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TRANSPORTAT ION RESEARCH BOARD WASHINGTON, D.C. 2009 www.TRB.org T R A N S I T C O O P E R A T I V E R E S E A R C H P R O G R A M TCRP REPORT 136 Research sponsored by the Federal Transit Administration in cooperation with the Transit Development Corporation Subject Areas Public Transit Guidebook for Rural Demand-Response Transportation: Measuring, Assessing, and Improving Performance Elizabeth Ellis KFH GROUP, INC. Bethesda, MD I N A S S O C I A T I O N W I T H Brian McCollom MCCOLLOM MANAGEMENT CONSULTING, INC. Darnestown, MD
TCRP REPORT 136 Project B-31A ISSN 1073-4872 ISBN 978-0-309-11807-1 Library of Congress Control Number 2009939007 Â© 2009 Transportation Research Board COPYRIGHT PERMISSION Authors herein are responsible for the authenticity of their materials and for obtaining written permissions from publishers or persons who own the copyright to any previously published or copyrighted material used herein. Cooperative Research Programs (CRP) grants permission to reproduce material in this publication for classroom and not-for-profit purposes. Permission is given with the understanding that none of the material will be used to imply TRB, AASHTO, FAA, FHWA, FMCSA, FTA, or Transit Development Corporation endorsement of a particular product, method, or practice. It is expected that those reproducing the material in this document for educational and not-for-profit uses will give appropriate acknowledgment of the source of any reprinted or reproduced material. For other uses of the material, request permission from CRP. NOTICE The project that is the subject of this report was a part of the Transit Cooperative Research Program conducted by the Transportation Research Board with the approval of the Governing Board of the National Research Council. Such approval reflects the Governing Boardâs judgment that the project concerned is appropriate with respect to both the purposes and resources of the National Research Council. The members of the technical advisory panel selected to monitor this project and to review this report were chosen for recognized scholarly competence and with due consideration for the balance of disciplines appropriate to the project. The opinions and conclusions expressed or implied are those of the research agency that performed the research, and while they have been accepted as appropriate by the technical panel, they are not necessarily those of the Transportation Research Board, the National Research Council, the Transit Development Corporation, or the Federal Transit Administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation. Each report is reviewed and accepted for publication by the technical panel according to procedures established and monitored by the Transportation Research Board Executive Committee and the Governing Board of the National Research Council. The Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, the National Research Council, the Transit Development Corporation, and the Federal Transit Administration (sponsor of the Transit Cooperative Research Program) do not endorse products or manufacturers. Trade or manufacturersâ names appear herein solely because they are considered essential to the clarity and completeness of the project reporting. TRANSIT COOPERATIVE RESEARCH PROGRAM The nationâs growth and the need to meet mobility, environmental, and energy objectives place demands on public transit systems. Current systems, some of which are old and in need of upgrading, must expand service area, increase service frequency, and improve efficiency to serve these demands. Research is necessary to solve operating problems, to adapt appropriate new technologies from other industries, and to intro- duce innovations into the transit industry. The Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) serves as one of the principal means by which the transit industry can develop innovative near-term solutions to meet demands placed on it. The need for TCRP was originally identified in TRB Special Report 213âResearch for Public Transit: New Directions, published in 1987 and based on a study sponsored by the Urban Mass Transportation Administrationânow the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). A report by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), Transportation 2000, also recognized the need for local, problem- solving research. TCRP, modeled after the longstanding and success- ful National Cooperative Highway Research Program, undertakes research and other technical activities in response to the needs of tran- sit service providers. The scope of TCRP includes a variety of transit research fields including planning, service