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16 CHAPTER FOUR CASE STUDIES--INNOVATIVE RURAL TRANSIT AND INTERCITY SERVICES Case studies for the synthesis were selected based on a 2. Optimize rural resources--They are able to generate review of the innovations identified, the literature search, local match and other operating and capital funds, suggestions from the Panel, discussions with other transit which is a huge challenge; this ability is a key charac- professionals, and the consultant's knowledge of the sub- teristic of a transit innovator. ject. There are likely many rural systems that could have been selected for the case study because the realities of rural 3. Embrace technology--They know to embrace tech- transit--operating with limited resources and staff in chal- nology, which, after all, is all about change. lenging service areas--often make creativity and innovation a necessity. Five agencies, which provide a range of rural 4. Act as entrepreneurs--They look for business deals transit services from around the country, were selected for or partnerships; innovators apply business sense to the detailed review (this in no way is meant to diminish the transit. many other innovative transit systems). The case study sub- jects include large and small rural transit systems, as well 5. Provide effective, quality service--They build rider- as FTA Section 5311(f)-funded intercity services. The case ship by providing quality services that meet the local studies were conducted through telephone interviews. needs, ensuring well-trained drivers and staff and vehicles maintained to high standards. Customer ser- The case study agencies were examined to determine how vice is essential. they have integrated innovative ideas into their service and/ or operation and management. The approaches taken by the 6. Maintain fiscal diversity--They do not rely on a single case study agencies in implementing innovative practices funding source. Although they use FTA funding, they were also reviewed, and the case study write-ups provide ensure that they have a diversity of funding resources. examples of the agencies' decision-making and operational frameworks that helped lead to innovation and improved service. These examples provide insights into what can be CASE STUDY TRANSIT AGENCIES called the agencies' "culture of innovation." The following transit agencies (see Figure 3) were selected Each case study write-up includes background informa- for case studies: tion about the agency and its accomplishments, which is fol- lowed by an assessment of their "innovative/entrepreneurial 1. Addison County Transit Resources, Vermont-- spirit" and culture of innovation. This assessment builds on ACTR is a one-county transit system located in previous TCRP research on innovation (1,5). central Vermont that completely reinvented itself in 20022003 and is now a well-respected innovative transit system with partnerships throughout its region CULTURE OF INNOVATION and generating high ridership. TCRP Report 99 found that transit agencies that implement 2. Ark-TexTRAX, Texas --TRAX is a nine-county new, creative, and successful programs and practices can rural system that went from being dependent on Med- be characterized in specific, identifiable ways, and have icaid funding to a full public transit system with a established an organizational culture of innovation (5). Such wide variety of partners and funding sources. agencies-- 3. JAUNT, Virginia--JAUNT, a six-county system, has 1. Serve as community agents of change--They are "out been in existence for about 30 years, first as a coordi- front" in the community, gaining a reputation for suc- nated human service transit program, and now as an cessful change and innovation. operator of public transit throughout its service area.
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17 FIGURE 3 Location of the case studies. 4. Oregon Department of Transportation--ODOT has developed a full-scale intercity bus program, which meets intercity needs across the state using a variety of innovative strategies, management, and communication tools. 5. Treasure Valley Transit, Idaho --TVT has gone from a small service area that became urbanized to a multicounty rural system spanning almost 300 miles with both rural and small town service, using a vari- ety of innovative approaches. Addison County Transportation Resources Organizational Background ACTR, a nonprofit corporation, is the public transit operator for Addison County, Vermont. This 770 mi2 rural county is located about half way between Rutland and Burlington (Figure 4), the state's two largest cities. ACTR provides rural and small town flex-route services (route deviation) as well as paratransit service in rural areas. Addison County is endowed with a number of attributes and activity centers that can work well with transit: summer, fall, and winter tourist seasons, including Nordic and alpine ski areas; Middlebury College in the town of Middlebury (in the center of the service area); and being within commuting FIGURE 4 ACTR service area. distance of the two largest cities in the state (Figure 5). It can be noted that Middlebury College attracts students from as a result, it has diverse partners, including the local gov- around the world and transit is the norm for these students. ernments and the local college. ACTR, because it is situated ACTR has taken full advantage of each of these attributes; between the two largest cities in the state, has developed a
