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TCRP TRANSIT COOPERATIVE RESEARCH PROGRAM SYNTHESIS 94 Innovative Rural Transit Services Sponsored by the Federal Transit Administration A Synthesis of Transit Practice

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TCRP OVERSIGHT AND PROJECT TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH BOARD 2011 EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE* SELECTION COMMITTEE* CHAIR OFFICERS KEITH PARKER VIA Metropolitan Transit Chair: Neil J. Pedersen, Administrator, Maryland State Highway Administration, Baltimore Vice Chair: Sandra Rosenbloom, Professor of Planning, University of Arizona, Tucson MEMBERS Executive Director: Robert E. Skinner, Jr., Transportation Research Board JOHN BARTOSIEWICZ McDonald Transit Associates MEMBERS MICHAEL BLAYLOCK Jacksonville Transportation Authority J. BARRY BARKER, Executive Director, Transit Authority of River City, Louisville, KY LINDA J. BOHLINGER DEBORAH H. BUTLER, Executive Vice President, Planning, and CIO, Norfolk Southern HNTB Corp. Corporation, Norfolk, VA RAUL BRAVO WILLIAM A.V. CLARK, Professor, Department of Geography, University of California, Raul V. Bravo & Associates Los Angeles TERRY GARCIA CREWS EUGENE A. CONTI, JR., Secretary of Transportation, North Carolina DOT, Raleigh Metro Cincinnati JAMES M. CRITES, Executive Vice President of Operations, Dallas-Fort Worth International CAROLYN FLOWERS Airport, TX Charlotte Area Transit System PAULA J. HAMMOND, Secretary, Washington State DOT, Olympia ANGELA IANNUZZIELLO MICHAEL W. HANCOCK, Secretary, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, Frankfort ENTRA Consultants JOHN INGLISH ADIB K. KANAFANI, Cahill Professor of Civil Engineering, University of California, Berkeley Utah Transit Authority MICHAEL P. LEWIS, Director, Rhode Island DOT, Providence PAUL JABLONSKI SUSAN MARTINOVICH, Director, Nevada DOT, Carson City San Diego Metropolitan Transit System MICHAEL R. MORRIS, Director of Transportation, North Central Texas Council of Governments, SHERRY LITTLE Arlington Spartan Solutions, LLC TRACY L. ROSSER, Vice President, Regional General Manager, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., JONATHAN H. MCDONALD Mandeville, LA HNTB Corporation STEVEN T. SCALZO, Chief Operating Officer, Marine Resources Group, Seattle, WA GARY W. MCNEIL HENRY G. (GERRY) SCHWARTZ, JR., Chairman (retired), Jacobs/Sverdrup Civil, Inc., St. Louis, MO GO Transit BEVERLY A. SCOTT, General Manager and CEO, Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, MICHAEL P. MELANIPHY Motor Coach Industries Atlanta, GA BRADFORD MILLER DAVID SELTZER, Principal, Mercator Advisors LLC, Philadelphia, PA Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority LAWRENCE A. SELZER, President and CEO, The Conservation Fund, Arlington, VA FRANK OTERO KUMARES C. SINHA, Olson Distinguished Professor of Civil Engineering, Purdue University, PACO Technologies West Lafayette, IN PETER ROGOFF THOMAS K. SOREL, Commissioner, Minnesota DOT, St. Paul FTA DANIEL SPERLING, Professor of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science and Policy; JEFFREY ROSENBERG Director, Institute of Transportation Studies; and Interim Director, Energy Efficiency Center, Amalgamated Transit Union University of California, Davis RICHARD SARLES KIRK T. STEUDLE, Director, Michigan DOT, Lansing Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority MICHAEL SCANLON DOUGLAS W. STOTLAR, President and CEO, Con-Way, Inc., Ann Arbor, MI San Mateo County Transit District C. MICHAEL WALTON, Ernest H. Cockrell Centennial Chair in Engineering, University of JAMES STEM Texas, Austin United Transportation Union GARY THOMAS EX OFFICIO MEMBERS Dallas Area Rapid Transit PETER H. APPEL, Administrator, Research and Innovative Technology Administration, U.S.DOT FRANK TOBEY J. RANDOLPH BABBITT, Administrator, Federal Aviation Administration, U.S.DOT First Transit MATTHEW O. TUCKER REBECCA M. BREWSTER, President and COO, American Transportation Research Institute, North County Transit District Smyrna, GA PAM WARD ANNE S. FERRO, Administrator, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, U.S.DOT Ottumwa Transit Authority LEROY GISHI, Chief, Division of Transportation, Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S.DOT PHILLIP WASHINGTON JOHN T. GRAY, Senior Vice President, Policy and Economics, Association of American Railroads, Denver