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2017 N A T I O N A L C O O P E R A T I V E H I G H W A Y R E S E A R C H P R O G R A M NCHRP RESEARCH REPORT 861 Best Practices in Rural Regional Mobility KFH Group, Incorporated Bethesda, MD I n A s s o c i a t i o n W i t h Cambridge Systematics, Inc. Cambridge, MA Subscriber Categories Highwaysâ â¢â PublicâTransportationâ â¢â AdministrationâandâManagement Research sponsored by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration
NATIONAL COOPERATIVE HIGHWAY RESEARCH PROGRAM Systematic, well-designed research is the most effective way to solve many problems facing highway administrators and engineers. Often, highway problems are of local interest and can best be studied by highway departments individually or in cooperation with their state universities and others. However, the accelerating growth of highway transportation results in increasingly complex problems of wide inter- est to highway authorities. These problems are best studied through a coordinated program of cooperative research. Recognizing this need, the leadership of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) in 1962 ini- tiated an objective national highway research program using modern scientific techniquesâthe National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP). NCHRP is supported on a continuing basis by funds from participating member states of AASHTO and receives the full cooperation and support of the Federal Highway Administration, United States Department of Transportation. The Transportation Research Board (TRB) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine was requested by AASHTO to administer the research program because of TRBâs recognized objectivity and understanding of modern research practices. TRB is uniquely suited for this purpose for many reasons: TRB maintains an extensive com- mittee structure from which authorities on any highway transportation subject may be drawn; TRB possesses avenues of communications and cooperation with federal, state, and local governmental agencies, univer- sities, and industry; TRBâs relationship to the National Academies is an insurance of objectivity; and TRB maintains a full-time staff of special- ists in highway transportation matters to bring the findings of research directly to those in a position to use them. The program is developed on the basis of research needs identified by chief administrators and other staff of the highway and transporta- tion departments and by committees of AASHTO. Topics of the highest merit are selected by the AASHTO Standing Committee on Research (SCOR), and each year SCORâs recommendations are proposed to the AASHTO Board of Directors and the National Academies. Research projects to address these topics are defined by NCHRP, and qualified research agencies are selected from submitted proposals. Administra- tion and surveillance of research contracts are the responsibilities of the National Academies and TRB. The needs for highway research are many, and NCHRP can make significant contributions to solving highway transportation problems of mutual concern to many responsible groups. The program, however, is intended to complement, rather than to substitute for or duplicate, other highway research programs. Published research reports of the NATIONAL COOPERATIVE HIGHWAY RESEARCH PROGRAM are available from Transportation Research Board Business Office 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001 and can be ordered through the Internet by going to http://www.national-academies.org and then searching for TRB Printed in the United States of America NCHRP RESEARCH REPORT 861 Project 20-65/Task 56 ISSN 2572-3766 (Print) ISSN 2572-3774 (Online) ISBN 978-0-309-44665-5 Library of Congress Control Number 2017957172 Â© 2017 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, FRA, FTA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology, PHMSA, or TDC 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 research 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 National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 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 Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; or the program sponsors. The Transportation Research Board; the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; and the sponsors of the National Cooperative Highway 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.
The National Academy of Sciences was established in 1863 by an Act of Congress, signed by President Lincoln, as a private, non- governmental institution to advise the nation on issues related to science and technology. Members are elected by their peers for outstanding contributions to research. Dr. Marcia McNutt is president. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences to bring the practices of engineering to advising the nation. Members are elected by their peers for extraordinary contributions to engineering. Dr. C. D. Mote, Jr., is president. The National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) was established in 1970 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences to advise the nation on medical and health issues. Members are elected by their peers for distinguished contributions to medicine and health. Dr. Victor J. Dzau is president. The three Academies work together as the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation and conduct other activities to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions. The National Academies also encourage education and research, recognize outstanding contributions to knowledge, and increase public understanding in matters of science, engineering, and medicine. Learn more about the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine at www.national-academies.org. The Transportation Research Board is one of seven major programs of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The mission of the Transportation Research Board is to increase the benefits that transportation contributes to society by providing leadership in transportation innovation and progress through research and information exchange, conducted within a setting that is objective, interdisciplinary, and multimodal. The Boardâs varied committees, task forces, and panels annually engage about 7,000 engineers, scientists, and other transportation researchers and practitioners from the public and private sectors and academia, all of whom contribute their expertise in the public interest. The program is supported by state transportation departments, federal agencies including the component administrations of the U.S. Department of Transportation, and other organizations and individuals interested in the development of transportation. Learn more about the Transportation Research Board at www.TRB.org.
