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40 Introduction This chapter presents the importance of developing a vision for the transit service and hav- ing specific objectives. It provides examples of mission statements, goals, and objectives that have been developed by tribal transit agencies. Emphasizing the need for quantifiable service measures, it also discusses how such measures can be useful in the operation and expansion of a tribal transit program. Determining a Vision for Transit Service Understanding Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats An analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT analysis) is an effec- tive way of identifying internal and external forces that affect your transit system. A SWOT analysis often is the first step in developing a vision for a transit service. It reveals ways that transit service can support your tribeâs other priorities. Carrying out an analysis using the SWOT framework also will help you focus your activities on areas of strength and where the greatest opportunities lie. To carry out a SWOT analysis, write down answers to questions in all four categories, as follows: Strengths: â¢ What is positive in the transit service? â¢ What does the service do well? â¢ What do other people see as the systemâs strengths? Consider these questions from the providerâs point of view and from the point of view of the people you deal with. Be realistic. Weaknesses: â¢ What could be improved? â¢ What should be avoided? Consider these questions from both an internal and external point of view for the organiza- tion. Do other people perceive weaknesses that you do not see? Be realistic. Opportunities: â¢ What good opportunities can you identify for the transit service? â¢ What interesting trends are you aware of? C h a p t e r 5 Developing a Transit Vision, Goals, and Objectives
Developing a transit Vision, Goals, and Objectives 41 When thinking about opportunities for transit, consider changes in technology and markets; changes in government policy; and changes in social patterns, population profiles, lifestyles, and local events. Threats: â¢ What obstacles does the service face? â¢ What stands in the way of success? Carrying out this analysis may illuminate both what needs to be done and how to put prob- lems in perspective. How Does Transit Support the Tribeâs Other Activities Public transit should be seen as a service to support other tribal programs, whether those are providing health care for members or access to jobs. Either separately or as part of the SWOT analysis of the transit service, transit planners and community leaders, staff, and tribal members should conduct a SWOT analysis for the tribe and the communities in the systemâs service area. Mission Statement Establishing a Mission Statement A good mission statement is compelling, passionate, and energizing. It should be risky and challenging, but also achievable. A mission statement isnât written in stone and is likely to change over time as an organization grows and market conditions change. Think of your mission state- ment as a short statement of why the transit service exists. Writing a mission statement can be a difficult and challenging task. If you donât know what principles you operate from and how you will treat those who come in contact with your orga- nization, then itâs an impossible task. Similarly, if youâre not excited about what you are doing and lack a passion for your service, then itâs an impossible task. Instead of trying to just âwrite itâ or âget it done,â devote some serious thought and soul-searching to your mission statement. It must boldly state what you, your organization, and its future are all about. It is worth the effort. Succinct Statement of What Transit Accomplishes An effective mission statement should require little or no explanation, and its length is less important than its power. One of Nikeâs now-famous mission statements was âCrush Reebok.â This statement required no explanation, but it motivated everyone associated with Nike, and the objective was unmistakable. Nike could have stated its mission as âto be the best shoe company with the best customer service,â but that would have done little to inspire the âtroops.â Donât make that mistake with your own mission statementâmake it passionate and inspiring, not bland and boring. Consider two other famous mission statements: PepsiCoâsâlong-held, unof- ficial mission statementââBeat Cokeââand Hondaâs early-1980âs mission statement, trans- lated as âWe will crush, squash, and slaughter Yamaha.â Attempt to keep your mission statement simple, but this doesnât necessarily mean it should be short. Shorter mission statements tend to be better because the message can be conveyed easily and embraced by all employees from top management to the person sweeping the garage floor. Every mission statement should be different. Write a mission statement that reflects your values, individuality, creativity, and uniqueness. Use a tone that best reflects the culture of your organization, and get as many people as possible involved in its construction. Mission: The mission of the Road to Work Program is to provide transportation to all Native Americans within the Chickasaw Nation and to the general public in a comfortable, simple, and easy-to-access fashion.
