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OCR for page 124
124 CHAPTER 11 Future Research Needs While there is much research on the general topic of limitations in the data. More detailed study is needed to employee recruitment and retention, there have been few stud- analyze the 79% of turnover that appears to be related to ies that have focused specifically on vehicle operators in ADA factors other than wages. paratransit services. Given the importance of these services and Further study of the impacts of experience on perfor- the increasing share of total public transit that they represent, mance. Detailed data was collected from two systems as further research seems appropriate. part of this study. Using the methodologies developed, This study has identified some of the most important fac- additional research is needed at other systems to validate tors that impact the recruitment, retention, and performance the initial results. Additional study of the impact of tenure of vehicle operators in ADA paratransit operations. A general on rider complaint rates is needed in particular. As noted model describing the many factors related to recruitment and in Chapter 6, the two case studies conducted to date show retention has been developed. The model also shows some conflicting results. important inter-relationships, such as: the inter-relationships Additional study of operator training programs and the rela- between compensation, turnover, and the cost of recruitment tionship between training efforts and approaches on oper- and retention; and the inter-relationships between compen- ator turnover, reliability (attendance), and service quality sation, turnover, productivity, and total system cost. (on-time performance and complaint rates). The research undertaken as part of this study has also Continued study of industry experiences with workforce begun to develop data that can be used in the proposed mod- integration and wage parity. This study indicated a grow- els. For example, the research has demonstrated a statistically- ing interest in cross-training and integrating paratransit significant relationship between levels of compensation and and fixed-route workforces. It also documented that sig- turnover rates. It also has documented the degree to which nificant benefits can accrue and that the costs of wage experience and tenure can impact service productivity and parity are often off-set by gains in productivity and work- quality and has begun to document the full cost of recruitment force flexibility. Continued documentation of efforts and and training. accomplishments in this area would be helpful to the The research also has identified many examples of industry. approaches and efforts that have been shown to enhance Additional research on the development and use of inno- recruitment and reduce turnover. These include efforts that vative procurement and contracting provisions. This study can be made by service providers as well as by transit agencies demonstrated that workforce instability is much greater that are responsible for procuring and managing the provision in contracted ADA paratransit operations. It also demon- of ADA paratransit services. strated that, in contracting arrangements where providers Much remains to be done, however. Additional research in are paid per vehicle-hour, it is important for public transit the following specific areas is recommended: agencies to ensure that service is productive. Workforce stability has now been shown to be a significant factor in Continued analysis of the impacts of various types of com- productivity; experienced operators have shown to be 8% pensation and benefits on turnover. While the information to 24% more productive. Additional research is needed to collected in this study suggested that fringe benefits are document the effectiveness of various procurement and important, a statistically-significant link between benefit contracting approaches that are being developed to ensure levels and turnover was not shown. This could be due to workforce stability.

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125 Expanded input from vehicle operators. The focus groups Documentation of additional best practices. Several exam- conducted as part of this study were very insightful. Addi- ples of best practices, identified through the national sur- tional input from vehicle operators is needed to develop a vey and follow-up contacts were developed. However, con- more detailed understanding of recruitment and retention tinued identification, documentation, and dissemination issues. This might include additional focus groups with of best practices in recruitment, screening, training, and operators, or exit interviews with former operators. management of turnover is needed.