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Executive Summary ES-1 Executive Summary Transit Cooperative Research Program Project B-3 completed in 1996 conducted analysis of the demand for rural passenger transportation services based on detailed data on the services provided, and the use of those services, collected from thirty-nine rural counties across the nation chosen to be representative of nine groupings of counties. The product of that study was TCRP Report 3, Workbook for Estimating Demand for Rural Passenger Transportation. Over the period since the publication of Report 3 there have been changes in rural transportation. The nature of some human service programs have changed, federal legislation has established a requirement for the preparation of Coordinated Public Transit Human Service Transportation Plans, and information on rural service provided and used is now reported annually to the Rural National Transit Database (Rural NTD). Given these new issues and data sources, Project B-36 was initiated to see if it would be possible to develop new methods that better reflected the diversity of conditions under which rural transit is provided across the nation and that could address markets not considered in Report 3. In Phase 1 of this project, completed in 2009, national datasets, including the Rural NTD for reporting year 2006, the year 2000 decennial census, the 2005-2007 American Community Survey, and the 2001 National Household Travel Survey, were used to identify factors that could serve as indicators of the need for passenger transportation service and to explore the possibility of developing functional relationships between the characteristics of the population, transportation service provided, and the demand for transportation service. While practical relationships were developed using the newly available data it was not clear that the methods developed were, for the same markets, significantly better than those in Report 3. Possible relationships were developed for two new markets. Based on these findings Phase 2 of the project was structured to include outreach to train staff from agencies with responsibilities for planning or transportation in rural areas in the use of the proposed methods to quantify need and estimate demand for passenger transportation services. As part of the Phase 2 work, new agency and county level data were to be collected that could be used to develop refined relationships. During the interval between the completion of Phase 1 and the analysis of data collected at the workshops, three new national level datasets became available. These were the 5-year American Community Survey (ACS) for the years 2005-2009; the 2009 National Household Travel Survey, and the 2009 Rural NTD. In Phase 1 the project team had noted that the 2006 Rural NTD lacked any information about the areas served by the reporting systems which made it difficult to associate any demographic data with the observed patterns of demand. In the 2009 Rural NTD information was included that permitted associating demographic information from the ACS with service and demand data from the NTD. This has permitted development of more satisfactory functional relationships. This report documents work efforts and findings of both phases of the project. A general finding is that the national level data sources have improved substantially in completeness and robustness to support development of fully satisfactory functions for estimating need or demand. Using the data available from national sources and the workshop participants, methods have been developed, and are reported, for estimating:
Executive Summary ES-2 â¢ Need - two procedures are suggested o A value based on the number of people likely to have a need for passenger transportation o A value based on the number of trips that would have to be served to meet all needs â¢ Demand - procedures for four market segments are suggested o Use of public (i.e., Section 5311 funded) services ï§ Non-program (general public) trips only ï§ All trips using 5311 funded services o Number of program or sponsored trips o Demand for fixed rural service in small urban towns in rural areas. o Commuters from rural areas to central cities Need For the estimation of need: â¢ Number of persons in need = population residing in households with income below the poverty line + population residing in households having no personal vehicle â¢ Trip Need = Households having no personal vehicle x Mobility Gap The Mobility Gap is defined as the difference between the daily trip rate for rural households having one personal vehicle and rural households having no personal vehicle. Basing the gap on households having one vehicle rather than one or more vehicles yields a more conservative estimate of the gap. These rates by Census Division based on the 2009 National Household Travel Survey are: Mobility Gap by Census Division (based on 2009 NHTS) Census Division States Mobility Gap Trips per Day National 1.5 Division 1: ME, VT, NH, MA, CT, RI 1.7 Division 2: Middle NJ, NY, PA 1.3 Division 3: East North Central WI, MI, OH, IN, IL 1.4 Division 4: West North Central ND, SD, NE, KS, MO, IA, MN 1.7 Division 5: South Atlantic MD, DE, WV, VA, NC, SC, GA, FL 1.2
Executive Summary ES-3 Census Division States Mobility Gap Trips per Day Division 6: East South Central KY, TN, AL, MS 1.4 Division 7: West South Central OK, AR, TX, LA 2.0 Division 8: Mountain ID, MT, WY, CO, UT, NE, AZ, NM 0.8 Division 9: Pacific WA, OR, CA, AK, HI 1.1 Demand For the estimation of demand methods are suggested for four markets âuse of public services general purpose rural non-program trips, program trips, small city (micropolitan) fixed-route, and commuters from rural counties to urban centers. An additional method is suggested for demand (all market types) for rural public transportation systems defined as those systems eligible for reporting to the National Transit Database. General Purpose Rural Passenger Transportation Non-program Demand (trips per year) = (2.20 * Population age 60+) + (5.21 * Mobility Limited Population age 16 to 64) + (1.52 * Residents of Households having No Vehicle) In this equation the Mobility Limited Population is taken to mean those defined in Census reports as those having Independent Living Difficulty. Demand for Rural Public Transportation (not market specific) The following function, developed using data from the Rural National Transit Database for Reporting Year 2009 and data from the American Community Survey for the three years ending in 2009, makes use of the estimate of need, measured in the number of trips and a measure of the amount of service provided. Annual Demand on Rural Public Services = 2.44 * (Need0.028) * (Annual Vehicle-miles0.749) Need is computed using the Mobility Gap method described above. Annual vehicle-miles of service may be either the miles currently being operated or the number planned to be operated. This method can be used to estimate how demand (ridership) is likely to change as service is expanded or reduced.
Executive Summary ES-4 A general estimate of the demand for service can be made using: Rural Transit Trips = 0.2 trips per rural vehicle-mile or Rural Transit Trips = 3.7 trips per rural vehicle-hour The analysis of that productivity measured by trip rates per unit of service provided based on the Rural NTD shows little variation of a wide range of service provided. This suggests that demand is limited by service provided and that increasing service would, in most cases, result in concomitant increases in demand. Program Trips For trip demand related to specific social service programs the recommended practice involves not a specific function or equation but rather a method that is based on obtaining information from the agencies that operate the programs. The information to be obtained includes: â¢ Number of program participants â¢ Number of days per week that the program meets â¢ Number of weeks per year that the program meets â¢ Proportion of registered participants who attend on a typical day â¢ Proportion of participants that require transportation service Small-City Fixed Route Annual Unlinked passenger trips = 5.77 x Revenue-Hours of Service + 1.07 x Population + 7.12 x College Enrollment This function will work best for systems that provide 70 or fewer vehicle-hours per day. Commuters from Rural Counties to Urban Centers The recommended method for estimating demand is: Proportion using Transit for Commuter Trips from Rural County to Urban Place = 0.024 + (0.0000056 * workers commuting from the rural county to the central place) â (0.00029 * distance in miles) + 0.015 if the central place is a state capital Demand (trips per day) = Proportion using transit x number of commuters x 2 The number of commuters can be obtained from the state transportation agency, the Metropolitan Planning Organization for the urban center, or the Bureau of the Census Longitudinal Employer- Household Dynamics website, http:/lehd.did.census.gov/led/.