Fairfax Connector

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Dwayne Pelfrey

Fairfax Connector Transit Strategic Plan

Connector Bus

Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) continually evaluates bus service on Fairfax Connector to ensure responsiveness to the needs of the public. Outreach on the ten-year Transit Strategic Plan (TSP) was conducted this year and we heard from members of the public on what would create a bus system that works for everyone. The full TSP report can be found below, and in the table, each section of the report is provided. 

Full TSP Report, Fiscal Year 2023-Fiscal Year 2033 


Transit Strategic Plan Background Information

2021 TSP Outreach Summary and Survey Results 

The 2021 Transit Strategic Plan survey solicited feedback from December 30, 2020 - February 22, 2021, with 2,901 respondents. The survey was tailored to frequent, occasional, and non-riders in Fairfax County to solicit opinions and preferences from participants. 

The survey consisted of two major sections: 

  • travel patterns,
  • opportunities for improvement

Travel Patterns

The travel patterns section of the survey identified how the respondents used Fairfax Connector prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, and how they will use Fairfax Connector in the future. Based on 2,901 responses the overall results showed:

Prior to the pandemic 

  • 34% of frequent riders who responded used the service between 1 day to 4 days or more a week.
  • 32% of occasional riders used the service less than once to once or twice a month.
  • 34% of non-riders never used the service. 

Thinking about the future

  • 48 % of respondents will use the service between 1 day to 4 days or more a week.
  • 36% of respondents will use the service less than once to once or twice a month.
  • 15 % of respondents will never use the service. 

Opportunities for Improvement

The opportunities for improvement section helped identify features of Fairfax Connector service that would make it a more appealing travel option. Those surveyed were asked to choose areas that needed improvement based on their experience riding Fairfax Connector. The following areas were used to understand riders’ preference:    

  • Comfort or safety.
  • More ways to pay fares. 
  • Bus stops that are easier to get to
  • More stops where I want to get picked up or dropped off.
  • Information about the bus
  • More service when I want. 

Based on 2,901 responses the overall results showed that prior to the pandemic, comfort and safety were the areas that needed the least improvement, more service when I want (bus comes more often and during earlier/later hours) was the area that needed the most improvement (slide 7 of presentation). 

Trade-off questions were used to understand what the community would prioritize or prefer if a decision had to be made about providing certain transit services. The following options for trade-off were choices given in the survey.    

  • When it comes to how OFTEN the bus comes versus where the bus GOES, I prefer…
  • When it comes to WALKING to the bus stop versus WAITING for the bus, I prefer…
  • When it comes to bus service during RUSH HOUR commute times versus ALL-DAY SERVICE, I prefer…
  • When it comes to TRANSFERRING buses versus OVERALL TRAVEL TIME, I prefer…
  • When it comes to LOCAL versus LONG-DISTANCE service, I prefer…

Results from the Trade-off questions showed:     

  • A preference for frequency over coverage (see slide 8)
  • A preference for walking over waiting regarding more frequent service (slide 9)
  • A preference for all-day service over peak-only service (see slide 10)
  • A preference to transfer buses if a shorter overall trip time can be achieved (slide 11)
  • A preference to connect to more destinations within Fairfax than outside (slide 12)

Additional Thoughts
Finally, respondents were asked to share additional thoughts or ideas about the Fairfax Connector service, and out of all areas in need of improvement more frequent service was preferred by those surveyed. (slide 13).

Past Community Input Meetings on the Transit Strategic Plan (TSP)


The TSP is a county-wide review of bus service and a plan for future service. FCDOT encourages residents to engage and share their ideas and concerns for the future of the Fairfax Connector bus system.The TSP incorporates outreach results from short-term, sub-area studies that are being conducted in: Herndon-Reston; Franconia-Springfield; Centreville-Chantilly-Vienna-Tysons (CCVT); and Huntington (part of the Richmond Highway BRT project).  

To enhance outreach to all communities in Fairfax County, FCDOT produced and mailed a direct mail brochure translated into:  English, Spanish, Korean, Vietnamese, Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Amharic, Farsi, Urdu, and Tagolog to every resident in Fairfax County in January 2021.

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