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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 SYNTHESIS 53 Operational Experiences with Flexible Transit Services A Synthesis of Transit Practice CONSULTANT DAVID KOFFMAN Nelson\Nygaard Consulting Associates San Francisco TOPIC PANEL HOWARD BENN, Montgomery County (Maryland) Transit STEVEN A. BILLINGS, Missouri Department of Transportation LIPING FU, University of Waterloo TODD HEMINGSON, VIA Metropolitan Transit GREG HULL, American Public Transportation Association BARBARA LUPRO, Murrieta, California WILLIAM MENZIES, Winnipeg Transit System PETER L. SHAW, Transportation Research Board MARK SWOPE, Kansas City Area Transportation Authority WILLIAM WIGGINS, Federal Transit Administration (Liaison) SUBJECT AREAS Public Transit Research Sponsored by the Federal Transit Administration in Cooperation with the Transit Development Corporation TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH BOARD WASHINGTON, D.C. 2004 www.TRB.org
TRANSIT COOPERATIVE RESEARCH PROGRAM The nationâs growth and the need to meet mobility, environ- mental, 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 nec- essary to solve operating problems, to adapt appropriate new technologies from other industries, and to introduce innovations into the transit industry. The Transit Cooperative Research Pro- gram (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, pub- lished in 1987 and based on a study sponsored by 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 successful National Coopera- tive Highway Research Program, undertakes research and other technical activities in response to the needs of transit service provid- ers. The scope of TCRP includes a variety of transit research fields including planning service configuration, equipment, facili- ties, operations, human resources, maintenance, policy, and ad- ministrative practices. TCRP was established under FTA sponsorship in July 1992. Proposed by the U.S. Department of Transportation, TCRP was authorized as part of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Effi- ciency Act of 1991 (ISTEA). On May 13, 1992, a memorandum agreement outlining TCRP operating procedures was executed by the three cooperating organizations: FTA, the National Academy of Sciences, acting through the Transportation Research Board (TRB), and the Transit Development Corporation, Inc. (TDC), a nonprofit educational and research organization established by APTA. TDC is responsible for forming the independent govern- ing board, designated as the TCRP Oversight and Project Selec- tion (TOPS) Committee. Research problem statements for TCRP are solicited periodi- cally but may be submitted to TRB by anyone at anytime. It is the responsibility of the TOPS Committee to formulate the re- search program by identifying 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, ap- pointed by TRB. The panels prepare project statements (requests for proposals), select contractors, and provide technical 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 re- search programs 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 disseminating TCRP results to the intended end-users of the re- search: transit agencies, service providers, and suppliers. TRB provides a series of research reports, syntheses of transit practice, and other supporting 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 coop- eratively address common operational problems. TCRP results support and complement other ongoing transit research and train- ing programs. TCRP SYNTHESIS 53 Project J-7, Topic SB-09 ISSN 1073-4880 ISBN 0-309-07010-4 Library of Congress Control No. 2004108043 Â© 2004 Transportation Research Board Price $16.00 NOTICE The project that is the subject of this report was a part of the Transit Cooperative Research Program conducted by the Transportation Re- search Board with the approval of the Governing Board of the Na- tional Research Council. Such approval reflects the Governing Boardâs judgment that the project concerned is appropriate with re- spect to both the purposes and resources of the National Research Council. The members of the technical advisory panel selected to monitor this project and to review this report were chosen for recognized scholarly competence and with due consideration for the balance of disciplines appropriate to the project. The opinions and conclusions expressed or implied are those of the research agency that performed the research, and while they have been accepted as appropriate by the technical panel, they are not necessarily those of the Transportation Research Board, the Transit Development Corporation, the National Research Council, or the Federal Transit Administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation. Each report is reviewed and accepted for publication by the tech- nical panel according to procedures established and monitored by the Transportation Research Board Executive Committee and the Gov- erning Board of the National Research Council. Special Notice The Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, the Transit Development Corporation, the National Research Coun- cil, and the Federal Transit Administration (sponsor of the Transit Cooperative Research Program) do not endorse products or manu- facturers. Trade or manufacturersâ names appear herein solely be- cause they are considered essential to the clarity and completeness of the project report. Published reports of the TRANSIT COOPERATIVE RESEARCH PROGRAM are available from: Transportation Research Board Business Office 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, D.C. 20001 and can be ordered through the Internet at: http://www.national-academies.org/trb/bookstore Printed in the United States of America