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Recommended Practice 89 Commuters from Rural Counties to Urban Centers The recommended method for estimating demand is: Proportion using Transit for Commuter Trips from a Rural County to Urban Place (if service is offered) = 0.024 + (0.0056 * 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/ Demand for Rural Public Transportation (not market specific) The following function, developed using data from the Rural NTD 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. Future Research Needs The methods suggested by this research provide estimates of the demand for rural passenger transportation service at a given point in time. In practice, however, demand is constantly changing and when a new service is introduced the observed demand is typically significantly less than the mature demand. Some have suggested that it takes about a year for demand to mature once a new service is introduced. These studies, however, are based on observed data from urban transportation systems. Research to measure the time from rural service initiation for demand to mature would be useful. A related project would address the ways for marketing rural transportation services. Rural agencies operate with limited budgets making it difficult to undertake major campaigns to promote awareness and use of rural services. Some states (e.g., Alaska, Missouri) have undertaken marketing programs for all rural services with limited success. Other states (e.g., Louisiana, Maine, and Oregon) have presented marketing training programs for rural systems but the effectiveness of these efforts has not been reported. Documenting the various methods used and the effectiveness of those methods in attracting riders would be useful to rural agencies.
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