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Microtransit or General Public DemandâResponse Transit Services: State of the Practice A Synthesis of Transit Practice Joel Volinski Boca Raton, FL 2019 Research sponsored by the Federal Transit Administration in cooperation with the Transit Development Corporation Subject Areas Public Transportation â¢ Administration and Management â¢ Passenger Transportation 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 141
TCRP SYNTHESIS 141 Project J-7, Topic SB-30 ISSN 1073-4880 ISBN 978-0-309-48018-5 Â© 2019 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. Cover photo: Example of a tablet used by Connector service operators in West Salem, Oregon. NOTICE 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 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 Transporta- tion 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 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. 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 by going to http://www.national-academies.org and then searching for TRB Printed in the United States of America TRANSIT COOPERATIVE RESEARCH PROGRAM The nationâs growth and the need to meet mobility, environmental, and energy objectives place demands on public transit systems. Cur- rent 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 prob- lems, adapt appropriate new technologies from other industries, and introduce innovations into the transit industry. The Transit Coopera- tive 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 successful National Coop- erative Highway Research Program (NCHRP), undertakes research and other technical activities in response to the needs of transit ser- vice providers. The scope of TCRP includes various 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. Proposed by the U.S. Department of Transportation, TCRP was authorized as part of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA). On May 13, 1992, a memorandum agreement outlining TCRP operating procedures was executed by the three cooperating organi- zations: FTA; the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, 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 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 TRB. The panels prepare project statements (requests for propos- als), 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 research programs since 1962. As in other TRB activities, TCRP project panels serve voluntarily without compensation. Because research cannot have the desired effect if products fail to reach the intended audience, special emphasis is placed on disseminat- ing TCRP results to the intended users of the research: transit agen- cies, 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, train- ing aids, field visits, and other activities to ensure that results are imple- mented by urban and rural transit industry practitioners. TCRP provides a forum where transit agencies can cooperatively address common operational problems. TCRP results support and complement other ongoing transit research and training programs.
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.
CRP STAFF FOR TCRP SYNTHESIS 141 Christopher J. Hedges, Director, Cooperative Research Programs Lori L. Sundstrom, Deputy Director, Cooperative Research Programs Gwen Chisholm Smith, Manager, Transit Cooperative Research Program Mariela Garcia-Colberg, Senior Program Officer Sheila A. Moore, Program Associate Eileen P. Delaney, Director of Publications Natalie Barnes, Associate Director of Publications Linda A. Dziobek, Senior Editor TCRP PROJECT J-7 PANEL Brad J. Miller, Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority, St. Petersburg, FL (Chair) Donna DeMartino, San Joaquin Regional Transit District, Stockton, CA Michael Ford, Regional Transportation District, Denver, CO Bobby J. Griffin, Griffin and Associates, Flower Mound, TX Ronald Kilcoyne, North County Transit District, Oceanside, CA Jeanne Krieg, Eastern Contra Costa Transit Authority, Antioch, CA David A. Lee, Connecticut Transit, Hartford Elizabeth Presutti, Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority, IA Robert H. Prince, Jr., FOOT PRINCE, Jacksonville, FL Jarrett W. Stoltzfus, Proterra, City of Industry, CA Faith Hall, FTA Liaison Paul J. Larrousse, NTI Liaison (deceased) TOPIC SB-30 PANEL Jameson Auten, Kansas City Area Transportation Authority, Kansas City, MO Charlotte Frei, DemandTrans Solutions, Chicago, IL Hejun Kang, Fairfax County DOT/Transit, Fairfax, VA Young-Jae Lee, Morgan State University, Baltimore, MD Patti Post, Patti Post & Associates, Pacific Palisades, CA Norman C. Schenck, Lake Erie Transit, Monroe, MI Jarrett W. Stoltzfus, Proterra, City of Industry, CA Richie Khanh P. Nguyen, FTA Liaison Rik Opstelten, FTA Liaison Stephen J. Andrle, 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