Regional Transit District Washington, DC ALICE WIGGINS-TOLBERT JOHN C. HORSLEY, Executive Director, American Association of State Highway and Parsons Brinckerhoff Transportation Officials, Washington, DC DAVID T. MATSUDA, Deputy Administrator, Maritime Administration, U.S.DOT EX OFFICIO MEMBERS WILLIAM W. MILLAR VICTOR M. MENDEZ, Administrator, Federal Highway Administration, U.S.DOT APTA WILLIAM W. MILLAR, President, American Public Transportation Association, Washington, DC ROBERT E. SKINNER, JR. TARA O'TOOLE, Under Secretary for Science and Technology, U.S. Department of Homeland TRB Security, Washington, DC JOHN C. HORSLEY ROBERT J. PAPP (Adm., U.S. Coast Guard), Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Department AASHTO of Homeland Security, Washington, DC VICTOR MENDEZ CYNTHIA L. QUARTERMAN, Administrator, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety FHWA Administration, U.S.DOT TDC EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR PETER M. ROGOFF, Administrator, Federal Transit Administration, U.S.DOT LOUIS SANDERS DAVID L. STRICKLAND, Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, U.S.DOT APTA JOSEPH C. SZABO, Administrator, Federal Railroad Administration, U.S.DOT POLLY TROTTENBERG, Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy, U.S.DOT SECRETARY ROBERT L. VAN ANTWERP (Lt. Gen., U.S. Army), Chief of Engineers and Commanding CHRISTOPHER W. JENKS General, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Washington, DC TRB BARRY R. WALLERSTEIN, Executive Officer, South Coast Air Quality Management District, Diamond Bar, CA *Membership as of June 2011. *Membership as of June 2011.

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TRANSIT COOPERATIVE RESEARCH PROGRAM TCRP SYNTHESIS 94 Innovative Rural Transit Services A Synthesis of Transit Practice Consultants KENNETH I. HOSEN AND S. BENNETT POWELL KFH Group, Inc. Austin, Texas S ubscriber C ategories Administration and Management Planning and Forecasting Public Transportation Research Sponsored by the Federal Transit Administration in Cooperation with the Transit Development Corporation TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH BOARD WASHINGTON, D.C. 2011 www.TRB.org

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TRANSIT COOPERATIVE RESEARCH PROGRAM TCRP SYNTHESIS 94 The nation's growth and the need to meet mobility, environmental, and Project J-7, Topic SB-17 energy objectives place demands on public transit systems. Current ISSN 1073-4880 systems, some of which are old and in need of upgrading, must expand ISBN 978-0-309-14352-3 service area, increase service frequency, and improve efficiency to Library of Congress Control Number 2011936874 serve these demands. Research is necessary to solve operating prob- lems, to adapt appropriate new technologies from other industries, and 2011 Transportation Research Board to introduce innovations into the transit industry. The Transit Coopera- tive Research Program (TCRP) serves as one of the principal means by which the transit industry can develop innovative near-term solutions COPYRIGHT INFORMATION to meet demands placed on it. Authors herein are responsible for the authenticity of their materials The need for TCRP was originally identified in TRB Special Report and for obtaining written permissions from publishers or persons who 213--Research for Public Transit: New Directions, published in 1987 own the copyright to any previously published or copyrighted material and based on a study sponsored by the Federal Transit Administra- used herein. tion (FTA). A report by the American Public Transportation Associa- Cooperative Research Programs (CRP) grants permission to repro- tion (APTA), Transportation 2000, also recognized the need for local, duce material in this publication for classroom and not-for-profit pur- problem-solving research. TCRP, modeled after the longstanding and poses. Permission is given with the understanding that none of the successful National Cooperative Highway Research Program, under- material will be used to imply TRB, AASHTO, FAA, FHWA, FMCSA, takes research and other technical activities in response to the needs FTA, or Transit Development Corporation endorsement of a particu- of transit service providers. The scope of TCRP includes a variety of lar product, method, or practice. It is expected that those reproducing transit research fields including planning, service