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18 partnership with each of the adjoining transit systems and, The second major step was to take advantage of the com- with them, provides service linking the three service areas. munity's transit attributes: college, tourism, commuters, Tourist activities that include including hiking, skiing, and and a transit-friendly attitude. The third step was to build foliage tours are important to the community, and ACTR quality service and generate ridership and a constituency. operates service to the local ski facilities, hiking trails, and Through consistent efforts, ACTR has now gained the nec- prime foliage areas. essary respect needed to work with other organizations as a peer. As a result, ACTR can leverage funds from a diverse set of funding sources, including Middlebury College, local municipalities, and the United Way. Local match is not a major problem, which gives the system the flexibility to be innovative. One of its most innovative features is how ACTR started commuter service in conjunction with Marble Valley Tran- sit and Chittenden County Transportation Authorities (both innovative small urban systems and both much larger than ACTR). Both ACTR and Marble Valley to the south oper- ate one round trip (morning and evening) for two-way com- muter service. To the north, Chittenden operates the weekday service and ACTR operates weekend service--generating high ridership from those students and others going to Bur- lington. These collaborations with the other two innova- FIGURE 5 Ski season is very important to ACTR. tive small urban systems based in Rutland and Burlington [Source: ACTR.] were made possible only through the respect that ACTR has gained since 2002. No other such collaborations existed in The service operates a variety of fixed routes, commuter Vermont before the launch of these two services. Since then, service, and demand-response service. The service is con- several others have been launched. sistent and reliable. Countywide service includes two devi- ated fixed routes connecting Middlebury to Vergennes and ACTR is also collaborating with the Vermont Agency of Bristol, plus two commuter routes going north and south Transportation (AOT) in its new transit center and mainte- stretching into the next counties. In Middlebury, there is a nance facility, which will be built on AOT land and colo- flex-route that circulates throughout town and on the Mid- cated with an AOT maintenance facility. This partnership is dlebury College campus all day. advantageous in many ways as it will allow ACTR to gain economies of scale through shared equipment and services, There are 11 peak vehicles and five management-level avoid a loss of property tax revenue for the town, and be a personnel: executive director, finance manager, operations "smart growth" project by virtue of its close proximity to manager (oversees bus routes/drivers), program manager low- and moderate-income housing developments, schools, (oversees demand-response system), and community rela- and shopping centers. tions manager. The fixed-route services had little signage in place for bus stops. Management realized that stops Management was emphatic that there would be no resis- are important for quality service and serve as an excellent tance from staff as the organization was changing. The source of advertising for the service. The system went from executive director commented, "I gave them responsibil- 7 bus stop signs to 80 signs. ity for results and worked to ensure they had the resources to achieve them, things they didn't have before. Once the Just 9 years ago, the system was volunteer-driven with results started to happen, then it became self-reinforcing." low ridership and inconsistent service, and was invisible to (See Table 1 for ACTR results.) At ACTR, success breeds the community. Taking an essentially dormant service and growth and innovation as staff buy into the mission. turning it into a vibrant network of services, highly respected in the community, required management skills and an inno- Factors That Led to Innovation vative/entrepreneurial spirit among management and staff. The key factors leading to innovation were a new executive Innovative Spirit director with a true mission and goals statement, a staff that wanted to be valued and successful, and a community that As soon as the new manager came on board, he cultivated desired and was ready to support vibrant transit service. The relationships with an emphasis on gaining the trust of the system was at a low ebb when new management arrived in community--business, political, and community leaders. 2002. The new director had no transit experience, but knew
