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9 In light of the concerns and uncertainties expressed by activities that expanded the investigation of transit-511 issues some transit agencies regarding participation in 511, and to include 511 system operators and transit users (the origi- given the wide variation in how transit and 511 administra- nal scope of work focused strictly on transit agencies). That tors around the country have chosen to address transit infor- change was made because the Phase I findings indicated that mation, research was needed to document experiences and 511 system-administrator-related factors are at least as im- impacts. Further, guidance should be developed that will portant as transit agency considerations in explaining how assist both transit agencies and 511 system administrators. transit-511 decisions have been made and the impacts of those decisions. Phase I included the following activities: 1.2 Objectives The objectives of this project were as follows: · Gather background information on the overall customer information strategies used by the transit industry and out- 1. To document transit agency experiences with 511 tele- side organizations. phone traveler information systems, including costs, ben- · Document the call center strategies employed by transit efits, opportunities, and risks associated with integrating agencies, including their staffing, technologies, and metrics. transit call centers with 511; and · Discuss the status of 511 system deployments across the 2. To create guidance to assist transit decision makers in decid- United States and the transit participation and content in ing whether to participate in 511 deployment and, if so, then those 511 systems. how to do so. · Conduct and document 29 case studies on the experi- ences of 511 participating and non-participating transit agencies across the country. 1.3 Research Tasks · Outline 511 decision-making guidance for transit agencies. The project consisted of eight research tasks, divided into two phases, as shown in Table 1. The original Tasks 7 and 8 Phase II included the following activities: were changed to those shown in Table 1 based on the results of the Phase I research and at the direction of the TCRP study · Conduct telephone interviews with 12 of the 511 system ad- panel. The original versions of these tasks focused on devel- ministrators across the country to investigate how they oping and validating tools such as spreadsheets or software made their decisions regarding transit information on their programs that transit agencies could use to evaluate alterna- systems and to document their experiences with transit. tive 511 participation strategies and make decisions. Phase II · Conduct a focus group with transit riders to investigate of the study was revised in two ways, first to change "tools" to their perceptions regarding automated telephone transit "decision-making guidance" after it became clear that the information in general and transit information on 511. sorts of experiences that transit agencies have had with 511 do · Develop 511 decision-making guidance based on the results not warrant and would not support a tool or model per se, of the Phase I and Phase II study activities. but would be best expressed in more general decision-making · Prepare the project final report documenting the entire guidance. The second change was to add two new research study. Table 1. Research tasks. Phase Task Task 1 Research transit traveler information practices Task 2 Research transit call centers involvement in 511 Task 3 Conduct transit agency case studies Phase I Task 4 Outline decision tools (decision-making guidance) Task 5 Develop interim report Task 6 Revise work plan Task 7 Complete 511 decision-making guidance Task 8 Perform 511 system administrator interviews and conduct a transit Phase II rider focus group Task 9 Develop final report