configuration, equip- the material in this document for educational and not-for-profit uses ment, facilities, operations, human resources, maintenance, policy, and will give appropriate acknowledgment of the source of any reprinted or administrative practices. reproduced material. For other uses of the material, request permission TCRP was established under FTA sponsorship in July 1992. Pro- from CRP. posed by the U.S. Department of Transportation, TCRP was autho- rized as part of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act NOTICE of 1991 (ISTEA). On May 13, 1992, a memorandum agreement outlin- ing TCRP operating procedures was executed by the three cooperating The project that is the subject of this report was a part of the Tran- organizations: FTA, the National Academy of Sciences, acting through sit Cooperative Research Program conducted by the Transportation the Transportation Research Board (TRB); and the Transit Develop- Research Board with the approval of the Governing Board of the ment Corporation, Inc. (TDC), a nonprofit educational and research National Research Council. Such approval reflects the Governing organization established by APTA. TDC is responsible for forming the Board's judgment that the project concerned is appropriate with respect independent governing board, designated as the TCRP Oversight and to both the purposes and resources of the National Research Council. Project Selection (TOPS) Committee. The members of the technical advisory panel selected to monitor this Research problem statements for TCRP are solicited periodically project and to review this report were chosen for recognized scholarly but may be submitted to TRB by anyone at any time. It is the respon- competence and with due consideration for the balance of disciplines sibility of the TOPS Committee to formulate the research program by appropriate to the project. The opinions and conclusions expressed or identifying the highest priority projects. As part of the evaluation, the implied are those of the research agency that performed the research, TOPS Committee defines funding levels and expected products. and while they have been accepted as appropriate by the technical Once selected, each project is assigned to an expert panel, appointed panel, they are not necessarily those of the Transportation Research by TRB. The panels prepare project statements (requests for propos- Board, the Transit Development Corporation, the National Research als), select contractors, and provide technical guidance and counsel Council, or the Federal Transit Administration of the U.S. Department throughout the life of the project. The process for developing research of Transportation. problem statements and selecting research agencies has been used by Each report is reviewed and accepted for publication by the tech- TRB in managing cooperative research programs since 1962. As in nical panel according to procedures established and monitored by the other TRB activities, TCRP project panels serve voluntarily without Transportation Research Board Executive Committee and the Govern- compensation. ing Board of the National Research Council. Because research cannot have the desired impact if products fail to The Transportation Research Board of The National Academies, the reach the intended audience, special emphasis is placed on disseminat- Transit Development Corporation, the National Research Council, and ing TCRP results to the intended end users of the research: transit agen- the Federal Transit Administration (sponsor of the Transit Cooperative cies, service providers, and suppliers. TRB provides a series of research Research Program) do not endorse products or manufacturers. Trade or reports, syntheses of transit practice, and other supporting material manufacturers' names appear herein solely because they are considered developed by TCRP research. APTA will arrange for workshops, train- essential to the clarity and completeness of the project reporting. ing aids, field visits, and other activities to ensure that results are imple- mented by urban and rural transit industry practitioners. Published reports of the The TCRP provides a forum where transit agencies can cooperatively address common operational problems. The TCRP results support and TRANSIT COOPERATIVE RESEARCH PROGRAM complement other ongoing transit research and training programs. are available from: Transportation Research Board Business Office 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001 and can be ordered through the Internet at: http://www.national-academies.org/trb/bookstore Printed in the United States of America