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19 TABLE 1 ACTR GROWTH SINCE SFY 2002 SFY 2002a SFY 2011b Percentage Change Operating budget $700,000 $1,925,000 175 Capital budget $90,000 $325,000 261 Fleet size (no. of vehicles) 7 16 128 Fleet size (no. of seats) 90 302 236 Hours of bus service 8,300 20,400 146 Hours of dial-a-ride van service 2,500 4,400 76 No. of bus routes 2 6 200 No. of interregional bus connections 0 2 n/a Ridership (shuttle buses) 24,000 106,000 342 Ridership (dial-a-ride) 44,000 54,000 23 Staff members (FTE) 12.0 23.3 94 Volunteers (daily census) 22 45 105 Office space 1,000 ft2 1,265 ft2, including 265 ft2 of rented 27 in the form of shared space space shared on a half-time basis with other building tenants FTE = Full-time equivalent. aVermont state fiscal year (SFY) is July 1 through June 30. bProjections based on information from July 1 through December 31, 2010. Source: ACTR Management. how to manage. The timing was excellent as the director ther and listed six criteria deemed important for an organi- started shortly after a 5-year planning process was initiated zation to change and innovate (5, p. 2). ACTR clearly meets and was able to work closely with the consultant and staff these attributes. to form a new vision, which was ultimately carried out by management and staff. Management continues to seek new 1. Serving as community agents of change--ACTR has opportunities in a proactive manner. a reputation in the community as a provider of quality service. It has had a significant impact on the com- Effect on the Community munity's travel behavior. Through a consistent effort in the community, the implemen- 2. Optimizing rural resources--ACTR has been tation of credible and effective service has been embraced by extremely effective in leveraging local funding and the college, voters, business community/Chamber of Com- bringing millions of dollars of federal funding into merce, and adjoining transit systems. As seen in other sys- the county. tems, once the credibility has been established, the respect ensures that ACTR is seen as part of the "solution." 3. Embracing technology--ACTR was the first transit system in Vermont to implement traveler information The best example of ACTR's impact on the community using Google Transit. ACTR is also on Facebook and is its wide variety of choice riders, both regular and occa- Twitter, and has begun the move to "cloud computing." sional: commuters inbound, outbound (in two directions), and internal; college students; youths, skiers; and persons 4. Acting as entrepreneurs--ACTR is a true entrepre- traveling on everyday activities. Recently AOT gave ACTR neur. The agency is always looking for a business deal 40% more service to provide, yet ridership is actually up or partnership. It has had excellent success in generat- 44% in only the first 8 months of expansion. ing new business and new partners. Innovative Ranking 5. Providing effective service--ACTR has introduced a new network of services, tailored to needs that Innovation stems from an organization's ability to change. have expanded its geographic reach throughout and Attributes that help establish this culture of change and beyond the county as well as increased frequency of innovation for transit have been identified in prior TCRP service. The drivers are well trained, and the vehicles research, as described earlier. TCRP Report 99 went fur- are maintained to high standards.
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20 6. Maintaining fiscal diversity--ACTR has diverse Ark-Tex TRAX provides a variety of transportation ser- funding resources; the agency does not rely on any vices for the general public and human service agencies. The one source and has adequate local funding. service modes fit the demographics and need. In rural areas, job access routes are in place along with demand-response Ark-Tex Council of GovernmentsTRAX service. Some of the small cities have local dial-a-ride ser- vices and others have a fixed-route service. Organizational Background TRAX has partnered with a wide variety of agencies, busi- Ark-Tex TRAX is the rural transit provider serving the nesses, and governments to provide a network of services. counties of Bowie (rural part of the county), Cass, Delta, These include regional and national businesses, for example, Franklin, Hopkins, Lamar, Morris, Red River, and Titus Wal-Mart, a poultry processing plant, the local community in the northeastern corner of Texas (Figure 6). TRAX is a college, Greyhound, a variety of human service agencies such division of the Ark-Tex Council of Governments (ATCOG) as the local Workforce Board, and the fixed-route service in based in Texarkana, Texas. The service area borders Arkan- Texarkana. TRAX has its own maintenance facility for all sas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma. vehicles in the system. TRAX is diversely funded and has FIGURE 6 TRAX service area.
