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GENERAL OVERVIEW vide effective service gain respect in their Geographic diversity--including sys- communities. tems in Vermont, Texas, and Washing- ton state. 6. Maintaining Multiple Functions and Fiscal Diversity Rural and small urban--so that one system is an isolated rural system; an- This element was not on the TCRP Project other is rural, but has some advantages B-22 list, but our research indicates that of small urban service areas; and the service and fiscal diversity are critical to third includes rural isolated areas and the ability to change and move forward. two small urban systems. Merely running buses up and down streets is no longer sufficient for generating Types of services--including para- funds--in fact, in many cases (empty transit, fixed-route, long-distance buses), it can destroy the credibility of a medical, sponsored service, and other system. Transit systems must do more and unique approaches. tailor service to address specific needs. Transit systems may sell advertising to Innovative skills--so that each of businesses, maintain other organizations' these systems adapts to new para- vehicles, or even operate street-sweeping digms. services. The systems that adapt do not de- pend on one source of funding and/or one The systems that were reviewed included type of service. They consider the govern- the following: ment as just one source of funding. 1. Advance Transit (AT)--Based in Adapting to New Paradigms Vermont, this independent nonprofit agency provides most of its service in the The new paradigms reflect the direction Lebanon/Hanover area of New Hampshire. that a rural transit system should go in or- AT recently transformed itself by promot- der to accommodate the changing rural ing the system as the solution to parking world. Change is difficult for many organi- and traffic problems at Dartmouth College, zations. Adapting to a changing world, in the town of Hanover, and at the Dart- however, is a constant. Like any other or- mouth-Hitchcock Medical Center ganization, if a transit system does not (DHMC). Because of the provision of ser- change to adapt to the changing world, as vice at the college and medical center, described by the new paradigms, then the much of the funding is supported by the system is in danger of becoming outdated. private sector. AT is very careful about its selection of services--the proposed ser- THE CASE STUDIES vices must make business sense. AT also works closely with two states. The study team selected three case studies for review. In addition, the study team con- 2. COAST--This small system in eastern ducted a technology review of a fourth case Washington and western Idaho has taken a study. In each case, the principal investiga- unique approach to the provision of transit. tor conducted a detailed site visit to verify Realizing that the traditional transit re- the data provided and to make first-hand sources were too thin to adequately meet observations. The case studies were se- needs (similar to most rural transit sys- lected based on the following: tems), management came up with new 3

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GENERAL OVERVIEW ways to share available resources to pro- vide more service in two states. COAST has a decidedly different mission than AT in that it never says "no" to requests for service. 3. Hill Country Transit District (HCTD)--Based out of rural central Texas, this transit system metamorphosed from serving primarily remote senior cen- ters to an 80-bus system providing true public transportation to nine rural counties and two separate small urban areas. The urbanized areas saw explosive growth, while the rest of the service area remained very rural. HCTD transformed itself as the demographics transformed part of its ser- vice area. The focus of this case study was on how HCTD identified this area of growth and how development and imple- mentation was accomplished. 4. Capital Area Rural Transportation System (CARTS)--In addition to the three systems reviewed in detail, we will focus on how CARTS addresses the Adopting Technology paradigm, because CARTS has embraced this paradigm as few other rural transit systems have. The following sections discuss each case study in detail. They provide a brief over- view of the system, discuss how the system has embraced the new paradigms, and re- view how the necessary changes came about. The case studies also examine how each system meets the key elements of in- novation. For each case study, the follow- ing aspects are reviewed: How is the system different? What is the progression from the previ- ous role? Why did the system change? How does the system adapt to new paradigms? How did change happen? What is the result? What is in store for the future? 4