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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. On the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the ser- vices of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, on its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Acad- emy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. The Transportation Research Board is one of six major divisions of the National Research Council. The mission of the Transportation Research Board is to provide leadership in transportation innovation and prog- ress through research and information exchange, conducted within a setting that is objective, interdisciplinary, and multimodal. The Board's varied activities annually engage about 7,000 engineers, scientists, and other transportation researchers and practitioners from the public and private sectors and academia, all of whom contribute their expertise in the public interest. The program is supported by state transportation departments, federal agencies including the component administrations of the U.S. Department of Transportation, and other organizations and individuals interested in the development of transportation. www.TRB.org www.national-academies.org

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TCRP COMMITTEE FOR PROJECT J-7 COOPERATIVE RESEARCH PROGRAMS STAFF CHRISTOPHER W. JENKS, Director, Cooperative Research CHAIR Programs DWIGHT A. FERRELL CRAWFORD F. JENCKS, Deputy Director, Cooperative Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, Atlanta, GA Research Programs GWEN CHISHOLM SMITH, Senior Program Officer MEMBERS EILEEN P. DELANEY, Director of Publications DEBRA W. ALEXANDER Capital Area Transportation Authority, Lansing, MI SYNTHESIS STUDIES STAFF DONNA DeMARTINO STEPHEN R. GODWIN, Director for Studies and San Joaquin Regional Transit District, Stockton, CA Special Programs MARK W. FUHRMANN JON M. WILLIAMS, Program Director, IDEA and Metro Transit-- Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN Synthesis Studies ROBERT H. IRWIN JO ALLEN GAUSE, Senior Program Officer Consultant, Sooke, AB, Canada GAIL R. STABA, Senior Program Officer JEANNE KRIEG DONNA L. VLASAK, Senior Program Officer Eastern Contra Costa Transit Authority, Antioch, CA DON TIPPMAN, Senior Editor PAUL J. LARROUSSE CHERYL KEITH, Senior Program Assistant Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick, NJ DEMISHA WILLIAMS, Senior Program Assistant DAVID A. LEE DEBBIE IRVIN, Program Associate Connecticut Transit, Hartford, CT FRANK T. MARTIN TOPIC PANEL Atkins, Tallahassee, FL BARBARA K. CLINE, West River Transit Authority, Inc., BRADFORD J. MILLER Spearfish, SD Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA), St. Petersburg, FL DEBRA GLEASON, Steuben Area Rides, Bath, NY HAYWARD M. SEYMORE, III RANDY ISAACS, Isaacs & Associates/Greyhound State Kitsap Transit, Bremerton, WA Government Affairs, Hendersonville, TN FRANK TOBEY JUDSON J. LAWRIE, North Carolina State University First Transit, Inc., Moscow, TN ORLANDO J. PAPUCCI, Santee-Lynches Regional Council of PAM WARD Governments, Sumter, SC Ottumwa Transit Authority, Ottumwa, IA PAM WARD, Ottumwa Transit Authority, Ottumwa, IA CHARLENE WILDER, Federal Transit Administration (Liaison) FTA LIAISON RACHEL BAYERLE, Easter Seals, Inc., AASHTO LISA COLBERT (Liaison) Federal Transit Administration PAMELA BOSWELL, APTA (Liaison) MICHAEL BALTES CHRISTOPHER ZEILINGER, Community Transportation Federal Transit Administration Association of America (Liaison) APTA LIAISON KEVIN DOW American Public Transportation Association TRB LIAISON JENNIFER A. ROSALES Transportation Research Board PETER SHAW Transportation Research Board Cover Figure: Bicycles and transit get together in Mid- dlebury, Vermont, as Addison County Transportation Resources provides a variety of innovative services to meet the needs of a transit-oriented community. (Caleb Kenna)