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21 successfully gained many innovative projects that are not typ- Complacency is a word that cannot be used to describe ical of a Council of Governments. TRAX has four manage- TRAX. Its reinvention became complete when it embraced ment staff: manager, director of operations, dispatch center technology. The agency now has fully functioning paratran- manager, and maintenance manager. Human resources and sit software with AVL and mobile data computers (MDCs). accounting staff are shared with the parent organization. TRAX also recently completed building an operations/ administrative facility that is designed specifically to meet It was not always this way. In 2006, TRAX was dependent its operating needs, including its new technology. on Medicaid funding, which was, by far, its largest source of matching funds. Its service was composed of general public Factors That Led to Innovation demand-response service in all nine counties. This com- pletely changed in the succeeding 4 years. Clearly, the loss of much of its service was a potentially crippling blow to TRAX. Reacting to this major problem, Innovative Spirit TRAX management embarked on a new and entrepreneur- ial path with an innovative spirit. The transit agency had Innovation became "business as usual" after TRAX lost its some experience in generating funding from nontraditional contract to provide Medicaid service. The Medicaid loss sources. TRAX has secured some sponsorship funding from was doubly damaging: the agency lost not only its major the Pilgrim's Pride chicken processing plant as well as Wal- source of funds, but also its major source of local matching Mart to ensure routing to their facilities (this also provided funds for rural transit. This loss of Medicaid service, which some promotional benefits). Thus, TRAX knew it could look was coordinated with its general public service, convinced beyond the traditional governmental and other grant sources TRAX that it needed to reinvent itself; otherwise, it would for new resources. cease to exist. After the crisis was averted, management has settled into Since the Medicaid service loss, TRAX has successfully a proactive approach to innovation. Working with the Texas gained multiple JARC and New Freedom projects and is cur- Department of Transportation (TxDOT), TRAX started rently preparing to implement intercity feeder service from applying for grant opportunities to initiate a network of Paris (Texas) to Mt. Pleasant to connect to Greyhound ser- commuter services and service for persons with disabilities vice. Working with another rural transit system, the agency in its nine-county region. Partnerships were sought with col- was able to meet the federal insurance requirements in a cre- leges, human service providers, and local governments. ative way. TRAX functions as the mobility manager for the region and has its own maintenance facility for its 75 buses. TRAX management reported that the agency tries to conduct itself as a business, even though it is a Council of A truly innovative project is TRAX's new approach to Governments. TRAX is always looking for new business community and rider outreach. The "Meeting on a Bus" pro- opportunities to provide "more trips for more people." gram brings the public meetings and outreach to each town in TRAX's service area by holding meetings on a bus, rather Effect on the Community than requiring the public to come to a central meeting point (Figure 7). Participation at the meetings went from two or The changes that TRAX initiated within a 3-year period three persons in a small town to 25 with the new "Meeting after the loss of Medicaid service--new scheduled routes on a Bus" program. and intercity service, which have improved productivity-- have enabled TRAX to demonstrate that it is a viable and respected transportation solution in the community. This respect ensures that TRAX is seen as the "go-to" entity for human service and public transportation. TRAX has recently entered into a partnership with Lowe's stores, the State Department of Adult Rehabilitative Services, the Northeast Texas Workforce Board, and TxDOT (this col- laboration and plan is the first of its kind in Texas). The partnership with Lowe's includes planning transpor- tation services to meet the company's employment needs: Lowe's needs to ensure transportation services to its major distribution center for the young adults with disabilities who the company employs or seeks to employ. Lowe's will be working with TRAX to generate local matching funds to FIGURE 7 TRAX meeting on a bus. ensure operating funds, another example of TRAX's cre-
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22 ative approach to funding. TRAX and Lowe's are also dis- JAUNT, Virginia cussing an advertising contract. Organizational Background These opportunities for partnerships with local busi- nesses and other entities present themselves to TRAX in JAUNT, a six-county rural transit system, had its start in large part because TRAX has gained a presence and reputa- the mid-1970s when it began coordinating human service tion of accomplishment in the community. Community and transportation programs in the Charlottesville, Virginia, business leaders recognize TRAX's efforts, as do the transit area (Figure 8). By the early 1980s, it provided service for 60 agency's staff and customers. human service agencies and its budget reflected it with 90% of the funding coming from coordinated services. Innovative Ranking Over the