will say there’s no transit available and the other will say there is, and it can depend on the time that you put in, or even the stop or like how much do I want to walk so it’s sort of like you have to learn to game the system by experimenting and trying a bunch of different things.”

“If you’re biking and you’re looking at Google Maps, let’s say to try to figure out a route: the way that you bike isn’t necessarily gonna be the same way that you would drive or that a bus would travel. So that’s one thing that if you’re maybe new to biking or walking it maybe takes a little adjustment that you might be looking at different streets in different pathways than you would if you were driving.”

Tips and Tricks for Planning Multimodal Trips

“I am terrible at North-south East West. It’s like not how my brain processes directions. So I will use Street View on Google Maps to see where the bus stop actually is to make sure I’m at the right one at the right time.”

“I really like the (Google) turn by turn directions when I have appropriate cell service. I find that to be totally awesome to be able to have one ear button listen to music and have Google just tell me which way to go.”

(Re: mechanical issues or breakdowns when biking:) “If you’re doing a regular bike commute… what I’ve found to be easier for me, particularly if you’re in Minneapolis where there’s really good and dense transit service… I just use the bus as my backup and you can put your bike on the rack or you can even lock it to a pole and come back and get it later. And that just kind of like alleviates some stress like you don’t have to worry about “Oh no, it’s like raining and I have to try to change a flat tire under a tree” or something… And that might take a little ahead knowledge of what bus routes intersect with your regular bike route.”

How do you deal with the potential unpredictability of sustainable modes and the possibility of running late?

“Most of my people that I’m meeting with or coworkers, they know I take transit… I’ll text them and let them know like, hey, I’m gonna be late. Depending on the meeting, I’ll try to leave ahead of time so that I get there ahead of time… and then I’ll just try to find a coffee shop or somewhere to hang out while I’m waiting, or the library.”

“Bikes can get flat tires and you can have other mechanical issues, but in my experience, walking and biking are some of the most reliable modes of travel because…you almost never get caught in any sort of traffic jams or things like that… Probably the biggest preventative is you can buy tires and there’s certain tire and wheel setups that are much less susceptible to get flat tires than others… I know it’s pretty much always going to take me the same amount of time to get to work, no matter if it’s a crappy weather day, there’s traffic jams, whatever.”

What one thing would you tell someone who is new to all this?

“‘Start where you are. Use what you have. And do what you can.‘ …People always get worried about being perfect and thinking of all the possible reasons that you shouldn’t do it or things will go wrong, myself included as an anxious person. So just try it. That’s my one thing, just try.”

“If you have never ever taken a bus or train: try taking it before you have to go somewhere to get the experience… So you get used to the experience without having to worry about whether you’re gonna be there on time.”

“Setting the right expectation for yourself… If you want to start using the bus or start walking or biking and you mostly have been driving, it is going to be a different experience. The time it takes might be different or your level of preparation might be different. And that’s not saying it’s better or worse one way or another, but you might need to develop a new routine for yourself, set a different expectation of how much time it’s going to take or what you need to bring with you… Just coming with that mindset can help you not get frustrated or feel like it wasn’t worth it to try this new thing… It’s all about expectations and, creating new habits around new modes of travel.

“Don’t be shy or embarrassed about asking questions. Transit is not intuitive. At all. And ask all the questions to everybody you can because you’re doing a new thing.”

Watch the full webinar here:

A sincere thank you to our panelists:

  • Telly Cadet
  • Amity Foster
  • Chris Kulhanek
  • Jordan Kocak.



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