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18 Guidebook for Rural Demand-Response Transportation: Measuring, Assessing, and Improving Performance puterized and manual scheduling procedures must have some degree of flexibility for sched- uling purposes. Riders must choose which end of the trip to focus on when requesting their trips. When riders have time-sensitive trips, the DRT system is better able to provide a timely arrival when riders accept a DRT system-determined pick-up time that is based on meeting the appointment time. Otherwise, riders may face late arrivals for appointments as they may not allow adequate time for DRT shared-ride service. Self-reporting bias. For most rural DRT systems, the on-time data are recorded by vehicle operators on their trip manifests. There may be tendency for some operators to "round" the pick-up times to better fit within the on-time window or to make their arrivals seem timelier. Use of MDTs/AVL can help with the reporting of accurate data. The AVL data can be used to verify operators' locations at specified times, providing a check on operator reporting and specifically on-time performance data. Some DRT systems have been sur- prised to learn their "true" on-time performance once they have transitioned from opera- tor reporting via manifest to MDTs/AVL. Differences of more than 5 to 10 percentage points for on-time performance are not uncommon once a DRT system transitions from manual reporting to MDTs/AVL. 3.4 Other Performance Data for Rural DRT Performance Assessment In addition to the six data elements discussed above, there are other data elements that are useful for DRT systems to collect and report. These are identified below. Revenue-Hours While the Rural NTD does not require the collection or reporting of revenue-hours for rural DRT systems,1 this is a useful data element that some rural DRT systems already collect. Revenue- hours are defined as all time from the point of the first passenger pick-up to the last passenger drop-off, as long as the DRT vehicle does not return to the dispatching point (the transit agency's garage or other designated location where the operator is waiting for a passenger trip assign- ment), minus scheduled time off such as driver lunch breaks. It is noted that, for DRT service, there may be periods of time when there are no passengers riding or when the vehicle is stopped before proceeding to the next pick-up. This time is consid- ered revenue time as long as the vehicle operator does not return to the dispatching point. Sched- uled time off is typically a lunch break, but this does not include the time it might take for an operator to quickly grab something to eat when traveling between pick-up and drop-off points. Data Collection for Revenue Hours Revenue-hours data are obtained from vehicle operator logs. These logs, also called "mani- fests," should be configured so that the operators report the actual times that they go into and out of revenue service. This is in addition to reporting the times that they leave the garage or other starting location (e.g., their home if they take the vehicle home with them at night) and the time that they return at the end of their driving shift, referred to as pull-in. The difference between vehicle-hours and revenue-hours is deadhead time. 1 As explained earlier in this chapter, Rural NTD asks reporters to report "vehicle revenue hours," but defines this data element, for the DRT mode only, as the time the vehicles pull-out to go into revenue service to the time they pull-in from revenue service, which is the definition typically used for vehicle-hours, not revenue-hours.

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Performance Data for Rural DRT 19 The log should also be configured so that the operators report their scheduled time off such as lunch breaks, both the starting and ending time of their break (if they have such a break), or any other time that they are formally not providing or available to provide transportation. Scheduled Trips Scheduled trips are those trips that are placed onto vehicle schedules for transportation service. Some DRT systems accept trip reservations for trips up to 2 weeks, and sometimes even longer, in advance. Others have a shorter advance reservation time period, accepting trips no more than 1 week or several days in advance. If the DRT system provides ADA paratransit service, it must accept trip reservations on a next-day basis. That is, an ADA-eligible rider should be able to make a trip reservation for tomorrow up to the close of the DRT system's office hours today. Some DRT systems provide immediate response service, accepting trips from riders on the same day of desired travel or even just 1 hour or less before a desired trip. Those DRT systems that are advance reservation will often accept a same-day trip request for an urgent trip or when they have available capacity. All of these trips are scheduled trips. Data Collection for Scheduled Trips This data element is collected by the DRT system call-takers and schedulers. For those systems that have a CASD system, this data element is calculated automatically by the system. Completed Trips Completed trips are those trips where a passenger is transported from an origin to a destina- tion. A completed trip may carry more than one passenger if there are two or more passengers traveling from the same origin to the same destination. Completed trips are a subset of sched- uled trips, as some trips will be cancelled and some (hopefully not too many!) will be no-shows. Data Collection for Completed Trips Data on completed trips are collected by vehicle operators, who report the data on their man- ifests. Some DRT systems that operate as immediate response may have the operators call in their passenger counts via the radio as the passengers are picked up and dropped off--"plus one at 1429 Elm St. . . . minus one at 2021 Elm St.," and so forth. In this case, the count of completed trips is handled by the dispatchers. Or for the rural DRT systems that have MDTs and a CASD system, passenger data can be collected electronically. No-Shows A no-show is defined as a failure of a rider to show up for a scheduled trip at the scheduled time and location, when the vehicle has arrived in a timely manner (according to the DRT sys- tem's definition of on-time), and when the rider has not cancelled the trip in advance. Should a rider cancel the trip when the vehicle arrives ("cancel at the door") or if a rider cancels the trip "late" (with late cancel defined in different ways by DRT systems), then those, too, are typically counted as no-shows. DRT systems may differentiate between no-shows and late cancels, but since a late cancellation often has the same negative effect on DRT service, the two data elements are usually counted and assessed together. Data Collection for No-Show Trips No-shows are reported by vehicle operators. Late cancels are reported by dispatchers or call- takers. Regarding the reporting of no-shows, some DRT systems require that vehicle operators obtain approval from a dispatcher before marking a passenger a no-show. This allows the dispatcher