next 10 years, the human service funding started Innovation stems from an organization's ability to change. to decline as agencies "shed" their clients into the public Attributes that help establish this culture of change and innova- system (ridership to agency programs continues to increase, tion for transit have been identified in previous TCRP research, but the clients now pay their fares directly), shifting the as described earlier. TRAX clearly meets these attributes. cost of client transportation from the sponsoring agencies to JAUNT. Now, with the exception of Medicaid and Head 1. Serving as community agents of change--TRAX is Start subcontracts, most of the human service agencies have out front in the community, partnering with many withdrawn from directly contracting with JAUNT. Cur- organizations from community colleges to Lowe's, rently, human service transportation is approximately 10% Wal-Mart, and Greyhound. ATCOG is more than just of JAUNT's budget. a Council of Governments; it is an active hands-on organization that routinely gets involved in direct The reinvention is complete and continues as JAUNT implementation and operation. ATCOG houses the is always looking for new services to operate (Figure 9). Homeland Security backup emergency response It recently won a commuter contract outside of its service communications network for the region. area into the Charlottesville area. Throughout the rural parts of the six-county area, JAUNT operates an innova- 2. Optimizing rural resources--TRAX has been suc- tive fixed-schedule type of service where it travels a cor- cessful in generating local revenue to match the FTA ridor according to a schedule and picks up passengers who funding it receives. The partnerships stretch dollars. reserve a ride (JAUNT is responding by procuring larger vehicles because of high ridership). JAUNT also provides 3. Embracing technology--TRAX recently imple- a variety of other services, including a ski resort employee mented new paratransit software, MDCs, and AVL. shuttle from a designated Charlottesville bus stop, com- This state-of-the-art system has allowed TRAX to muter services, a wintertime homeless shuttle program, increase the vehicle fleet without adding dispatch staff. and ADA paratransit service in the city of Charlottesville. JAUNT maintains a strong relationship with the major hos- 4. Acting as entrepreneurs--TRAX is a true entrepre- pitals in the region as well as the University of Virginia and neur. The agency is always looking for a business deal Charlottesville Area Transit. or partnership. TRAX has been successful in obtain- ing JARC and New Freedom funds for new services JAUNT also launched a new mobility manager program and then partnering with other entities to strengthen with an innovative twist that is discussed in detail in the the new services. The agency also contracts with local section on innovations. JAUNT works closely with human taxi companies and tries to integrate the private sec- service agencies to help them improve their operation. tor in the planning process. This assistance involves an initial kickoff meeting with the agency to discuss the process, gathering appropriate infor- 5. Providing effective service--TRAX has introduced mation from the agency, analyzing the agency's transporta- a new network of services, tailored to needs, through tion-related resources and needs, and developing a written a detailed planning process. The drivers are well report with appropriate recommendations. Although these trained through in-house trainers, and the vehicles recommendations are tailored to each agency, typical sug- are maintained to high standards. gestions include opportunities for the agency to partner with JAUNT to address unmet transportation needs, how 6. Maintaining fiscal diversity--TRAX has diverse fund- the agency may be able to pool resources or share vehicles ing resources; the agency does not rely on any one with another human service agency, or how the agency could source. Private sector as well as a diverse set of FTA and use private providers of transportation services. JAUNT has human service funding now protect the organization. completed 10 reviews to date.
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23 FIGURE 8 JAUNT service area. JAUNT noted that although these reports are useful, the process--the "journey"--is more important. JAUNT reported that through meetings, discussions, and interaction with the JAUNT mobility manager, human service agency staff learn more about their transportation operations and the opportunities available to them as the process moves along. An additional supplementary benefit was leaving these agencies with a higher education/perception of public transportation service availability. The reports simply docu- ment what has been learned throughout the work with the JAUNT mobility manager. FIGURE 9 JAUNT Buses are easily identified and branded. JAUNT has six managers and the mobility manager [Source: JAUNT.] and operates 48 peak vehicles. Management consists of a
