Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky

System Redesign Study

Fort Wright

The Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky (TANK) sought an update to its Transit Network Update Study, following its ridership rate declining 9.7% in 2013 and key stakeholders questioning the efficacy of the existing route network and service structure, which was predicated primarily on accommodating peak-hour, peak-direction commuter travel between the Northern Kentucky service area and the City of Cincinnati. To avoid jeopardizing funding from its constituent counties, TANK evolved its visioning update process to be more of a near-term, “snapshot” operational assessment to help re-imagine the existing network structure.


Benesch assessed all TANK routes and utilized APC data to support the analysis of individual route utilization and effectiveness. It was determined that the TANK routes lacked specific identity and duplicated service, and the network was too sprawled and confusing to use. Therefore, proposed modifications and improvements focused on enhancing system efficiency and simplifying the extensive radial network.


Benesch provided two key recommendations, which involved moving the distant park-and-ride facilities to locations closer to the core network and establishing suburban transfer hubs to help improve frequency and connectivity among the routes. The modified routes were then reconfigured to serve these newly-located nodes with the saved resources being reapplied to enhance frequency on key routes. The redesign effort resulted in the development of a new network comprised of four key TANK service types: Frequent Service, Neighborhood Service, Jobs Express and Commute Express. Additionally, total routes were reduced from 27 to 18, which reduced both service hours and peak vehicle requirements, thereby reducing anticipated operating costs.

Project highlights

  • Fast growth in three-county service area
  • Declining fixed-route ridership
  • Sprawled network with long, meandering routes
  • Funding partners’ concern for transit viability