configuration, equipment, facilities, operations, human resources, maintenance, policy, and administrative practices. TCRP was established under FTA sponsorship in July 1992. Pro- posed by the U.S. Department of Transportation, TCRP was autho- rized as part of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA). On May 13, 1992, a memorandum agreement out- lining TCRP operating procedures was executed by the three cooper- ating organizations: FTA, the National Academies, acting through the Transportation Research Board (TRB); and the Transit Development Corporation, Inc. (TDC), a nonprofit educational and research orga- nization established by APTA. TDC is responsible for forming the independent governing board, designated as the TCRP Oversight and Project Selection (TOPS) Committee. Research problem statements for TCRP are solicited periodically but may be submitted to TRB by anyone at any time. It is the responsibility of the TOPS Committee to formulate the research program by identi- fying the highest priority projects. As part of the evaluation, the TOPS Committee defines funding levels and expected products. Once selected, each project is assigned to an expert panel, appointed by the Transportation Research Board. The panels prepare project state- ments (requests for proposals), select contractors, and provide techni- cal guidance and counsel throughout the life of the project. The process for developing research problem statements and selecting research agencies has been used by TRB in managing cooperative research pro- grams since 1962. As in other TRB activities, TCRP project panels serve voluntarily without compensation. Because research cannot have the desired impact if products fail to reach the intended audience, special emphasis is placed on dissemi- nating TCRP results to the intended end users of the research: tran- sit agencies, service providers, and suppliers. TRB provides a series of research reports, syntheses of transit practice, and other support- ing material developed by TCRP research. APTA will arrange for workshops, training aids, field visits, and other activities to ensure that results are implemented by urban and rural transit industry practitioners. The TCRP provides a forum where transit agencies can cooperatively address common operational problems. The TCRP results support and complement other ongoing transit research and training programs. Published reports of the TRANSIT COOPERATIVE RESEARCH PROGRAM 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
CRP STAFF FOR TCRP REPORT 136 Christopher W. Jenks, Director, Cooperative Research Programs Crawford F. Jencks, Deputy Director, Cooperative Research Programs Dianne Schwager, Senior Program Officer Eileen P. Delaney, Director of Publications Hilary Freer, Senior Editor AndrÃ©a Briere, Editor TCRP PROJECT B-31A PANEL Field of Service Configuration Richard DeRock, Link Transit, Wenatchee, WA (Chair) Linda Cherrington, Texas A&M University Thomas J. Cook, North Carolina State University Beverly Edwards, First Transit, Inc., Pittsburgh, PA Santo Grande, Delmarva Community Services, Cambridge, MD Albert T. Stoddard, III, LSC Transportation Consultants, Inc., Colorado Springs, CO Jeffery D. Webster, Fresno County Rural Transit Agency, Fresno, CA Gary DeLorme, FTA Liaison Pamela Boswell, APTA Liaison Kristi Ross, Easter Seals Project ACTION Liaison Christopher Zeilinger, CTAA Liaison Peter Shaw, TRB Liaison AUTHOR ACKNOWLEDGMENTS The research conducted for this Guidebook was performed under TCRP Project B-31 by the KFH Group, Inc., with assistance from McCollom Management Consulting, Inc. Elizabeth (Buffy) Ellis, AICP, of the KFH Group was the Principal Investigator for the project and pri- mary author of the Guidebook. Ken Hosen and Beth Hamby of the KFH Group assisted with the research and data collection from the demand-response transportation (DRT) systems participating in the proj- ect. Brian McCollom of McCollom Management Consulting contributed to preparation of the chapter on performance data and definitions. Sue Knapp and Ken Hosen of the KFH Group provided review and advice throughout the project. The research team gratefully appreciates the assistance and support of Dianne Schwager, TCRP Senior Program Officer for the project, and of the Project Panel, whose members provided valuable guidance and continuity for this second phase of the research project. We also want to sincerely thank the rural DRT systems that participated in the research project. The system managers took time from their demanding schedules to provide us data, information, and insights on their efforts to improve their DRT services; for that, the research team is very appreciative. C O O P E R A T I V E R E S E A R C H P R O G R A M S