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24 director, assistant director, operations manager, finance Factors That Led to Innovation manager, safety and training manager, and a community relations manager. The director cites this last position as Management faced a slow erosion of its business because crucial to maintaining close ties with the communities of decisions beyond its control. JAUNT did what any inno- served and being able to anticipate needs because of these vative system would do--find new business opportunities. close connections. The loss was over a period of years and not sudden. Being more proactive than reactive, management was able to move Innovative Spirit cautiously and seek new funding sources and services to pro- vide. Throughout the 1990s, JAUNT went from a system that JAUNT clearly reinvented itself in those years as human ser- was 90% funded by human service programs to a service vice funding was reduced. This in itself is an innovation as that is now 90% public transit service. the agency saw a fundamental change as it adapted to the changing environment. As a result, it operates using a num- Effect on the Community ber of successful practices and some truly innovative prac- tices as well. Staff is comfortable with change, witnessed by The community response to JAUNT is nothing short of JAUNT's regularly gaining and implementing new services. overwhelming. JAUNT is recognized throughout the ser- Management sees some barriers in regulations such as the vice area as an effective, well-managed service that operates charter rules, but this has not stopped JAUNT in setting up clean, well-maintained vehicles with professionally trained new services for the most part. drivers. Again, the proof is in the impressive level of local funding available. As with other skilled managers when faced with change, the director (who considers herself a "conservative entre- Innovative Ranking preneur") and staff looked for other business opportunities. Through that process, the organization continued to innovate Innovation stems from an organizational ability to change. The in its drive for new business. The director again stressed the factors required for change in general business as well as transit ability to have a community relations specialist as critical were documented in TCRP Report 70 (1). These include-- to success in working with local areas. The proof? JAUNT generates $2 million in local match funding every year. That 1. Serving as community agents of change--JAUNT success speaks volumes. What can also be noted is JAUNT's has changed the face of public transportation in the management stability, having only two executive directors region. The introduction of new services and the in more than 30 years. The second executive director had expansion of public service have had a significant served as operations manager for many years. impact in the community. Some of its innovations include-- 2. Optimizing rural resources--JAUNT has been suc- cessful in leveraging local funds to bring in more · The mobility manager as mentor to human service federal dollars. Management has staff assigned to agencies--JAUNT's mobility manager is also a trans- generating local revenue. The previously cited $2 mil- portation planner working with the human service lion is all the proof needed. agencies in areas such as safety/security, training, and insurance. 3. Embracing technology--JAUNT has procured and · Fixed-schedule route but on a reservation basis-- implemented state-of-the-art paratransit software Passengers call for service that operates on a set sched- MDCs and AVLs. ule (but not set route), picking up people at bus stops. · Funding and service--JAUNT develops a plan for 4. Acting as entrepreneurs--JAUNT is an entrepreneur each county with a menu of services and cost levels. in every sense of the word. It is always looking for a Counties are required to pay a uniform rate for the level business deal or partnership. Conservative entrepre- of service provided. neur is how the manager characterizes herself. JAUNT does what all innovators do--show up at every 5. Providing effective service--Quality service is essen- local function, parade, county fair, community, and Cham- tial to JAUNT's mission. Drivers are well trained, and ber of Commerce meeting and communicate the message. the vehicles are maintained to high standards. Again, having a community relations manager is a big help in meeting this requirement. JAUNT is well established and 6. Maintaining fiscal diversity--Other than FTA, there respected in the community and by business, community, is no reliance on any one source (such as Medicaid). and political leaders. The funding sources are diverse.
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25 Treasure Valley Transit, Idaho TVT established and provided all of the public transpor- tation service (including fixed-route service) in the county Organizational Background until the 2000 Census redesignated the Nampa/Caldwell area from a "rural" to "small urbanized" area. TVT, as a result of The mission of TVT is to provide a viable public transporta- this process, no longer had jurisdiction over the small urban tion system where the need is great and access is limited, area as it went under the Valley Regional Transit Authority. as depicted in Figure 10. TVT began in 1992 as a private, This was a potentially catastrophic event as TVT lost 65% nonprofit, rural provider operating in Canyon and Owyhee of its funding. TVT then turned all of its resources to the Counties. At that time, the city of Nampa had a population of eight counties of rural southwestern Idaho. TVT was forced 28,000 and there was no available public transportation. The to reinvent itself and create diversified funding sources to service was initiated by a Head Start agency in conjunction better protect it in the future. TVT began to market its ser- with a health clinic. vices in the rural and remote rural areas. FIGURE 10 TVT transportation system.
