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TRANSPORTAT ION RESEARCH BOARD WASHINGTON, D.C. 2010 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 140 Research sponsored by the Federal Transit Administration in cooperation with the Transit Development Corporation Subscriber Categories Public Transportation â¢ Planning and Forecasting A Guide for Planning and Operating Flexible Public Transportation Services John F. Potts Maxine A. Marshall THE DMP GROUP, INC. New Orleans, LA Emmett C. Crockett Jackson, MS Joel Washington Silver Spring, MD
TCRP REPORT 140 Project B-35 ISSN 1073-4872 ISBN 978-0-309-15480-2 Library of Congress Control Number 2010929874 Â© 2010 National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. COPYRIGHT INFORMATION 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. The members of the technical panel selected to monitor this project and to review this report were chosen for their special competencies and with regard for appropriate balance. The report was reviewed by the technical panel and accepted for publication according to procedures established and overseen by the Transportation Research Board and approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council. The opinions and conclusions expressed or implied in this report are those of the researchers who performed the research and are not necessarily those of the Transportation Research Board, the National Research Council, or the program sponsors. The Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, the National Research Council, and the sponsors 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 object of the report. 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 140 Christopher W. Jenks, Director, Cooperative Research Programs Crawford F. Jencks, Deputy Director, Cooperative Research Programs Gwen Chisholm Smith, Senior Program Officer Tom Van Boven, Senior Program Assistant Eileen P. Delaney, Director of Publications Ellen M. Chafee, Editor TCRP PROJECT B-35 PANEL Field of Service Configuration Ann August, Santee Wateree Regional Transportation Authority, Sumter, SC (Chair) Timothy Collins, Veolia Transportation, North Las Vegas, NV Ronald Downing, Golden Gate Bridge, Highway, and Transportation District, San Rafael, CA Vince Jackson, Hampton Roads Transit, Norfolk, VA Del A. Peterson, North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND Will Scott, Will Scott & Co., LLC, Cincinnati, OH Carol Wise, New Jersey Transit Authority, Newark, NJ Doug Birnie, FTA Liaison Robert Carlson, Community Transportation Association of America, Washington, DC Peter Shaw, TRB Liaison 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 140: A Guide for Planning and Operating Flexible Public Transportation Services describes the types of flexible transportation service strategies appropriate for small, medium, and large urban and rural transit agencies. This guide includes discussions on financial and political realities, operational issues, and institutional mechanisms appropriate for implementing and sustaining flexible transportation services. This guide will be helpful to public transportation providers, decision-makers, policymakers, planners, and others interested in considering flexible services. Public transportation agencies face increasing demands to serve ever more diverse markets that may require cost-effective, unconventional solutions. Flexible transportation services show great promise in meeting the mobility needs of many individuals nationwide. Flexible transportation service may be especially valuable to those communities that are try- ing to address ADA requirements and those classified as suburban, small urban, and rural, where mobility markets are often defined by low or irregular demand. In addition to new flexible services, existing traditional fixed-route and paratransit transit services may be converted into flexible services. In order to answer the questions of whether, and in what circumstances, the introduction of flexible service may be feasible, a broad, comprehensive look at planning and operating flexible transportation services as part of an array of options was needed. To develop the guide, the research team conducted a comprehensive review of flexible service types operated in the United States and Canada over the last 10 years that included identifying flexible services that have been successfully implemented or are close to imple- mentation. Services that were successfully implemented but not sustained were also reviewed. In this review, the research team gathered key information from a cross section of public transportation providers on (1) the characteristics of the providerâs flexible ser- vice, (2) the providerâs reasons for considering flexible service, (3) the way that the flexible service was implemented, (4) the benefits of implementing flexible service, (5) the political environment, and (6) the operational considerations. Also, the researchers made a series of on-site visits to transit agencies that operate flexible public transportation service to gather information on lessons learned. Finally, the guide identifies a range of best practices for implementing flexible public transportation services and includes âdecision guidesâ to assist agencies in rural, small urban, and large urban areas in determining whether and how to provide flexible transportation services. F O R E W O R D By Gwen Chisholm Smith Staff Officer Transportation Research Board
1 Summary 4 Chapter 1 Basic Concepts of Flexible Public Transportation Service 4 1.1 History and Definitions 5 1.2 Current Status of Flexible Public Transportation Services 19 Chapter 2 Framework/Decision Matrix for Considering Flexible Public Transportation Service 19 2.1 Rural Flexible Public Transportation Service 24 2.2 Small Urban Flexible Public Transportation Service 27 2.3 Large Urban Flexible Public Transportation Service 31 Chapter 3 Implementing New Flexible Public Transportation Services 31 3.1 Analyzing Existing ConditionsâWhat Data Should I Review? 34 3.2 Obtaining Community and Policymaker Input 35 3.3 Planning and Scheduling Flexible Public Transportation Service 36 3.4 Understanding the Costs 37 3.5 Capital NeedsâVehicles and Technology 40 3.6 Marketing Flexible Public Transportation Service 42 Chapter 4 Best Practices of Successful Flexible Public Transportation Services 44 4.1 Mason County Transportation Authority 48 4.2 St. Joseph Transit 51 4.3 Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission 56 4.4 Pierce County Public Transportation Benefit Area Corporation 59 4.5 Regional Transportation District 67 4.6 Jacksonville Transportation Authority 73 4.7 Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority 76 4.8 Mountain Rides Transportation Authority 78 4.9 South Central Adult Services Council, Inc. 82 4.10 Omnitrans 88 References 89 Unpublished Material C O N T E N T S