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Performance Measures for Rural DRT 31 (e.g., non-emergency Medicaid trips), the system can better understand the performance impacts of those specific trips on its systemwide performance. Average Travel Time Average travel time is computed as the sum of all passengers' travel times divided by the total number of passenger trips. average travel time = This is not a measure that is routinely reported by DRT systems, but it is total passengers' travel time ÷ useful, indicating both the degree of shared riding and service quality for the total number of passenger trips passengers. One of the premises of DRT is the grouping of passengers with similar trip patterns--ride sharing--to maximize productivity. If passengers' travel times are short comparable with travel by private vehicle, it indicates that the scheduling function has not achieved much ride-sharing. On the other hand, if many passengers' travel times are long, it may indicate too much ride-sharing and passengers may be overly inconvenienced with long on-board times to reach their destinations. Balancing ride-sharing with passenger travel times is a key objective of the scheduling function. 4.3 Transit-Impact Performance Measures Chapter 3 introduced transit-impact-related performance data in addition to the more stan- dard DRT data elements such as passenger trips and vehicle-hours and -miles. These less tradi- tional data elements (e.g., the number of seniors transported to congregate meal sites) can be used for transit-impact performance measures. Since rural transit often serves predominately those who are dependent on transit, a rural DRT system may want to capture its impact in improving the quality of life for those rural residents who rely on DRT service. The performance measures that assess the more qualitative aspects of rural DRT service and that might be appropriate for a particular system will depend upon that rural system's mission and what it wants to measure. Passenger survey data can also be used, providing qualitative infor- mation from the riders. Comments and testimonials from riders can also be useful when service is evaluated, particularly for local elected leaders who may be weighing funding decisions. Addi- tionally, another way to assess the rural transit system's "performance" in the community is to monitor press coverage. News media coverage can influence (and be indicative of) public percep- tions of the transit system. Monitoring positive/neutral and negative press coverage can be one way of assessing the system's marketing efforts and perceived quality of service on a very general level. Assessment of the less traditional measures would be done over time to evaluate how the rural DRT system was "performing" in the areas of interest. There are many different measures that might be used, depending on the areas of interest for a rural DRT system. A small sample of pos- sibilities includes · Rate of use by seniors (total trips by seniors divided by total trips)--data obtained from schedulers and operators' manifests. · Rate of use by people with disabilities--data obtained from schedulers and operators' manifests. · Percentage of trips to/from congregate meal sites to total trips--data obtained from sched- ulers and operators' manifests. · Percentage medical trips (total trips to/from medical facilities divided by total trips)--data obtained from schedulers and operators' manifests. · Number of employment trips provided per day--data obtained from schedulers and oper- ators' manifests. The FTA Section 5316 Program (Job Access and Reverse Commute)
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32 Guidebook for Rural Demand-Response Transportation: Measuring, Assessing, and Improving Performance requires that the actual or estimated number of jobs that can be accessed be reported on an annual basis. Employment trips per day on the DRT service is an indicator of how many jobs are being accessed on an ongoing basis on this service, which is, in turn, indicative of the importance of the transportation service to the local economy. For purposes of this measure, a round trip to and from an employment site would be counted as one job accessed. · Number of individuals using DRT for independent living (e.g., individuals using service to access medical services, counseling, education, employment, grocery shopping, personal business such as banking, and other basic life needs--essentially the customer base of rural DRT service--can be an important measure in demonstrating the value of the service in community). Total unduplicated individuals served per month is a suggested measure-- with data obtained from schedulers. This could also be measured on a per-capita basis (i.e., percent of population relying on rural DRT on a regular basis). · Passenger feedback on service quality--for example, ratings on items such as service relia- bility, timeliness of service, helpfulness of scheduling staff, drivers--data obtained from passenger survey data as well as individual compliments and complaints received on an ongoing basis.