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26 Current services include being the rural transportation simply sought business opportunities in the diverse rural provider for the eight counties in ITD District 3 [Adams, areas of its boundaries (and beyond). TVT worked toward Canyon (rural), Elmore, Gem, Payette, Owyhee, Valley, and its strengths. Management tailored service in each part of Washington]. In addition, TVT serves Idaho County in Dis- its service areas. Each service is locally branded to facili- trict 2 and Malheur County in Oregon. It is also a Medicaid tate local "ownership" and its buy-in. In tourist areas, com- provider, about 12% of its overall services. TVT provides muter service and service geared for tourists are in place. In transportation for the developmentally disabled in these rural Mountain Home, the Air Force Base is served along with the counties along with individual Medicaid trips. It also operates community. The Payette/Ontario area was linked through Mountain Community Transit, which includes 15 commuter a fixed-route service. Rural farming areas receive demand- runs, and the City Route in McCall. TVT operates Snake response service. River Transit in Payette County (Idaho) and Malheur County (Oregon), and also a fixed-route service in Mountain Home and the Mountain Home Air Force Base. TVT operates 18 peak vehicles with a staff of 42, including the drivers. Most drivers are full-time and receive benefits. TVT provided more than 145,914 annual trips in 2010, or approximately 12,160 trips per month, in its combined service area. Their manage- ment has a staff of five, including executive director, assistant director, finance and grants manager, operations/safety man- ager, and operations/mobility manager (Figure 11). The two operations managers handle different counties. FIGURE 12 TVT Bus branded for the city of Mountain Home, Idaho. [Source: TVT.] FIGURE 11 TVT management staff. [Source: TVT.] TVT meets with the 14-plus senior centers in the eight counties it serves. It loans vehicles to the senior centers, which operate and schedule these vehicles directly. Dis- cussions are underway for the senior centers to consider coordination alternatives that can enhance their current transportation programs. In addition, TVT has a small con- tract with the Nampa Recreation Center to take students to school in the morning. FIGURE 13 TVT Bus branded for the city of McCall, Idaho. [Source: TVT.] TVT had a publicprivate partnership with the Tamarack Resort to coordinate the operations of an employee/general TVT's greatest innovation was the approach used to work public shuttle running from Cascade (Valley County) to the with communities in its service area to tailor service to meet ski resort at Tamarack and into McCall. However, with the each particular need. TVT approached each willing com- economic downturn, the resort went into bankruptcy. There munity, formed an advisory committee, conducted a plan- was enough local demand for the service that a restructure ning study, and presented the plan to the local government took place and the service remained viable. Valley County and the committee. If all parties were willing to proceed, stepped up with an in-kind donation of office space with TVT initiated a demonstration project, and if the service was both indoor and outdoor parking. not supported, it planned to pull the service after 6 months. However, TVT has never had to pull service from a commu- Innovative Spirit nity and in many cases has expanded service. Reinventing an organization is innovative in and of itself. TVT is a leader in securing a hotel bed tax (in two elec- TVT's change was fundamental in nature, and management tions) and using it for transit, in support of its local program.
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27 Part of TVT's service is in tourist-oriented areas where there is FTA funding it receives. The partnerships include the significant need for both tourist transportation and commuter private sector, local governments, and human service service for employees, to the point where it operates 15 com- agencies (including Medicaid). muter runs during peak season. TVT's commuter service is growing in rural areas, and it is initiating a new vanpool pro- 3. Embracing technology--TVT has embraced technol- gram as an additional mode to meet customer needs in 2011. ogy and is currently installing new fixed-route and demand-response software on all vehicles in opera- After years of a good relationship, 14-plus senior cen- tion. This includes AVLs, passenger manifest, driver, ters will be able to resume transportation services through and vehicle statistics, and the like. a TVT purchase of service procurement using Section 5310 Transportation for Elderly Person and Persons with Disabili- 4. Acting as entrepreneurs--TVT is an entrepreneur ties funds. The senior centers came to TVT at a time when in every sense of the word. It is always looking for a many area agencies on aging are diverting funding from business deal or partnership. transportation. TVT is not slowing down. It has recently reached the small city of Grangeville, Idaho (more than 200 5. Providing effective service--Quality service is miles from its base of operations) with limited service and essential to TVT's mission. Drivers are well trained, sees new opportunities in this rural area as it is not served by and the vehicles are maintained to high standards. any transit system at this time. 6. Maintaining fiscal diversity--Other than FTA, there Factors That Led to Innovation is no reliance on any one source (such as Medicaid). The funding sources are diverse. Management was faced with a catastrophic loss because of demographic/jurisdictional service changes beyond TVT's Oregon Department of Transportation--Intercity Bus control. TVT, as any good business would do, sought new Program opportunities rather than close its doors. After the loss of funding, management tightened the organization's "belt" Organizational