The Michigan Transportation Odyssey is going from Traverse City to Detroit this week using only public transportation. It's an annual event held by Transportation for Michigan, which advocates for transportation policy changes around the state.
Kathryn Gray is a spokeswoman for Transportation for Michigan. She says the Odyssey is meant to celebrate Michigan's accomplishments in public transportation over the past year. But they're also thinking about ways Michigan's public transit can improve.
"What can we do in Michigan to make our state more attractive in terms of public transportation?" she said. "We know that it's an amenity that younger generations are wanting. How can we build towards that and look for that in the future?"
Gray says getting from Traverse City to Detroit using only busses and trains is difficult -- but it shouldn't be. She says Detroit's public transit system is one of the major elements of transportation in Michigan she hopes will improve.
"Detroit is the last urban metropolitan city in the nation to have a regional transit system, and I think people are noticing that," she said. "Michigan is lagging in terms of the urban core transportation and the connectivity of that."
Transportation for Michigan will be joined by environmental groups as well as advocates for accessibility on public transit. The Odyssey will tour transportation projects in the cities they're stopping in, like the TART trails in Traverse City.
The Transportation Odyssey leaves Traverse City for Grand Rapids tomorrow on an Indian Trails bus. They'll take another bus from Grand Rapids to Kalamazoo, and from Kalamazoo to Ann Arbor on the Amtrack. The Odyssey ends on Friday with a bus ride from Ann Arbor to the Detroit airport and a D-DOT bus into the city.
You can read more about their route here.
-Sarah Kerson, Michigan Radio Newsroom