ABOUT THE TCRP SYNTHESIS PROGRAM Transit administrators, engineers, and researchers often face problems for which information already exists, either in documented form or as undocumented experience and practice. This infor- mation may be fragmented, scattered, and unevaluated. As a consequence, full knowledge of what has been learned about a problem may not be brought to bear on its solution. Costly research findings may go unused, valuable experience may be overlooked, and due consideration may not be given to recommended practices for solving or alleviating the problem. There is information on nearly every subject of concern to the transit industry. Much of it derives from research or from the work of practitioners faced with problems in their day-to-day work. To provide a systematic means for assembling and evaluating such useful information and to make it available to the entire transit community, the Transit Cooperative Research Program Oversight and Project Selection (TOPS) Committee authorized the Transportation Research Board to undertake a continuing study. This study, TCRP Project J-7, âSynthesis of Information Related to Transit Prob- lems,â searches out and synthesizes useful knowledge from all available sources and prepares concise, documented reports on specific topics. Reports from this endeavor constitute a TCRP report series, Synthesis of Transit Practice. This synthesis series reports on current knowledge and practice, in a compact format, without the detailed directions usually found in handbooks or design manuals. Each report in the series provides a compendium of the best knowledge available on those measures found to be the most successful in resolving specific problems. FOREWORD By Mariela Garcia-Colberg Staff Officer Transportation Research Board TCRP Synthesis 141 provides an overview of the current state of the practice of transit systems that are directly providing general public demandâresponse or microtransit with their own vehicles and personnel or using a traditional contractor. The study, prepared by Joel Volinski, reviews and analyzes the experiences of more than 20 transit agencies that have either implemented or are planning to implement such services. The study presents a literature review and results from a survey of 22 transit agencies that have had current experiences with microtransit. Case examples of five transit systems are provided. These case examples present in-depth analyses of the processes and considerations, challenges, lessons learned, and keys to success. The need for future research is also discussed at the end of the report. This synthesis will provide useful information to policy makers and managers of transit agencies. The report will be of particular interest to transit agency personnel engaged in planning, market- ing, operations, customer service, community relations, administrative services, procurement, labor relations, and information technology services. The report should also be of interest to communities that do not receive any public transit services but that are considering doing so, whether the public transit service would be provided by the nearest public transit agency or by establishing such service through a direct contract with a private provider. The members of the topic panel are acknowledged on page iv. This synthesis is an immediately useful document that records the practices that were acceptable within the limitations of the knowledge available at the time of its preparation. As progress in research and practice continues, new knowledge will be added to that now at hand.
1 Summary 5 Chapter 1 Introduction 5 Project Background 6 Purpose of Synthesis Report and Intended Audience 7 Technical Approaches 8 Organization of This Report 9 Chapter 2 Literature Review 9 Transit Cooperative Research Program Publications 10 Early Adopters of General Public DemandâResponse Transit Service 11 Literature Covering Recent Deployment of On-Demand Dynamic Route Software and Microtransit 13 Chapter 3 Survey Results from Public Transit Systems That Have Implemented General Public Demandâ Response/Microtransit Service 13 Survey Methodology 14 Reasons for Providing General Public DRT/Microtransit Service 17 Miscellaneous Reasons for Providing General Public DRT/Microtransit Service 18 Planning and Design of General Public DRT/Microtransit Service 21 Marketing of General Public DRT/Microtransit Service 23 How General Public DRT/Microtransit Is Integrated into an Agencyâs Family of Services 25 Factors That Influence When to Contract for DRT Service 27 Procurement Processes and Key Provisions Within Contracts for DRT Service 29 Types of Vehicles Used for General Public DRT/Microtransit Service 31 Training Necessary for Transit Agency Staff 33 Technology Used to Make General Public DRT Efficient and Customer Friendly 36 Basic Performance Metrics and the Business Case for General Public DRT/Microtransit Service 39 Lessons Learned 40 Barriers to the Provision of General Public DRT Services 41 Customer and Community Feedback 43 Chapter 4 Case Examples 43 Denver Regional Transportation District 51 Houston METRO 56 Sacramento Regional Transit District 64 Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority 73 Salem Area Mass Transit District C O N T E N T S
85 Chapter 5 Conclusions 85 Overview 87 Areas of Future Study 89 Glossary 92 References 94 Appendix A E-mail to Transit Agencies and Questionnaire/ Survey Instrument for Project 106 Appendix B Request for Proposal for Microtransit Service