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20 Guidebook for Rural Demand-Response Transportation: Measuring, Assessing, and Improving Performance the opportunity to try and telephone the passenger so that the trip might be provided, and it also provides a level of supervision over the vehicle operator. Late Cancellations A late cancellation is a trip cancellation that is made shortly before the vehicle is scheduled to arrive. The exact time that a cancellation becomes a late cancellation rather than just a cancella- tion is a matter of DRT policy and should take into account the degree to which the scheduling/ dispatch function can "re-use" the space newly created by the cancellation. For a rural DRT sys- tem that must travel long distances between pick-ups and drop-offs, a late cancellation may be one that is made less than 3 or 4 hours before the scheduled trip, or some rural systems may require cancellations the day before the scheduled trip. On the other hand, if the rural system operates predominately within a small community, a late cancellation may be one made with less than 1 hour's notice. However the DRT system defines a late cancellation, the system must ensure that its riders and the community understand the defi- nition as well as why it is so important to cancel unneeded trips in as timely a manner as possible. For rural DRT systems that provide ADA paratransit service, it should be noted that the FTA has commented that a late cancellation for purposes of rider sanctions should be the operational equivalent of a no-show. Data Collection for Late Cancellations Trip cancellation data are reported by the dispatchers or other DRT system staff that work in the dispatch office. Missed Trips A missed trip is defined as a failure of the vehicle to show up for a scheduled trip. A missed trip can also be defined to include a trip that arrives so late that the passenger is no longer there for the trip or declines to take the trip. In both cases, the trip is not completed. This more expan- sive definition of a missed trip is recommended. Some DRT systems use the term vehicle no-show instead of missed trip. There may also be con- fusion with the term "missed trip" since some DRT systems combine missed trips and late trips together for purposes of contractor monitoring or for other reasons. They are not the same oper- ationally: a missed trip results with an incompleted passenger trip because of vehicle operator or other DRT system error, whereas a late trip, no matter how late, results in a completed trip. Data Collection for Missed Trips Data on missed trips are obtained from vehicle operator records or dispatcher data. Rural DRT systems may not routinely collect data on missed trips, but it should be monitored if missed trips become problematic. Trip Denials A trip denial is a DRT trip that is requested by a passenger, but that the DRT system is not able to provide typically because capacity is not available at the passenger's requested time. For those rural DRT systems that provide ADA paratransit, the definition of denials is considerably more complicated, and the reader is referred to TCRP Report 124. It can be useful for a DRT system to collect trip denial data as it provides hard evidence of lim- ited capacity, at least during the times when trips are denied. These data may be useful when the

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Performance Data for Rural DRT 21 DRT system is trying to make a case that added capacity is needed, or it could suggest that sched- ules for vehicle operators should be reviewed to ensure that the operators' shifts match ridership demand patterns. Data Collection for Trip Denials Data on trip denials are captured during the trip reservation process by call-takers or schedulers. Trip Length Trip length is the distance measured in miles from the passenger pick-up to drop-off location. The cumulative sum of all passengers' trip lengths is referred to as passenger-miles and is a NTD data element required for urban reporters. While rural transit systems do not have to report trip length data for NTD purposes, it is use- ful data that rural DRT systems may want to assess on a sampled basis. It is particularly useful where a rural system wants to track and monitor the longer distance trips that it may serve and to assess the impacts of those long trips on its performance. In such cases, the DRT system should collect, report, and monitor trip length data. Data Collection for Trip Length One approach would be to have the vehicle operators record odometer readings at each pick- up and drop-off location for a sampled time period--for example, a 1-week period several times per year--which would provide the trip lengths of the sampled passenger trips. Another approach to data collection would be to use an FTA-developed procedure that is designed for urban reporters to meet passenger mile reporting, as described in the FTA Circular C 2710.2A Sampling Procedures for Obtaining Demand Response (DR) System Operating Data Required under the Section 15 Reporting System (available at While these procedures are designed to meet FTA's defined statistical accuracy levels for urban reporters, a rural system does not have these requirements and could use the procedures for a time period it determined appropriate--for example, a sampled month twice per year. Travel Time Travel time is the time that the passenger spends on-board the vehicle from time of boarding to arrival time at the destination. Travel time is a useful data element, providing data to help measure both the degree to which the scheduling function has grouped similar passenger trips for greater efficiency and service quality from the passengers' perspective. Travel time is also important to monitor for ADA paratransit systems. Under the regulations concerning capacity constraints, systems must not have substantial numbers of trips with excessive travel times. Data Collection for Travel Time Data on travel time are recorded by vehicle operators through their manifests or through MDTs. The time at both pick-up and drop-off locations is needed to determine travel time. Complaints For a transit system, a complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction by a passenger or the pas- senger's representative over some aspect of service. Transit systems typically monitor complaints that are related to service and those complaints over which they have day-to-day control. Some transit systems refer to these as "valid complaints." Transit systems may or may not record com- plaints that are related to matters of policy--for example, the operating days or hours. Nonetheless,