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Suggested Citation:"Approach to Research." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2013. Methods for Forecasting Demand and Quantifying Need for Rural Passenger Transportation. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22618.
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Page 8
Page 9
Suggested Citation:"Approach to Research." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2013. Methods for Forecasting Demand and Quantifying Need for Rural Passenger Transportation. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22618.
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Page 9
Page 10
Suggested Citation:"Approach to Research." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2013. Methods for Forecasting Demand and Quantifying Need for Rural Passenger Transportation. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22618.
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Page 10

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Introduction 4 Approach to Research Review of prior work The project began with a review of previous work in the topic of the need and/or demand for rural passenger transportation. This included not only the work presented in TCRP Report 3 but also published documents reporting on work conducted by others in the intervening years. This included: • Casavant, Painter, Washington State Transportation Center, Washington State University, University of Washington, Demand Forecasting for Rural Transit, June 1999, Washington • BRW Inc, Region 10 Transit Development Program, 2000-2006 (Appendix), June 1999, Colorado • Thole, Harvey, Florida Department of Transportation, Update Methodology for ADA Demand Estimates: Lessons Learned, July 2005 • Attaluri, Seneviratne, Javid, Journal of Transportation Engineering, Modeling Demand for Public Transit Services in Rural Areas, 1997 • Mobility Gap Method, Stoddard and Donahue, Proceedings of the 7th National Conference on Transportation Planning for Small and Medium-Sized Communities, Transportation Research Board, Use of Mobility Gap to Quantify Rural Transportation Needs These various reports were examined with a view to understanding the deficiencies perceived in the Report 3 methods that led the authors to develop alternative procedures and the ways in which the authors had sought to overcome those deficiencies. Among the issues identified were: • Social service program categories used in the TCRP workbook do not always correspond to programs in the specific state. • There is a lack of county level data available to estimate annual vehicle miles by population subgroup in the specific state. • Overestimation of demand for systems that charge a fare. • The Report 3 method is data intensive; employment and poverty levels have changed since 1990, and allows for some overlap and potential double-counting. • State required a methodology with greater focus on ADA services. • Report 3 method failed to account for transit services in small towns and cities in rural counties.

Introduction 5 Discussions with practitioners Conversations were held with 17 individuals knowledgeable in the field of rural passenger transportation in which the project team discussed their experience with the TCRP methodology and other methodologies, identified the features of the various methods that they liked or thought essential and those that they found difficult or unnecessary; and probed for the attributes of a new methodology that they would find most useful or appropriate. The team related these impressions and needs to the various extant forecasting methodologies. In addition a listening session was held in October 2008 at the National Rural Transit Conference in Omaha, NE in which participants were asked to state what properties they thought would be desirable and/or essential in improved methods for estimating the need and demand for rural passenger transportation. One comment heard about the previous methodology was that it was based on a limited, and probably outdated, dataset; other more recent data had become available and on which an enhanced methodology could be based were explored. Some of these data have been used to prepare new relationships. Another comment was that new markets had emerged that were not treated in the Report 3 methodology – particularly work trip commuting from rural counties to urban centers. In response an analysis to develop a method for assessing demand for the commuting market was incorporated in the work program. Identification of data sources Following the review of other research and the discussion with practitioners, including several members of the project panel, it was determined that a useful product would provide methods for the analysis of need and of demand related to four specific markets – general public rural passenger transportation, program related trips, fixed-route services in micropolitan areas, and commuters from rural counties to urban centers. In keeping with the desire to develop methods that would provide consistency in both analysis and eventual application, data sources were sought that would be readily available and contained information for all areas of the nation. Data sources were then identified that could be used to explore the relationships related to each area. For analysis of need it was determined that two types of data would be required; data documenting the number of persons in groups likely to require passenger transportation services, and data about the rates of trip making for these various groups in order to better understand the characteristics that revealed a need. Data from the year 2000 decennial Census and the American Community Survey were identified as the source for information about the number of persons in groups likely to have needs while the 2001, and subsequently 2009, National Household Transportation Surveys were identified as the data source for information about the trip rates of households and persons in populations having needs. Analysis of demand was conducted by market. For the general public rural transportation market the Rural National Transit Database (Rural NTD) was identified as a source that covered the entire nation and had a uniform reporting format. At the time of Phase 1 of the study, the most recent Rural NTD data were those for the 2006 reporting year. For the program related market no standardized dataset was available. Data collected as part of other studies done by the project team were identified as a reasonable source. For the micropolitan fixed-route market the Rural NTD supplemented by readily

Introduction 6 available information from other sources thought to have a bearing on the use of small-city fixed route services were identified as the data sources. Ultimately, data on college and university enrollment from The College Board (www.collegebaord.com) were used for analyses related to this market. For the commuters from rural counties to central place market the journey-to-work information from the 2000 decennial Census was identified as a source for county-to-county commuter trips by mode. Data from the Census were also used to determine whether a given county should be treated as rural or as an urban central place. Other information, such as the distance between counties could be determined from easily available sources (e.g., Google Maps). However, no sources were identified that would provide consistent information about passenger transportation services available to commuters; the fares charged for such services; and the ease of commuting (travel time, parking cost and availability) as a driver or member of a carpool. By the time the analysis efforts in Phase 2 of the project were initiated the Rural NTD for reporting year 2009, and subsequently reporting year 2010, became available. These sources included information about the areas served by rural transportation systems not available in the 2006 Rural NTD and proved to be quite valuable for development of the recommended methods.

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TRB’s Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) Web-Only Document 58: Methods for Forecasting Demand and Quantifying Need for Rural Passenger Transportation supplements TCRP Report 161 by describing how the research team developed the report’s need and demand estimation methods, the findings of the analyses, and recommendations for functions to be used in estimation of need and demand.

TCRP Report 161: Methods for Forecasting Demand and Quantifying Need for Rural Passenger Transportation: Final Workbook presents step-by-step procedures for quantifying the need for passenger transportation services and the demand that is likely to be generated if passenger transportation services are provided.

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