Emphasis in this session is on the need for data (e.g., National Transit Database and the General Transit Feed Specification) and driven decisions in the planning and design of public transit systems that serve rural and intercity markets.
Estimating Ridership of Rural Demand-Response Transit Services for the General Public
Jeremy Mattson, Upper Great Plains Transportation InstituteShow Abstract
The general objective of this study is to develop a model for estimating demand for rural demand-response transit services for the general public. Lack of data for demand-response service characteristics and geographic coverage has limited the estimation of such models. This study developed and estimated two models. The first was estimated using data from the 2013 rural National Transit Database, and the second was estimated with more detailed service data collected from surveys of transit agencies. Results showed that in addition to total population, demographic characteristics are important. Ridership was found to significantly increase when the percentage of the population comprised of older adults or people without access to a vehicle increased. Both models showed a negative effect of fares on ridership. The second model analyzed the impacts of service span and reservation requirements on ridership. Results showed that providing more days of service had an expected positive impact on ridership, while allowing users to reserve rides on shorter notice also had a significant positive effect. Compared to previous research, the inclusion of a greater number of variables and more specific service information improved the performance of the models.
Exploring the Relationship Between Performance Measures and Trip Type for Transit Systems Serving Rural U.S. Communities
Kai Kai Monast, Institute for Transportation Research and EducationShow Abstract
Mathew Palmer, Institute for Transportation Research and Education
This research considers how using the rural National Transit Database (NTD) to determine performance-based allocations may influence rural transit system service delivery. Rural public transportation providers receive subsidies that support both consolidated human service trips and general public transportation. Due to budget constraints and the public expectation of providing greater production and cost-efficiency with the same or decreasing resources, the use of performance measures in rural public transportation subsidy allocation formula is gaining traction in policy circles. This research examines rural National Transit Database statistics to determine whether there is a relationship between standard transit system performance measures (productivity and cost-efficiency) and the percentage of trips that service the general public in rural areas. Our analysis shows that higher percentages of general public trips are associated with higher system productivity and cost-efficiency. This research supports larger policy concerns as to whether public policies incentivizing higher levels of system performance may have the unintended consequence of encouraging rural transit systems to reduce human service trips; in so doing, costing more to the public than through sponsored NTD trips for human service agencies. The research does not claim that transit systems currently make these sacrifices, rather that funding tied to performance measures using rural National Transit Database statistics introduces an incentive to do so and ultimately costs the public more when considering the full social costs and benefits of rural public transportation.
Research of Viable Attributes and Potential to Integrate Curbside Intercity Buses
Marcia Scott, University of DelawareShow Abstract
Christopher Kelly, University of Delaware
Eileen Collins, State of Alaska
Jerome Lewis, University of Delaware
Ardeshir Faghri, University of Delaware
Mingxin Li, University of Delaware
Outpacing air and rail transportation, the curbside intercity bus industry now represents the fastest growing mode of intercity travel in the United States. The paper highlights the industry’s unresolved transportation policy issues associated with its unprecedented growth—particularly within the Northeast Corridor (NEC). Follow-up on several topics of research was suggested, including the need to plan for and invest in intermodal transportation facilities that serve all methods of transportation and facilitate interconnections among all modes. Incorporating multiple modes of transportation—including curbside intercity buses—into transportation facility master plans can further leverage public and private investment/resources to better meet the needs of all transportation users. While barriers to intermodalism exist, paper findings suggest that development and investment in intermodal transportation facilities—which serve as a hub for all modes of transportation, including curbside intercity buses—will promote a more integrated and sustainable transportation system. Through a case study approach, viable attributes of successful intermodal facilities in the NEC were identified. A matrix was developed to provide a planning framework and consider viable attributes of successful intermodal facilities. This planning framework approach is applied to Washington, D.C.’s Union Station, which is identified as a model intermodal transportation facility.
Using Open Data on Health Care Services and Data Standards for Transit and Inter-city Bus Trip Planning for Statewide Rides to Wellness Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
Lawrence Harman, Bridgewater State University
Uma Shama, Bridgewater State University
Practices on Preparing GTFS Feed Data for Rural and Small Urban Transit Systems
Todd Hansen, Texas A&M Transportation Institute