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4 C H A P T E R 1 This chapter provides information about the purpose of the synthesis effort, issues to be addressed by the research, scope of the research (e.g., what is and is not included), and research method. This chapter also provides relevant definitions and explains the reportâs organization (e.g., why the research findings are organized around transit planning challenge themes). Objectives and Scope The purpose of TCRP Synthesis SH-20 research is to document innovative practices for solving transit planning challenges faced by small and mid-sized transit agencies. These cur- rently include, but are not limited to: concerns about ridership trends, land-use changes and demographic shifts; first-mile/last-mile (FMLM) connections; changes in relevant regulations; approaches to service design; funding challenges; and leveraging technology to manage and/or improve service delivery. These challenges apply to fixed-route, flex-route, and demand-responsive transit services. Objectives of the research are to: â¢ Conduct surveys and case examples about innovative or unique approaches to addressing planning challenges of relevance to small and mid-sized transit agencies in the United States. â¢ Document costs, benefits, and lessons learned at agencies that implemented innovative or unique approaches to solving planning challenges. Although the synthesis effort focuses on transit planning challenges faced by small and mid- sized agencies, research results also may be relevant to large transit agencies. This is because the service area of a large transit agency may include subareas comparable to those of a small or mid-sized agency. Likewise, results of the synthesis research may apply to state DOTs, regional planning groupsâsuch as metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) and councils of gov- ernment (COGs)âand local governments that play a role in funding, planning, or otherwise supporting transit service. Definition of Key Terms For this synthesis research, a âtransit agencyâ is the operator or provider of transit service. A âsmallâ transit agency provides fewer than 4Â million annual passenger trips across all modes. A âmid-sizedâ transit agency provides 4Â million to 10Â million annual passenger trips across all modes. Introduction
Introduction 5Â Â Technical Approach The team conducted the synthesis research by â¢ Reviewing previous research to identify key transit planning challenges faced by small and mid-sized transit agencies. â¢ Surveying small and mid-sized transit agencies to confirm key transit planning challenges they face. â¢ Conducting case examples to obtain detailed information about: â Innovative approaches that small and mid-sized agencies (as well as large agencies serving lower-density communities) have used to address key transit planning challenges. â The impacts of those approaches on staffing, funding, data needs, and service delivery. â¢ Identifying and organizing relevant lessons learned, challenges, and opportunities. â¢ Identifying and organizing relevant future research needs. Accordingly, the conduct of the synthesis research included a focused literature review, survey of small and mid-sized transit agencies, case examples of transit agencies that have successfully addressed their transit planning challenges using innovative or unique approaches, and devel- opment of a report. Report Organization This synthesis report begins with a summary of the research results and this introductory chapter. The second chapter provides background information about transit planning chal- lenges and previous research. The third chapter describes the method for and results of the transit agency survey conducted to focus the synthesisâ case examples. The method for the case examples is presented in ChapterÂ 4, and results are provided in ChapterÂ 5. ChapterÂ 6 summa- rizes the conclusions of the synthesis effort and discusses future research needs. Following a list of references and acronyms used in this report, appendices contain a copy of the transit agency survey questionnaire, lists of survey respondents and selected survey responses, supplemental background information for some case example agencies, and a list of selected federal funding resources.