Four presentations present a range of thinking, doing, and ongoing issues in the world of paratransit.
Shaping the New Future of Paratransit: Agenda for Research and Practice
John Nelson, University of AberdeenShow Abstract
Corinne Mulley, University of Sydney
The TRB-sponsored International Paratransit Conference, “Shaping the New Future of Paratransit”, held in Monterey in October 2014 represented the first coming together of the international paratransit community in conference format since 1997. The conference itself drew a worldwide attendance from a cross-section of operators, technology providers, policymakers and researchers. The presentations from the conference were organised around a number of themes which, when brought together, represented a substantial manifesto for the flexible and demand responsive transport community. This paper looks at a number of these themes with an analysis to highlight the key points and common strands of worldwide experience
Developing a Method for Assessing National Demand-Response Transit Level of Service
Ranjit Prasad Godavarthy, Upper Great Plains Transportation InstituteShow Abstract
Jeremy Mattson, Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute
Del Peterson, North Dakota State University
Jill Hough, North Dakota State University
Demand-response transit service is a major source of mobility for older adults and people with disabilities in both urban and rural areas. Federal Transit Administration (FTA) grant programs under sections 5307, 5310, and 5311 all have components designed to increase the availability of paratransit or demand-response transit service. However, there is little information in the National Transit Database (NTD) or elsewhere about the extent of demand-response transit service coverage across the country. Data for service areas, service times, and other service characteristics are limited. Therefore, it is a challenge to identify gaps in service and unmet needs.
The primary objective of the study is to fill the data gaps to the available NTD database to effectively determine the demand-response transit level of service. This study aims to develop a standard method for determining the demand-response transit service level of coverage in the country such that geographic areas which do not have sufficient demand-response transit service can be identified. A survey questionnaire tool was developed to gather important information from demand-response transit operators, such as service span, service area, and service eligibility. The survey tool was tested in two states: North Dakota, and Florida. Recommendations were provided for deploying the survey nationwide and gathering the necessary service details for determining the national demand-response transit level of service. This study also developed a priority ranking procedure to identify where the greatest needs for service improvements exist in a state.
Spatial and Cost Analysis for ADA Paratransit Eligibility Assessment Sites
Jessica Hector-Hsu, Regional Transportation Authority (Chicago)Show Abstract
Hersh Singh, Regional Transportation Authority (Chicago)
Public transit agencies regularly face operational decisions about how to provide high-quality customer service while minimizing agency cost. The number of people eligible for ADA paratransit in the United States has increased significantly in the last several years, and there has been a corresponding nationwide increase in ridership. ADA paratransit is the most costly type of transit service for agencies to operate, so agencies need to ensure that eligible participants receive service while enabling those who are not eligible to access other forms of fixed-route transit. The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) in Chicago requires individuals interested in using ADA paratransit service to apply and participate in in-person interviews and assessments, after which agency staff make an eligibility determination. The RTA provides free transportation for applicants to one of five assessment sites throughout the six-county region. In 2014, the RTA Mobility Services Department embarked on an initiative to expand services available to applicants while reducing the number of assessment sites. A team of RTA staff conducted analysis to determine the optimal number of sites and location of sites based on travel time and applicant demand throughout the region. The RTA then prepared a spreadsheet model to compare the cost of different operating models based on the combined cost of site operations and applicant transportation. The results indicated that two sites located in Cook County would provide the lowest agency cost. This research finding was a key factor in the RTA Mobility Services Department’s decision to implement a two-site model by mid-2016.
Heuristic for Solving Dial-a-Ride Problems with Transfers
Chung-Wei Shen, National Taiwan Ocean UniversityShow Abstract
Luca Quadrifoglio, Texas A&M University
In this paper, we present a sequential insertion heuristic to solve a zonal dial-a-ride problem with transfers. Transfers allow for an inter-zonal request to be served by two vehicles: one vehicle brings the customer to the pick-up location and drops them off at a zone boundary transfer terminal, and another vehicle carries the customer to the delivery location. The proposed algorithm was tested on generated instances of 5,000 requests in a large geographic area covering several neighboring cities. We compared the performance of this transfer deign to other vehicle dispatching methods. The computational results show that this transfer design could achieve significant savings in total travel miles and empty miles, while also increasing a customer’s average ride time and vehicle wait time.