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Microtransit or General Public Demand–Response Transit Services: State of the Practice (2019)

Chapter: Appendix A - E-mail to Transit Agencies and Questionnaire/Survey Instrument for Project

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Suggested Citation:"Appendix A - E-mail to Transit Agencies and Questionnaire/Survey Instrument for Project." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Microtransit or General Public Demand–Response Transit Services: State of the Practice. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25414.
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix A - E-mail to Transit Agencies and Questionnaire/Survey Instrument for Project." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Microtransit or General Public Demand–Response Transit Services: State of the Practice. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25414.
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix A - E-mail to Transit Agencies and Questionnaire/Survey Instrument for Project." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Microtransit or General Public Demand–Response Transit Services: State of the Practice. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25414.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix A - E-mail to Transit Agencies and Questionnaire/Survey Instrument for Project." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Microtransit or General Public Demand–Response Transit Services: State of the Practice. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25414.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix A - E-mail to Transit Agencies and Questionnaire/Survey Instrument for Project." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Microtransit or General Public Demand–Response Transit Services: State of the Practice. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25414.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix A - E-mail to Transit Agencies and Questionnaire/Survey Instrument for Project." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Microtransit or General Public Demand–Response Transit Services: State of the Practice. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25414.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix A - E-mail to Transit Agencies and Questionnaire/Survey Instrument for Project." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Microtransit or General Public Demand–Response Transit Services: State of the Practice. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25414.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix A - E-mail to Transit Agencies and Questionnaire/Survey Instrument for Project." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Microtransit or General Public Demand–Response Transit Services: State of the Practice. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25414.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix A - E-mail to Transit Agencies and Questionnaire/Survey Instrument for Project." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Microtransit or General Public Demand–Response Transit Services: State of the Practice. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25414.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix A - E-mail to Transit Agencies and Questionnaire/Survey Instrument for Project." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Microtransit or General Public Demand–Response Transit Services: State of the Practice. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25414.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix A - E-mail to Transit Agencies and Questionnaire/Survey Instrument for Project." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Microtransit or General Public Demand–Response Transit Services: State of the Practice. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25414.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix A - E-mail to Transit Agencies and Questionnaire/Survey Instrument for Project." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Microtransit or General Public Demand–Response Transit Services: State of the Practice. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25414.
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94 A P P E N D I X A E-mail to Transit Agencies and Questionnaire/Survey Instrument for Project In the early months of 2018, an e-mail was sent to all transit agencies listed in the APTA membership directory in an attempt to identify which agencies were engaging in dynamic general public demand–response transit service. The e-mail and the questionnaire reference the original title of the report. The original title was subsequently changed to the title of the published report. A copy of that e-mail follows: “Dear XXXXX, I have been selected to serve as the Principal Investigator for TCRP Synthesis Project [Topic] SB-30 entitled “Current Practices in Providing Demand-Response Transit.” The Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP), in place since 1992, develops near-term, practical solutions to problems facing public transportation through research projects that are governed by panels made of transit industry representatives. TCRP is managed by the Transportation Research Board and has been a vital source of free information for operating transit agencies. As you know, transit agencies are facing many challenges as they carry out their mission to provide safe, efficient, and effective service. Recently, some transit agencies have decided to transform their

E-mail to Transit Agencies and Questionnaire/Survey Instrument for Project 95 service delivery models by providing or expanding general public demand-response service. We define general public demand-response transit service as an advanced, user-oriented form of public transport characterized by Flexible routing and scheduling of small/medium vehicles operating in shared-ride mode between pickup and drop-off locations according to passengers’ needs and the transit agency’s ability to provide. In some cases, general public demand-response service is being provided as a substitute for fixed route service, particularly in areas or during times of relatively low demand for regular transit. In other cases, it is being provided to help solve the first mile/last mile problem that current and potential transit users face as they attempt to use public transit. Many transit agencies have partnered with Transportation Network Companies such as Uber, Lyft, or Juno by providing vouchers or some other form of payments to the companies on a trip-by-trip basis. TCRP Project [Topic] SB-30 will not be reviewing those trip-by-trip arrangements transit agencies have with TNC services. Rather, this project’s objective is to learn more from those agencies that either have established, or are planning to establish, general demand-response services where the transit agency (a) runs the service themselves (with the assistance of some sort of scheduling/routing technology solution) or (b) contracts this service out to a private provider under the auspices of a traditional contract with appropriate oversight mechanisms. Examples might include, but are not limited to: - Transit agency uses its own internal processes to deploy their own drivers for on-demand service with response times no worse than one hour - Transit agency uses Bridj on-demand routing software to deploy their own drivers/vehicles for on-demand service (the Kansas City example)