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FOREWORD Transit administrators, engineers, and researchers often face problems for which informa- tion already exists, either in documented form or as undocumented experience and prac- tice. This information may be fragmented, scattered, and unevaluated. As a consequence, full knowledge of what has been learned about a problem may not be brought to bear on its solution. Costly research findings may go unused, valuable experience may be overlooked, and due consideration may not be given to recommended practices for solving or alleviat- ing the problem. There is information on nearly every subject of concern to the transit industry. Much of it derives from research or from the work of practitioners faced with problems in their day-to-day work. To provide a systematic means for assembling and evaluating such useful information and to make it available to the entire transit community, the Transit Coopera- tive Research Program Oversight and Project Selection (TOPS) Committee authorized the Transportation Research Board to undertake a continuing study. This study, TCRP Project J-7, "Synthesis of Information Related to Transit Problems," searches out and synthesizes useful knowledge from all available sources and prepares concise, documented reports on specific topics. Reports from this endeavor constitute a TCRP report series, Synthesis of Transit Practice. This synthesis series reports on current knowledge and practice, in a compact format, without the detailed directions usually found in handbooks or design manuals. Each report in the series provides a compendium of the best knowledge available on those measures found to be the most successful in resolving specific problems. PREFACE The focus of this synthesis was on transit's response (including rural intercity bus ser- vice) to changing rural community transportation needs. The synthesis placed an empha- By Donna L. Vlasak sis on innovative and/or entrepreneurial spirit, the innovator, and the conditions required Senior Program Officer for innovation. The unique nature of most rural transit systems requires management to Transportation adapt to their specific needs, making innovation important to rural transit. The real innova- Research Board tion appears to be the change and re-invention of the organization to meet ever-changing dynamics in demographics, technology, and economic factors. Most innovators did not realize that what they are doing is innovative. They replied that what they were doing was "just common sense" or "the logical thing to do." A literature review was conducted; however, overall few publications related directly to rural transit. There are two TCRP reports that provided case studies of innovative systems and included more than 40 innovations. A selected survey of state departments of trans- portation, state and national associations, as well as rural transit agencies known by the consultant and expert panel to operate innovative service yielded an 82% response rate; 27 of 32 agencies responded. The five case study agencies offer a range of rural transit services from around the country, including large and small-sized systems, as well as FTA Section 5311 (f)-funded intercity services. Kenneth I. Hosen and S. Bennett Powell, KFH Group, Inc., Austin, Texas, collected and synthesized the information and wrote the report, under the guidance of a panel of experts in the subject area. The members of the topic panel are acknowledged on the preceding page. This synthesis is an immediately useful document that records the practices that were acceptable within the limitations of the knowledge available at the time of its preparation. As progress in research and practice continues, new knowledge will be added to that now at hand.

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CONTENTS 1 SUMMARY 5 CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION Synthesis Purpose, 5 Report Methodology, 6 Report Organization, 7 8 CHAPTER TWO REVIEW OF LITERATURE AND OTHER SOURCES Background, 8 Literature Review, 8 10 CHAPTER THREE SURVEY RESULTS--A COMPILATION OF INNOVATIONS Proactive and Reactive Innovators, 10 Compilation of Innovations, 10 16 CHAPTER FOUR CASE STUDIES--INNOVATIVE RURAL TRANSIT AND INTERCITY SERVICES Culture of Innovation, 16 Case Study Transit Agencies, 16 30 CHAPTER FIVE CONCLUSIONS AND SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER RESEARCH Innovation and Successful Practices, 30 Areas for Further Research, 31 32 GLOSSARY OF TERMS 33 ACRONYMS 34 REFERENCES 35 BIBLIOGRAPHY 36 APPENDIX A ONLINE SURVEY FORM 43 APPENDIX B LIST OF RESPONDENTS

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