42 Developing, enhancing, and Sustaining tribal transit Services: a Guidebook A Worksheet for Drafting a Mission Statement 1. What traits do we consider worthwhile? What are our highest priorities, our deeply held driving force? 2. How do we want the transportation service to interact with our customers (riders, employees, our community)? 3. What kind of transportation do we need? 4. Who are our principal customers, riders, or users? 5. Why should we exist (what is our basic purpose)? 6. What is unique or distinctive about our community? 7. What should our principal services be, both now and in the future? 8. What are our principal market segments, at present and in the future? 9. How do our needs differ from what they were between 3 and 5 years ago? 10. What is likely to be different about our needs 3 to 5 years in the future? 11. What are our principal economic concerns, and how are they measured? 12. What philosophical issues are important to our tribe and our future? Importance of Employee Support of Mission If everyone doesnât buy into the mission statement, then it will not effectively shape the orga- nization and its actions, and it will have limited effectiveness. If someone reads your mission statement and comments, âGreat, but who cares?â consider rewriting it and adding some pas- sion. The passion and excitement you demonstrate in your mission statement will carry over, not only to the rest of your business plan, but also to the day-to-day operations of your organization. Ask yourself the following questions: Does your mission statement â¢ describe the nature and concept of your community transportation future? â¢ establish what those providing transportation plan to do and for whom? â¢ provide clarity of the transportation purpose? â¢ provide a point of reference for planning decisions? â¢ promote commitment internally and externally? Goals Goals are statements created to help focus your efforts to carry out your mission statement. Goals are guidelines that direct where your transit system is going. Goals are generally broad statements that identify focus areas for accomplishing the mission. Objectives Objectives are statements of specific actions that will be taken to achieve the goals. Well- crafted objectives are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and have a specific time frame. An objective must be measurable so that is it is possible to determine if the objective has actually been achieved. Being achievable and realistic means that it is feasible to accomplish the specific goal with the resources that are available. A specific time for completion should be set for achiev- ing each objective. Table 5.1 illustrates a useful way to organize your objectives in a way that helps answer the following questions: â¢ What are we really trying to do? â¢ What are the issues? â¢ Who is responsible? â¢ How will we know if we achieved our goal?
Table 5.1. Objectives worksheet. Specific Objective/ Action Area Challenge/ Opportunity Relationship/Link to Mission StatementResources Needed Indicators of Success Timeline for Action Key People (Whom to enroll in achieving objectives?)
44 Developing, enhancing, and Sustaining tribal transit Services: a Guidebook Sample Mission, Goals, and Objectives The following is an example of a mission statement with corresponding goals and objectives developed for Menominee Public Transit of the Menominee Indian Tribe in Wisconsin. Menominee Public Transit Mission Statement Menominee Public Transit strives to encourage the improvement, efficiency, and use of the Menominee Public Transit system within the Reservation and County in order to enhance access of employment, health care, recreation, education and public services for the Menominee People. Menominee Public Transit Goals Goal 1: Continue to build a positive, professional, and customer-responsive organization to help ensure that Menominee Public Transit is recognized as the leading proponent and advocate for mobility on the Menominee Reservation/County. Objectives of Goal 1: 1. Training and Education: Continue and improve training programs for all employees of Menominee Public Transit. 2. Intergovernmental Relations: Foster programs to improve communications with all local jurisdictions, departments, and services, including regular meetings with departments and programs that either directly or indirectly impact Menominee Public Transit. 3. Marketing and Advertising: Conduct both internal and external activities to improve overall image, supporting a professionally operated system. Emphasis will be placed on user aidesâ i.e., printed schedules, bus stop signs, and bus shelters. Goal 2: Respond to changing operating conditions and changing population characteristics by modifying existing service as needed, increasing or decreasing service as needed, and promoting flexible services to meet reservation, county, and regional needs. Objectives of Goal 2: 1. Establish fixed schedules and fixed-route service along with ADA [Americans with Disabili- ties Act] paratransit to better meet the needs of riders and potential riders as revealed by the transit survey conducted in January 2006. 2. Establish regular service to Green Bay and Milwaukee, and coordinate with reservations and communities along the route to increase revenue and to carry more passengers. 3. Purchase appropriate rolling stock for improved fixed-route service and ADA paratransit service. Goal 3: Develop partnerships with businesses, tribal departments, and other governmental units to more efficiently and effectively provide mobility options. Objectives of Goal 3: 1. Promote the use of employer-provided transportation, including the transit pass benefit pro- gram under Section 132 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986. 2. Partner with the Menominee Tribal Clinic to develop coordinated programs for transporting persons to doctor and clinic appointments with the overall purpose of providing more trips to those in need at an overall lower cost. 3. Acquire the necessary certifications and contracts to become a Medicaid provider, with the overall goal of increasing available services to residents of the area and lowering costs to the tribe and county. 4. Partner with the Menominee Aging Division to refocus services as needed to meet the needs of the elderly and work to maximize the number of passengers per trip.