96 Microtransit or General Public Demand–Response Transit Services: State of the Practice - Transit agency uses on-demand routing software from Transloc to deploy their own drivers/vehicles for on-demand service - Transit agency uses on-demand routing software from Transloc to deploy service via their own vehicles with contracted Transdev drivers - Transit agencies use on-demand routing software from Via to deploy service with their own vehicles If your agency does not, has not, or is not in the process of establishing such service, you do not need to read any further, but please let me know with a quick return email that this project doesn’t apply to you. Your participation is not necessary, but I need to know through a quick email response advising me of that. However, if your agency is providing such service, has experimented with such service, or is well on the way toward establishing such service, we hope you will participate and assist the industry by completing the attached survey. It might require input from a variety of your staff who specialize in different aspects of establishing such services. It would be very helpful if you could establish a primary contact person for us to communicate with (if not yourself) and to solicit the assistance of those who might be needed to complete the survey that has questions dealing with a variety of aspects of the service (e.g., planning, marketing, community relations, technology, labor considerations, Title VI, funding, fare policies, contracting, performance metrics, and vehicles deployed). This is not a multiple choice or “check the box” kind of survey. All the questions will require responses provided in text format. It is likely the survey will take between one and two hours to complete. As a

E-mail to Transit Agencies and Questionnaire/Survey Instrument for Project 97 former transit GM, I know that is asking a lot. However, TCRP relies on the goodwill of transit agencies to contribute to the expansion of knowledge by sharing their experiences so that all may benefit. Your participation is indispensable to the success of the project and truly appreciated by fellow transit managers throughout the country. As always, this TCRP project is guided by a panel of public transit professionals including many transit agency managers. The information collected from dozens of agencies will be synthesized and shared with you and the transit industry through a final report which will help other transit agencies provide the best general public demand-response service possible. Should you have any questions or need to contact me, my email is volinski@cutr.usf.edu and my phone number is 954-554-7011. We look forward to your response and hoped for participation in this project by March 29, 2018. Best regards, Joel Volinski, Principal Investigator, TCRP Project [Topic] SB-30 Questionnaire for TCRP Project SB-30: Current Practices in Providing General Public Demand-Response Transit Thank you very much for taking the time to answer the following questions. We know that there is a certain amount of survey fatigue in the transit industry, and we genuinely appreciate your willingness to participate and share information with the transit community. The answers you provide will help

98 Microtransit or General Public Demand–Response Transit Services: State of the Practice other transit agencies determine whether they will attempt to provide similar services, and even those who already provide some type of general public demand response transit service will benefit from reading this synthesis report. Please note that we are interested in learning more about general public demand-response transit service or micro-transit, not the type of demand response service typically associated with paratransit service for people with disabilities. This TCRP project seeks information about current practices in the provision of dynamic general public demand-response service that either feeds people to and from fixed route service or substitutes for fixed route service whether that is how you serve your entire service area or only during certain times, or in certain geographic portions of your service area. Another way of describing the services we are interested in are advanced, user-oriented forms of public transport characterized by Flexible routing and scheduling of small/medium vehicles operating in shared-ride mode between pickup and drop-off locations according to passengers’ needs and a transit agency’s ability to provide. In addition, the project is not looking for information on demand-response service provided by Transportation Network Companies such as Uber and Lyft that are reimbursed on a trip-by-trip basis. Rather, this project’s objective is to learn more from those agencies that either have established, or are planning to establish, general demand-response services where the transit agency (a) runs the service themselves (with the assistance of some sort of scheduling/routing technology solution), or (b) contracts this service out to a private provider under the auspices of a traditional contract with appropriate oversight mechanisms.

E-mail to Transit Agencies and Questionnaire/Survey Instrument for Project 99 Please answer these questions to the best of your ability. As you might know, there are many elements to consider when providing general public demand-response service such as service planning, fare policies, fleet composition, labor considerations, software applications/technology platforms, equity issues, funding, marketing and outreach, and performance metrics among others. If there are other people within your agency that know more about certain aspects of the service, please don’t hesitate to ask for their assistance in answering questions that are beyond your own expertise. Alternatively, you may provide the name, phone number, and email address of the person in your agency that we can contact to receive that information. Your participation is most sincerely appreciated and absolutely indispensable to the value of this project for other transit managers in the United States! Should you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me (Joel Volinski) at volinski@cutr.usf.edu or by phone at 954-554-7011. Please return the survey to me as an attachment to an email and thank you very, very much! 1. Please provide the following information so that we may follow up if necessary to ensure we understand the information provided through this survey response: Name and title: Phone number: Email address: Please also include the name and contact information of other members of your agency’s staff that we might need to contact that have expertise in addressing questions of which you are not the most knowledgeable:

100 Microtransit or General Public Demand–Response Transit Services: State of the Practice 2. Please provide the following information: The name of your agency: The size of your transit agency in terms of the number of vehicles in your fleet: The number of passengers served per year: The population of your service area: 3. Please identify the nature of the general public demand-response transit service that you provide. Please underline all that apply. Is it: • service for the entire service area • service for only a portion of the service area • service available during all hours • service available only during select hours • point deviation service • fixed route deviation service • call-a-ride service • first mile/last mile service • some other type of service provided by your agency (please describe) 4. Why did the agency decide to provide general public demand-response transit service? What were the primary goals you wished to accomplish? 5. What kind of market analysis was done before determining where and how you would provide general