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 CRP STAFF FOR NCHRP RESEARCH REPORT 861 Christopher J. Hedges, Director, Cooperative Research Programs Lori L. Sundstrom, Deputy Director, Cooperative Research Programs Gwen Chisholm Smith, Senior Program Officer Eileen P. Delaney, Director of Publications Kami Cabral, Editor NCHRP PROJECT 20-65/TASk 56 PANEL Area of Special Projects Sharon L. Edgar, Michigan DOT, Lansing, MI (Chair) Charles R. Carr, Mississippi DOT, Jackson, MS Charles âChuckâ Dyer, Ohio DOT, Columbus, OH David C. Harris, New Mexico DOT, Santa Fe, NM Lyn Hellegaard, Missoula Ravalli Transportation Management Association, Missoula, MT David T. Spacek, Regional Transportation Authority, Skokie, IL Dinah L. Van Der Hyde, Salem, OR Faith Hall, FTA Liaison Harlan Miller, FHWA Liaison Marianne Stock, FTA Liaison Shayne H. Gill, AASHTO Liaison Richard B. Price, AASHTO Liaison Richard Weaver, APTA Liaison Christopher Zeilinger, CTAA Liaison Stephen J. Andrle, TRB Liaison Claire E. Randall, TRB Liaison
NCHRP Research Report 861: Best Practices in Rural Regional Mobility addresses the role of state transit program policies and regional planning agencies in the development of ser- vices that fall in the middle ground between intercity bus service and rural public transpor- tation. This middle ground is defined as rural regional services. The report provides lessons learned on how to address needs for rural regional mobility, and a checklist for developing a rural regional route is presented. The results of this research may be used as a resource by state departments of transportation (DOTs), rural regional planning agencies, and transit providers to plan and provide for rural regional mobility. Rural regional mobility generally includes intra-state, cross-county transportation such as non-emergency medical trips to regional medical centers and trips to commuting-based colleges. These trips may fall within the gray area between the definition of rural public transportation and rural intercity bus transportation. This gray area may exist because there are routine trips that are too lengthy and time consuming to be cost-effective for local rural demand response providers [supported by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Sec- tion 5311 formula program], while at the same time the trips cannot be effectively met by intercity bus services [supported with FTA Intercity Bus Program Section 5311(f) funds] because the service is too infrequent, has lengthy travel times (with long layovers and mul- tiple transfers), or is too expensive for routine, perhaps daily, trips. The focus of this research is on scheduled services in rural areas that are open to the general public, offering mobility options that can serve multiple market segments. Special- ized transportation services such as paratransit, community volunteer drivers, and trans- portation voucher programs provide mobility options for seniors, people with disabilities, individuals with low incomes, and veterans. However, this patchwork of demand response transit services developed to serve particular client groups or trip types is limited in meet- ing the broader need for regional mobility. The rural regional services described in this research have benefited from significant public investment through a broad range of federal and state funding programs, complemented with major efforts by nonprofit organizations and community groups. These services improve mobility, employment, and education opportunities; provide access to healthcare and community services; and offer connectivity to the national transportation network. These services are particularly important for the transportation-disadvantaged, who may not have alternatives but have needs for regional trips that are not met by specialized services. NCHRP Research Report 861 assists state DOTs with planning and providing efficient rural regional mobility. It defines rural regional transit services and identifies states with F O R E W O R D ByâGwenâChisholmâSmith StaffâOfficer TransportationâResearchâBoard
transit policies or programs that have been designed to support regional services. Also, the report includes findings from a literature review and presents 12 case studies that describe examples of state policies, organizational structures, funding sources, and service designs. This report was prepared by KFH Group, Incorporated, in association with Cambridge Systematics, Inc.
1 Chapter 1â RuralâRegionalâDefined 1 Research Objective 1 Rural Regional Defined 4 Why Focus on Rural Regional? 4 Need for Rural Regional Public Transportation Services 5 Five Myths about Rural Regional Transit Services 7 Organization of This Research Report 8 Chapter 2â LiteratureâReview 8 Study Process 8 Relevant Published Reports 14 PowerPoint Presentations from the TRB Rural and Intercity Bus Conferences 17 Conclusions Drawn from the Literature Review 17 Literature Review Bibliography 19 Chapter 3â IdentificationâofâCaseâStudies 19 Introduction 19 Published Data 21 Classification Characteristics 21 Rural Regional Transit Service Criteria 23 Approach to Categorizing States 23 State Policy and Support for Rural Regional Transit Services 24 Survey of the States 24 Survey Issues 26 State Programs, Regional Organizations, and Regional Services 27 Selection of Case Studies 32 Identification of Case Studies Bibliography 34 Chapter 4â CaseâStudies 34 Introduction 34 Case Study: CaliforniaâLake Transit Authority 39 Case Study: ColoradoâColorado Department of Transportation Statewide NetworkâBustang and South Central Council of Governments 45 Case Study: IowaâRegional XII Council of Governments Western Iowa TransitâDenison to Harlan Commuter Service 50 Case Study: KansasâStatewide Regional Transit ModelâFlint Hills Implementation and Transportation Works for Kansas 56 Case Study: MaineâPortland Intercity ServiceâShuttleBus-Zoom 61 Case Study: MichiganâAlger County Transit 67 Case Study: MinnesotaâMinnesota Department of Transportation, Central Community Transit ImplementationâTransit for Our Future Initiative C O N T E N T S
72 Case Study: MontanaâFlathead Transit and North Central Montana Transit and Regional Connections Fostered Through Community Organizations 80 Case Study: New MexicoâNew Mexico Regional Transit Districts, North Central Regional Transit District 86 Case Study: OregonâOregon Department of Transportation Transit Network Program and Northwest Connector Program 95 Case Study: VermontâRural Regional ServicesâJoint Schedules on Regional Routes 102 Case Study: WisconsinâRegional Service in Southwest Wisconsin, Scenic Mississippi Regional Transit Bus 109 Chapter 5â LessonsâLearnedâToolkit 109 Introduction 109 Lesson One: State Policies Can Make a Difference 111 Lesson Two: Different Organizational Approaches Can Work 113 Lesson Three: Local Champions Are Required 114 Lesson Four: Needs of Multiple Markets Should Be Addressed 116 Lesson Five: An Appropriate Service Design Will Attract More Riders 119 Lesson Six: Connectivity and Providing Service Information Are Important 122 Lesson Seven: Creative Funding May Be Needed 128 Summary of Lessons Learned 130 Chapter 6â DevelopingâaâRuralâRegionalâRouteâChecklist 135 Endnotes 136 Appendix Aâ âRatioâofâIntercityâ5311âSubrecipientsâandâ SubrecipientsâThatâServeâMulti-StateâAreas 138 Appendix Bâ BusâFacilitiesâServingâIntercityâandâLocalâRegions 143 Appendix Câ RuralâRegionalâMobilityâSurvey