Developing a transit Vision, Goals, and Objectives 45 Goal 4: For a community to have a successful transit service, it must first have a rational and complete system of walkways and pedestrian amenities, so this goal is to help improve the overall pedestrian activities on the reservation/county. Objectives of Goal 4: 1. Help facilitate better sidewalks, trails, and paths along with curb cuts to make it easier to walk and travel on the reservation/county. 2. Add bus shelters with heat for winter and lighting for comfort and safety of persons using the bus services. 3. Identify and mark bus stops and locations in buildings so that passengers can safely wait for the bus. Goal 5: Promote stable funding to ensure a sound financial foundation for Menominee Public Transit. Objectives of Goal 5: 1. Establish a Transit Advisory Committee consisting of interested elected officials, program partners, and rider customers of our service. 2. Provide detailed quarterly reports to tribal elected officials to enhance understanding of services. 3. Host an annual open house and potluck dinner at Menominee Public Transit headquarters to show appreciation to riders and supporters of service and enable non-riders to understand how service is provided and with what type of equipment. 4. Establish a Transit Commission. Performance Measures Performance measures are quantifiable indicators of service to measure the accomplishment of objectives. When objectives are set, they should be measurable. The indicators used for this measurement are the performance measures. The benefits and impacts of public transportation on a community are complex, subtle, and not easily separated into discrete units of measurement. Some indirect benefits to individuals and their activities do not fit into standard measurements like time savings or willingness to pay. Even these measurements are not well-defined; people place widely varying values on their time and on how much they will pay to use public transportation. Captive users who have no alter- native will value their time and money differently from people who have other travel options. Some benefits of public transportation are difficult to assign value. What numbers or percent- ages can be placed on independence, mobility, or quality of life? Other benefits, such as land-use impacts and safety, require such complex measurement that they usually are not evaluated cor- rectly. Public transportation impacts often are interrelated and therefore not easily categorized. For example, commuters using public transportation could have the benefits of trip reductions, less air pollution, less congestion (or perhaps more in downtown areas where transit and cars mix), lower fuel consumption, time savings, stress reductions, lower insurance rates, and lower expenditures, particularly if the use of public transportation negates the need for a second car in the family. These benefits cannot stand in isolation, but have to be viewed as an integrated whole. Interrelated benefits are more difficult to communicate to the public, planners, and funding sources. However, the synergy of communities and public transportation cannot be ignored in favor of standard measurements that are misleading and inaccurate. Benefits are in the eye of the beholder. What people perceive to be a benefit is a benefit. This truism closely parallels peopleâs view of traffic congestion: if people think their roads are con- gested then their roads are congested, no matter the actual traffic counts or comparisons with other areas that have even more congestion. For a wide-ranging service like public transportation, Why Measure Performance? â¢ To evaluate the effectiveness of your program â¢ To provide feedback to funding sources â¢ To evaluate quality of service
46 Developing, enhancing, and Sustaining tribal transit Services: a Guidebook the perceived benefits might be even more important to people than the actual, quantifiable benefits. Many people want public transportation in their community because it is perceived as a symbol of civic progress and pride. The usual attitude is that public transportation should be supported as a social good for people who have no other means of travel. Usually these are âotherâ people. Many public transportation supporters have no intention of using the services themselves, but want the option of being able to take the bus or ride the shuttle in case they find themselves unable to use a personal vehicle. For some individuals, the unscripted contact with other people and close interaction with a community that the use of public transportation requires is a great benefit, while for others such contact is a horror to be avoided at all costs. Even within the public transportation spectrum, stratification of acceptability exists. Rail travel is generally perceived to be a more acceptable and positive way to travel than bus travel. The perception exists that rail travel is safer, cleaner, more comfortable, and more attractive than bus travel. Whether or not this is true is difficult to measure because peopleâs perceptions are so highly personal and amorphous. Yet these perceptions are just as relevant as statistics on ridership or age and condition of a systemâs vehicles. Public trans- portation cannot be severed from its close connection to local politics and personal perceptions. Typical Performance Measures Performance measures are not to