E-mail to Transit Agencies and Questionnaire/Survey Instrument for Project 101 public demand-response service? Was there a particular target market you hoped to serve and what level of outreach was done to ensure the public was aware of the service and how to use it? 6. Please describe the planning and implementation process of instituting the general public demand- response service, including receiving input from the public and business community. What issues or problems were anticipated during the planning phase and were those problems realized or not? 7. Was there a successful business case made, and please describe the level of political will for this service. 8. When and where is your demand-response transit service provided? Please describe the design of your demand-response service including the determination of what geographic areas to serve, the operational environment, and the level of service to provide. A general description of the type of area served is sufficient, but if you can provide a copy of a brochure or map that illustrates where your service is provided, that would be helpful. 9. Please describe the types of vehicles used for your general public demand-response transit service and why your agency decided to use them. How many are placed in service when demand-response service is provided? 10. Please describe the factors that determined whether your agency would contract for general public demand-response service or provide it with your own agency equipment and personnel. What were the most important factors that determined the model/type of general public demand-response service to provide?

102 Microtransit or General Public Demand–Response Transit Services: State of the Practice 11. If you work in partnership with a private provider for general public demand response service, please describe what you would consider to be the key provisions your agency included within contracts for service through private providers to help ensure the best service possible and describe any other actions your agency took to maximize competition to provide the service. 12. Was your transit agency able to make quick decisions outside of the standard processes governing procurement in order to adjust quickly to lessons learned while providing the service? 13. Please explain what labor considerations had to be addressed to institute the general public demand- response service. Were any work rule changes required? Was the bargaining unit generally cooperative or resistant? 14. Please describe the performance metrics and service standards your agency established for the demand- response service including factors such as: passengers per hour: farebox recovery: permissible response times: improved mobility: increased safety to access transit: other standards:

E-mail to Transit Agencies and Questionnaire/Survey Instrument for Project 103 15. Please describe the following aspects of your fare policies for general public demand-response transit service: • What forms of payment are accepted? • How are fares charged for passengers who are transferring to or from your fixed route service? • Have these policies worked well and do they ensure people of all incomes can access and use the service? • If not, why not, and are you working on a solution? 16. Please describe the software/technology platforms that are used to make demand-response service successful and attractive from both the agency and customer point of view and what the process was that determined their selection. Must customers have smart phones to use the demand-response service or are there other ways to arrange for service? 17. Please describe how your agency addressed ADA requirements, Title VI concerns, and any other equity considerations including the provision of equivalent services. 18. Providing Flexible general public demand-response service is different than providing fixed route service and very new for most transit agencies. Please describe the training and preparation necessary for in- house staff, whether the general public demand-response service is done with your own personnel or through managing private contracts, and other internal agency actions taken to prepare your staff to make the service successful.

104 Microtransit or General Public Demand–Response Transit Services: State of the Practice 19. Please identify the following: • the source of funding for the general public demand-response services: • the costs associated with the service (cost per hour and per trip): • the revenues that are generated from those who use the demand-response service: How do these metrics compare to your agency’s fixed route sources of funding, costs, and revenues? 20. Please summarize the service history and performance of your agency’s general public demand- response services (passengers per hour, cost per hour, or other metrics). Do you consider them a success, and if so, why? 21. Will you continue to provide these services for the foreseeable future and are you starting to talk about providing such service with your own autonomous vehicles? 22. What have you learned that would cause you to have done something differently (or will do differently) in providing general public demand-response service? What are the most valuable lessons learned that you would want to share with other agencies that are considering establishing similar services? 23. How are your general public demand-response transit services integrated into the family of services provided by your transit agency? 24. Please describe the type of feedback you have received from the public regarding your general public demand-response services.

E-mail to Transit Agencies and Questionnaire/Survey Instrument for Project 105 25. Does your agency have any reports or white papers that describe the development and/or performance of the general public demand-response service you provide or plan to provide? If so, could you please provide a copy? 26. What were/are the barriers to providing general public demand-response service with your own vehicles and personnel or through traditional private transit services providers? A total of 27 agencies initially responded indicating that they would participate in the project by either completing the survey or discussing their experiences through a telephone interview. A few agencies did not follow through on their intention to participate, while two other agencies were found not to provide the type of dynamic demand-response service this synthesis project wished to report.

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TRB’s Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) Synthesis 141: TCRP Synthesis 141: Microtransit or General Public Demand–Response Transit Services: State of the Practice provides an overview of the current state of the practice of transit systems that are directly providing general public demand–response or microtransit with their own vehicles and personnel or using a traditional contractor.

The report 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.

General public demand–response transit service is the chameleon of the public transportation world. The service can take many forms in different environments and can even change its form in the middle of its duty cycle. The service can be delivered through point deviation or route deviation methods, as a feeder to fixed route transit, or as a circulator within a community providing a many-to-many or many-to-few service, and can provide circulator and feeder services with the same vehicle.

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