BATH — The city is one of seven chosen by a Texas university to be polled about the community’s degree of livability and public transportation system.
The Texas A&M Transportation Institute, or TTI, is surveying a handful of cities as research for the U.S. Department of Transportation. The poll asks what makes those cities a quality place to live, and how having public transit – in Bath’s case, the CityBus – is a part of that experience.
Given the small number of cities to be surveyed, “we wanted to disperse those somewhat across the geography” of the country, Jonathan Brooks, a TTI researcher, said in an interview Dec. 10.
Communities in Oregon, Missouri, Texas and North Dakota are among others being surveyed, along with some in the southeast and southwest, Brooks said.
Having discussed Bath when meeting City Planner Andrew Deci at a conference about a year ago, Brooks placed that city on a list of other Maine communities to be considered for the survey.
“We created a short list of communities that we thought would be interesting, communities that had an interesting demographic characteristic that had something different to what we have in other case studies that do have transit service,” Brooks said.
He visited Bath with one of his students earlier this month, and interviewed city stakeholders such as Deci, City Manager Bill Giroux, the Planning Department, the Main Street Bath organization, Bath Housing, school and library representatives and others.
“We have a good feel for the community now, between all those sources,” Brooks said.
Although the survey asks for responses by Dec. 22, he will continue to accept them into next month. An analysis of the results will start in mid-to-late January 2016, and completed around March.
A national survey, done through roughly a year of random household sampling, will follow the case studies.
“There’s the depth from the case studies, and the breadth … from the national sample,” Brooks noted.
Among the survey questions for Bath residents are, how long they’ve lived in the city, their degree of satisfaction with the quality of life there, how they would describe Bath to someone who has never visited, but is thinking of moving there, and how Bath can become more livable.
“We’d like to have an idea of how residents in each of these communities would define livability broadly, in terms of what contributes to livability in their mind,” Brooks explained.
They are also asked if they were aware of access to the CityBus, how important it is for the service to continue, how likely they are to use the service, how much they would be willing to pay for trips from Bath to other nearby cities, and whether they would recommend CityBus, among other questions.
More information on the CityBus can be found at cityofbath.com/citybus. The service runs weekdays only from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and loops around to areas north and south of Route 1. Rides cost $1, and 12 rides can be purchased for $10.
The Bath CityBus is a focal point in a Texas A&M Transportation Institute survey of the city.