be confused with the goals and objectives of transportation providers. Measures are necessary to determine if the objectives and goals are being fulfilled in a safe, reliable, and efficient manner. Even the most obvious items should be subjected to mea- surement because guesswork and hunches are often in error. In general, measures should be meaningful, appropriate to the operation or system, suitable to analysis, easily interpreted, and relevant for decision making. Each objective should have a performance measure. Performance measures that do not relate to the goals and objectives of the transit service typically are ignored and become meaningless. Although it is possible to collect and measure large amounts of data, measures are important only when they are tied to what a transit system desires to achieve. Continuousâor at least regularâevaluation allows systems to adjust their operations or modify their objectives to keep improving without pursuing unrealistic goals. Care should be exercised when comparing measurements from different operations because so much depends on local conditions, the size of each system or area served, and the purpose of each system. At the least, the service quality, productivity, and efficiency of public transportation operators should be measured. Performance can be measured as the kind and level of service delivered by the system. Overall measures of service quality may include the number of days of service, hours of service each day, type of service, percentage of service-area population served, on-time performance, safety, vehicle cleanliness, and attitudes of drivers. Productivity can be measured as the actual use of a systemâs resources and facilities compared to their potential use, given the geographical area covered and type of service offered. What are the vehicle-miles per vehicle? What are the load factors and the passenger-miles per vehicle-hour? Efficiency can be measured as how much service is being provided and at what cost in time, resources, and facilities. Efficiency measures are cost per vehicle-mile; fare revenues as a percent- age of cost; and cost of overhead, administration, operations, maintenance, or equipment as percentages of total expenditure. Many aspects of public transportation are difficult to measure, but some aspects are more easily counted and categorized. The most basic of these are input measures: what facilities exist for public transportation. To plan public transportation in accordance with the desires of the citizens of the tribe (as expressed in the issues identified in public meetings), planners must know what facilities exist with which to provide services.
Developing a transit Vision, Goals, and Objectives 47 However, simply measuring the âhardwareâ without measuring user satisfaction or user opinionâconsidered output measuresâis meaningless. Usersâ opinions about public trans- portation are as important to measure as the number of maintenance facilities. Both input and output measures are needed to understand public transportation. On the following pages, rec- ommended input and output measures are grouped in tables, as follows: â¢ Table 5.2. Suggested input measures: overview of transit system. â¢ Table 5.3. Evaluation criteria: vehicle characteristics. â¢ Table 5.4. Evaluation criteria: maintenance, dependability, system, and safety. â¢ Table 5.5. Possible input and output measures: role of public transportation. â¢ Table 5.6. Possible input and output measures: coordination, infrastructure, and promotion of public transportation. Evaluation Criteria Measures Purpose System Number of active vehicles Estimated vehicle replacement costs Estimated vehicle rehabilitation costs Capacity Fare structure and collection Responsiveness to users with special needs Funding needs and sources Level of service (e.g., demand-response service, fixed-route service, or other type of service) Assists in determining if the organizational structure of providers is capable of delivering safe, reliable service Facility Type Age Condition Number and purpose Replacement costs Rehabilitation costs Assists in determining if transit providers' infra- structure is adequate to deliver satisfactory service Vehicle description Type and age Manufacturer and model number Fuel type Seating configuration and capacity Mileage Expected lifetime Estimated vehicle replacement costs Estimated vehicle rehabilitation costs Ownership arrangements Assists in determining if available transit assets are sufficient to satisfy current and projected demand Maintenance Number of vehicles operating at maximum capacity Number of breakdowns Service disruptions caused by breakdowns Assists in determining reliability and safety of vehicles Dependability Malfunctions and breakdowns, measured in terms of months or years, vehicle-miles, or operating hours Type, cause, location, time of year/day of malfunction or breakdown Repair time Assists in determining if providers can deliver safe, consistent service Safety Response time of support services Response time of emergency services Effectiveness of safety equipment Driver training in first aid and defensive driving Driver training in passenger assistance techniques Crime number, location, type, persons involved, costs, and resolutions Assists in determining if transit providers can assure passenger safety Table 5.2. Suggested input measures: overview of transit system.