TCRP Report 136: Guidebook for Rural Demand-Response Transportation: Measuring, Assessing, and Improving Performance will be of interest to rural public transportation sys- tems that provide demand-response transit (DRT) services and to the communities they serve. The Guidebook is a resource to assist DRT systems to measure, assess, and improve their performance, focusing on DRT systems in rural areas. This Guidebook has been prepared under TCRP Project B-31, âGuidebook for Measur- ing, Assessing, and Improving Performance of Demand-Response Transportation.â The research project produced two guidebooks. The first focused on DRT systems in urban areas and was published in 2008 as TCRP Report 124: Guidebook for Measuring, Assessing, and Improving Performance of Demand-Response Transportation. This is TCRP Project B-31âs second guidebook and, given the important distinctions between DRT in rural and urban areas, it addresses rural DRT. The research team followed a similar methodology in developing the Guidebook for rural DRT as was followed for the projectâs first guidebook, which included â¢ Developing a typology of rural DRT systems based on criteria affecting performance, â¢ Defining key performance data and a limited set of performance measures for DRT, â¢ Identifying the various factors that influence DRT performance, â¢ Collecting performance data from DRT systems representative of the defined categories, â¢ Identifying actions that rural DRT systems have implemented to improve their performance, and â¢ Documenting quantitative and qualitative effects on performance from those actions. While this Guidebook focuses on rural DRT, it shares some similarities with TCRP Report 124, the urban Guidebook, particularly with the identification of factors that influ- ence DRT performance and the background discussion on the development of the DRT typology. It is also noted that the rural Guidebook provides only limited information related to Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) paratransit service because most rural DRT systems do not provide this type of DRT. Those rural systems interested in ADA paratransit and its performance may want to refer to the urban Guidebook for more information. Improving DRT performance requires an understanding of the characteristics of DRT and the environment within which it operates. Improving performance also requires that F O R E W O R D By Dianne Schwager Staff Officer Transportation Research Board
DRT systems measure where they are now and the progress of their performance over time. To do so, DRT systems need consistent data and clearly defined performance measures, which will facilitate their own internal assessment as well as comparisons of performance across the industry. Once DRT systems have assessed their performance and documented where they stand relative to their own service and compared with others, opportunities for improvement can then be considered.
1 Chapter 1 Introduction 1 1.1 Development of Guidebook and Relationship to TCRP Report 124 2 1.2 Guidebook Organization 3 Chapter 2 Rural DRT and Why Performance Matters 3 2.1 Rural DRTâItâs Different 4 2.2 The Rural Transit Environment 7 2.3 What Does All This Mean for Rural DRT Performance Assessment? 10 Chapter 3 Performance Data for Rural DRT 10 3.1 Performance DataâWhich Data Elements Are Particularly Important? 10 3.2 Performance Data for Rural DRT: Now There Is NTD 11 3.3 Key Performance Data for Rural DRT Performance Assessment 18 3.4 Other Performance Data for Rural DRT Performance Assessment 22 3.5 Rural DRTâPerformance Data to Measure Transit Impact 23 Chapter 4 Performance Measures for Rural DRT 23 4.1 Key Performance Measures for Assessing Rural DRT 29 4.2 Additional Performance Measures 31 4.3 Transit-Impact Performance Measures 33 Chapter 5 Assessing PerformanceâA Typology of Rural DRT 33 5.1 Factors Influencing Rural DRT Performance 36 5.2 Different Methodologies for Assessing DRT Performance 38 5.3 Categorization of Rural DRT Systems 46 Chapter 6 Performance Data from Representative Systems 46 6.1 Rural Systems Participating as Representative Systems 49 6.2 Comparing Your Performance Against Other SystemsâPerformance Data of Representative Rural DRT Systems 55 6.3 Summary Rural DRT Performance Data 59 Chapter 7 Improving Performance 59 7.1 Actions for Improving Rural DRT Performance 61 7.2 Performance Improvement ActionsâMore Details and Selected Experience 86 References 88 Appendix A Rural NTD Data, Demand-Response-Only Systems, 2007 Report Year 89 Appendix B Summary Performance Data and System Characteristics by Individual System for Representative Rural DRT Systems, FY07 Data C O N T E N T S