Background and immediately sought new business opportunities. Using its strategy of working with individual communities with ODOT has all of the transit challenges of a western state: low tailored service, TVT regained its lost funding through new density and long distances. ODOT embraces the challenge of contracts and is continuing in a proactive manner to grow a true department of transportation--looking at all modes as and expand. part of the solution and is not highway centric. Effect on the Community This program promotes intercity passenger services, connecting rural communities through incentive funding, TVT's emphasis on proper planning and realistic expecta- information, and equipment to make vehicles accessible. tions has resulted in no loss of service once TVT implemented Emphasis is placed on connecting communities of 2,500 or a new service in its communities. TVT is a well-respected more with the next larger market economy and connecting organization that continues to grow in the face of a poor bus, rail, and air (Figure 14). Biennial discretionary grants economy. TVT has recently expanded to a new region that are offered to assist public and private providers to fill gaps was not served by any transit system. This acceptance in in rural intercity connections. new communities demonstrates TVT's effectiveness in the communities it serves. Innovative Spirit Innovative Ranking ODOT is one of the more innovative and proactive DOTs as it is willing to embrace all modes of transportation and does Innovation stems from an organizational ability to change. not focus exclusively on roads. In the rural areas, faced with The factors required for change in general business as well a need that could not be filled exclusively by the private sec- as transit were documented in TCRP Report 70 (1). These tor, the ODOT's Public Transit Division is taking advantage include-- of a pilot change in FTA match rules to fund intercity bus service between Klamath Falls, Oregon, and Smith River, 1. Serving as community agents of change--TVT works California, via White City, Medford, Gold Hill, Grants Pass, closely with all of its communities and counties to the Cave Junction, and Crescent City, California (Figure 15). point where it is well known and respected. The service allows one-day round trips from Smith River, California, or Klamath Falls, Oregon, to Medford, Oregon. 2. Optimizing rural resources--TVT has been success- The service also allows one-day one-way trips between ful in generating diverse local revenue to match the Klamath Falls, Oregon, and Smith River, California. Grey-
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28 FIGURE 14 ODOT Intercity bus routes. hound Lines, Inc. acts as a match partner in this project. A The new bus service is the only regularly scheduled gen- portion of Greyhound service along the I-5 corridor serves eral public transit service connecting the I-5 corridor to the as a match for the project. 101 corridor, along the 400-plus miles between Eugene, Oregon, and Williams, California. Although this is a good practice, in and of itself it is not innovative; ODOT's ser- vice implementation process and support functions make it innovative. · Branding--the services are professionally branded; · Amenities such as free Wi-Fi and bike racks; · Connections with local providers where feasible; · Wrapping the vendor's bus with the brand; · Generating new data--ODOT is in the middle of a project to collect data needed to properly analyze service levels; · Request for proposals--ODOT puts out a request for FIGURE 15 ODOT-funded intercity service. proposals for the service, which has been awarded to a [Source: ODOT.] private for-profit firm;
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29 · Collaboration with the Medicaid agency (8)--ODOT sit systems could not, despite the need. ODOT is in has demonstrated innovation in other transportation the forefront in a number of communities where new services in rural areas, through its effective approach service has been implemented or proposed. to the Medicaid Transportation issue. 2. Optimizing rural resources--Using Section 5311(f) Factors That Led to Innovation funding with an innovative in-kind match from Grey- hound has the effect of allowing these services to Innovation is typically difficult in a large state agency, how- flourish where they can interline with Greyhound or ever ODOT has a history of innovative efforts in regard to other intercity carriers. public transit. Unlike the other case studies, ODOT was not faced with a need to re-invent or innovate. The agency 3. Embracing technology--ODOT is investing in the encourages innovation and allows managers to develop new creation and maintenance of General Transit Feed programs. This has manifested itself in a number of innova- Specification data for fixed-route services and has a tions as discussed previously. web-based statewide transit information system and Wi-Fi on board the vehicles used in contracted inter- Effect on the Community city bus service. ODOT hopes to be going to a real- time trip planner in the future. This program has allowed many rural residents to connect to areas outside of their county. Although the impact is modest, 4. Acting as entrepreneurs--ODOT in providing this it does bring new opportunities for local residents for medi- service is encouraging entrepreneurs. cal, shopping, and perhaps work-related pursuits. 5. Providing effective service--ODOT has a minimum Innovation Ranking threshold for service and is now upgrading its abil- ity to collect data (origin and destination) needed to Innovation stems from an organizational ability to change. properly analyze the service. The factors required for change in general business as well as transit were documented in TCRP Report 70 (1). These 6. Maintaining fiscal diversity--Innovative approaches include-- to local match. 1. Serving as community agents of change--ODOT has stepped in where the private sector and the rural tran-