48 Developing, enhancing, and Sustaining tribal transit Services: a Guidebook Measures Definitions Purpose Type Automobile Vans 12â16 passengers Bus < 36 passengers Bus < 67 passengers School Buses Assists in determining if available transit assets are sufficient to satisfy current and projected demand Age The year the vehicle was made. Manufacturer and model number General Motors Ford Chrysler Dodge El Dorado Other: Fuel type Gasoline Diesel Liquefied natural gas Methanol Ethanol Seating configuration and capacity Number of seats installed in the vehicle Mileage 0â50,000 50,001â75,000 75,001â100,00 100,001â125,000 125,001â150,000 150,000 and above Expected lifetime Period of active service expected from acquisition to retirement Estimated vehicle replacement cost How much each vehicle would cost to replace at market rates Estimated vehicle rehabilitation costs Costs for repairs to avoid vehicle replacement Ownership arrangements Owned Leased under purchase agreement* Leased** Leased or borrowed from others*** * Vehicles leased under a closed-end agreement in which the lease acquires the capital appreciation of the vehicles as lease payments are made. At the end of the lease, the vehicles are owned by the lessee. ** Vehicles are leased so that the lessee does not acquire the capital appreciation of the vehicles as the lease payments are made. *** Vehicles that are leased or borrowed through a public agency or entity as a result of governmental or legal agreements. For example, vehicles may be owned by the state or county and leased to a public transit authority which is legally prohibited from owning the vehicles. Table 5.3. Evaluation criteria: vehicle characteristics.
M easures Definitions Purpose Maintenance Number of vehicles operating at maximum capacity Assists in determining reliability and safety of vehicles Number of breakdow ns and service calls Annual number of responses to breakdowns on vehicles in service Service disruptions caused by breakdow ns Missed trips or missed routes caused by breakdowns of vehicles Fleet condition ExcellentâNo repairs needed GoodâOnly regular maintenance needed AverageâMajor repairs needed PoorâMajor reconstruction of vehicles needed to continue service Dependability Malfunctions and breakdow ns, measured in terms of months or y ears, vehicle-miles, or operating hours Number of fleet breakdowns per annual fleet vehicle-miles Assists in determining if providers can deliver safe, consistent service Repair time Average length of time required to repair vehicles System Number of active vehicles Vehicles available to operate, including those out for routine repair Assists in determining if the organizational structure of pro- viders is capable of delivering reliable service Number of ADA-accessible vehicles Number of vehicles that meet ADA guidelines Responsiveness to users wi th special needs Existence of and adherence to ADA service plan Capacity Annual number of passengers that could be carried by fleet operating at maximum capacity Fare structure and collection How much passengers pay to use service Funding needs At existing level of service, how much money is required to operate Funding sources In actual figures and in percentages of total budget, what are the funding sources for the service Safety Accidents per 100,000 miles Number of vehicular and personal accidents per 100,000 miles Assists in determining if transit providers can assure passenger safety Response time of support services, emergenc y contingency vehicles Time taken by emergenc y contingenc y vehicles to reach disabled vehicle to take on passengers and continue trip Effectiveness of safety equipment Driver training in first aid, defensive driving, passenger assistance Crime number, location, ty pe, persons involved, costs, resolutions Table 5.4. Evaluation criteria: maintenance, dependability, system, and safety.
