What We Do

TRU has been dedicated to improving and promoting public transit throughout the greater Detroit area for almost 20 years. The actions we’ve taken to achieve that have changed over time – starting with agitation and legal challenges in the early days. Now our work falls into three broad categories: education, engagement, and advocacy.


Too few people throughout the greater Detroit area understand what a world-class transit system would mean for our region, its benefits even to non-riders, and the very real path towards achieving it. Thus, a great deal of our work is focused on public education:

  • Wide-scale education through media engagement – TRU is proud to be a leading source for transit information for the media. From major regional TV stations and newspapers to local weeklies and podcasts, we work hard to provide timely explanations of complex issues in ways people can really understand.
  • The Let’s Talk Transit peer-to-peer speakers bureau – Transit is too complex of an issue to be fully understood by viewing a few 30 second ads. This program matches trained peer speakers with civic and community groups all throughout the region for 20-60 minute dialogues to address the myths around transit, what’s possible for our region, what each local community needs, and more. We answer questions and bring substantive public feedback to the RTA and transit providers to improve their plans and services.


Many people want better transit but it can be challenging to stay up-to-date on the wide variety of transportation decisions happening in our region. Few have the time to participate in the range of transit happenings and opportunities for input – from DDOT bus budgets and SMART service changes to state long-range transportation planning and RTA public hearings. TRU works to publicize these opportunities to influence transit decisions and advocates for the solutions that benefit its members.

  • Timely Updates and Calls-to-Action – Thousands of transit supporters – individuals, businesses, and organizations alike – depend on TRU’s email and social media updates to keep them informed on the wide range of transit news, events, and opportunities in our region. When the need arises for transit supporters to speak up, TRU sounds the alarm and mobilizes hundreds or even thousands of voices.
  • Transit Impact Stories and Faces of Transit – TRU provides opportunities for people throughout the region to share why transit matters to them and how our region’s transit services and gaps have real impact on their lives.
  • Coalition building– TRU partners with many different organizations and businesses as needs and opportunities arise. In our 20 years of advocacy, we’ve led or helped shape a number of coalitions such as Transportation for Michigan (Trans4m), the Regional Elder Mobility Alliance, and Momentum, and supported Transportation for America, National Association of Public Transit Advocates, A Coalition for Transit (ACT), and more.
Kristen Milefchek joined the Detroit Regional Chamber and other leaders at the press launch of the Vote Yes for Regional Transit campaign in August of 2016.


TRU is the Detroit region’s transit advocate. When we identify problems or opportunities for improvement, we take it directly to the decision-makers that can address it. We’ve met with US senators, governors, legislators, mayors, city councils, and transit agency chiefs, among others. Sometimes action is taken immediately, sometimes solutions take years of fighting. Either way, TRU remains on the job.

TRU Director Megan Owens sat down with Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist and his aid shortly after he came to office to discuss ways he can help support the area’s transit.