50 Developing, enhancing, and Sustaining tribal transit Services: a Guidebook Area of Interest Evaluation Criteria Measures Purposes Social role of public transportation Community coverage Percentage of total community accessible by transit systems Allows identification of gaps in service and need for additional resources Clientele coverage Permits identification of effective service providers and establishment of averages for service standards Level of service Hours of service per day Assists in deciding if service expansion is needed Resource utilization Passengers per vehicle-mile Passengers per vehicle-hour Passengers per service day Passenger miles per vehicle-trip Vehicle-miles per vehicle Vehicle-hours per vehicle Pinpoints under and over use of vehicles and need for fleet expansion or service redesign Costs per services used Cost per one-way passenger-trip Cost per passenger-mile Cost per loaded vehicle-hour Demonstrates efficiency and cost-effectiveness Future role of public transportation Demographics Current figures on age, socio- economic characteristics, car ownership, employment status, travel patterns and ridership on transit services Projected changes in the above demographics and ridership on transit services Allows tracking of impact of demographics so ratio of funding can be maintained Table 5.5. Possible input and output measures: role of public transportation.
Ar ea of Interest Ev aluation Criteria Measures Purpose Coordination bet we en existing systems Number of providers Spheres and levels of activit y of all pas senger transportation providers in the service area - transit sy stems, taxis, vanpools, etc. Excellent resource information for identification of gaps and overlapping services as we ll as potential providers of service Intermodal public transportation facilities Passenger movement Ease of transfer between modes Ease of ticketing procedures Interline agreements Schedule coordination, explicit or serendipitous Assists determination of degree of coordination among sy stems and highlights areas w here transfers are difficult Access Location and number of exclusive transit parking spaces at rail or air facility or special lanes or allow ances for transit A tangible measure of transit-friendliness of infrastructure Transit-friendly infrastructure Land-us e development Historical patterns compared to future growth projections and impact of both on transit Future road construction plans and impact on transit compared to historical patterns Helps determine the amount of transit- friendly growth and development patterns Design and placement Building codes or zoning requirements that do not promote ease of use of multiple occupant vehicles Current patterns of placement, size, shape of buildings Availability of sidew alks or pedestrian wa lkw ays Recognizes interrelatedness of all infra - structure and allows monitoring of impact of construction on transit Population Current population distribution and demographics Projected future population and demographic trends Recognizes the basis of demand and need for services is related to population and population distribution and must be know n for cost-effective resource allocation Promotion of public transportation Information Know ledge of services as assessed by survey Assists in identification of gaps in information dissemination and need for communication program Marketing Effectiveness of marketing campaigns in terms of desired result (such as increased ridership) Allow s effective marketing tools to be measured for use at other locations Table 5.6. Possible input and output measures: coordination, infrastructure, and promotion of public transportation.
52 Developing, enhancing, and Sustaining tribal transit Services: a Guidebook Valuable material for establishing performance measures also can be found in TCRP Report 88: A Guidebook for Developing a Transit Performance-Measurement System and TCRP Report 141: A Meth- odology for Performance Measurement and Peer Comparison in the Public Transportation Industry. For More Information Weaver, P. BizPlanIt.Comâs Free Monthly Newsletter, May 1998. KU Transportation Center, Uni- versity of Kansas (further adapted and used with permission by Peter Schauer, January 2001). Schauer, P. Menominee Public Transit Five-Year Transit Development Plan: A Framework for Developing and Implementing Transit Services Through the Year 2012. Peter Schauer Associates, Boonville, Missouri, 2008. Ryus, P., et al. TCRP Report 88: A Guidebook for Developing a Transit Performance-Measurement System. Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, Washington, D.C., 2003. http://www.trb.org/Publications/Blurbs/152127.aspx. Ryus, P., et al. TCRP Report 141: A Methodology for Performance Measurement and Peer Com- parison in the Public Transportation Industry. Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, Washington, D.C., 2010. http://www.trb.org/Publications/Blurbs/163872.aspx.