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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 4 - Case Examples." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Innovative Practices for Transit Planning at Small to Mid-Sized Agencies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26204.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 4 - Case Examples." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Innovative Practices for Transit Planning at Small to Mid-Sized Agencies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26204.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 4 - Case Examples." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Innovative Practices for Transit Planning at Small to Mid-Sized Agencies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26204.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 4 - Case Examples." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Innovative Practices for Transit Planning at Small to Mid-Sized Agencies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26204.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 4 - Case Examples." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Innovative Practices for Transit Planning at Small to Mid-Sized Agencies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26204.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 4 - Case Examples." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Innovative Practices for Transit Planning at Small to Mid-Sized Agencies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26204.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 4 - Case Examples." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Innovative Practices for Transit Planning at Small to Mid-Sized Agencies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26204.
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17   C H A P T E R 4 This chapter summarizes the development of the project’s case examples. It discusses how the case example agencies were selected, how they collectively represent diverse agencies, and how the case examples were conducted. Chapter 5 includes the results of the case examples. Purpose The purpose of the case examples was to obtain detailed information about • Innovative approaches that small and mid-sized agencies—as well as large agencies serving lower-density communities—have used to address transit planning challenges within the five survey themes recognized in Chapter 3. • The impacts of those approaches on staffing, funding, data needs, and service delivery. Although the case examples are organized around the five survey themes, several case exam- ples contain information relevant to more than one theme. Method After analyzing survey responses and assessing the findings of the literature review, the research team identified five to eight mini case examples for each transit planning challenge theme devel- oped from survey responses. To the extent possible, case example agencies were selected to rep- resent diversity in size, location, organizational type, and services offered. Wanting to complete at least 20 case examples, the team reached out to 35 agencies, expecting that some might not be able to participate due to the 2020 pandemic ongoing at the time. The 25 agencies able to par- ticipate informed the completion of 30 case examples, as some were able to provide information about more than one relevant project or initiative. Most of the agencies contacted for case examples are transit operators. The research team opted to include a few state DOTs, transit associations, and regional planning organizations in the case examples because of their experience in addressing planning challenges relevant to small and mid-sized transit agencies. The research team interviewed selected agencies via telephone or web conference. After com- pleting each case example, the research team sent the report to the corresponding agency for review and comment. The research team revised case example reports in response to comments received from agencies. Case Examples

18 Innovative Practices for Transit Planning at Small to Mid-Sized Agencies The following questions were used to guide the interviews: • Challenge facing the agency – What was the challenge? – When did it become a challenge? – How did it impact (or how was it likely to impact) the transit agency, service provided, and/ or community? • How the agency addressed the challenge – What approach did the agency take to address the challenge? – What other approaches were considered? – How did the agency evaluate the different approaches and determine which path to take? – How long did it take to implement the solution and address the challenge? – To what extent has the challenge been resolved? • Costs of addressing the challenge – What impact did implementing the solution have on agency staffing? Did the agency have to hire additional staff, hire a contractor or consultant, and/or obtain staff training? – What impact did implementing the solution have on the agency’s budget? What capital investments were needed? Were there software costs? Did operating costs increase? Are there ongoing costs? How did the agency fund implementing the approach (including training)? How does the agency fund any ongoing costs? – Did the agency have to collect new data to implement the solution? Were new data collec- tion tools, techniques, and/or methods needed? Were new analysis tools needed? – Did the solution have impacts on the broader community (e.g., increased traffic congestion, redistribution of tax revenues, and service cuts in particular areas)? Were there unforeseen consequences? – What outreach and coordination activities were needed to ensure implementation of the solution? How did the agency coordinate with partners and other agencies? What kinds of input did the agency get from external parties? How did the agency get buy-in to implement the solution? Were the public and the agency’s partners in favor of the solution? – Can the agency provide reports or other cost quantifications? • Benefits of addressing the challenge – What were the benefits of the solution? These might include increased ridership or funding; improved service delivery, customer satisfaction or employee satisfaction; and benefits to the broader community (e.g., environmental benefits). – Did the solution fully solve the challenge, or did it have other benefits that define it as a success? – Can the agency provide reports or other quantifications of benefits? • Lessons learned/guidance for other agencies – What were the key lessons the agency learned during the process of addressing the chal- lenge? Did the agency learn any surprising lessons? What would the agency do differently if the challenge had to be addressed again? – What guidance would the agency give to other agencies facing the same challenge? Selected Case Examples With the five themes in mind, the research team conducted 30 case examples. They are sum- marized by theme in Table 5 through Table 9.

Case Examples 19   Agency Case Example Summary Case Example Number Page Reference Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority* (St. Petersburg, FL) Created two programs to address the transit needs of specific rider markets: Transportation Disadvantaged (TD) Late Shift and Direct Connect. 1A 25 Rio Metro Regional Transit District (Albuquerque, NM) Operates the Job Access (Demand Taxi) program through zTrip and Earn-a-Bike program in cooperation with Esperanza Community Bicycle Safety Education Center. These are for specific rider markets. 1B 29 Southwest Iowa Transit Agency (Atlantic, IA) Partnered with different employers to implement employee-focused “work routes“ that operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 1C 32 Mountain Line/ Northern Arizona Intergovernmental Public Transit Authority (NAIPTA) (Flagstaff, AZ) Implemented a taxi subsidy program to provide mobility options for Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) paratransit riders within the service area. 1D 34 Marshalltown Municipal Transit (Marshalltown, IA) Targeted outreach to seniors via senior housing communities and increased senior ridership. Not included in the report Jacksonville Transportation Authority* (Jacksonville, FL) Implemented a premium paratransit service that allows more flexibility for customers. Not included in the report *Considered a “large” agency based on the volume of annual passenger trips. Table 5. Theme 1: Service innovation, tailored services, and marketing.

20 Innovative Practices for Transit Planning at Small to Mid-Sized Agencies Agency Case Example Case Example Number Page Reference Corridor MPO (Cedar Rapids, IA) The MPO splits federal funding by mode, which provides a steady stream of funding to the local transit agency for the purchase of three buses per year. As a result, the transit agency’s vehicle replacement needs are smoothed out and, overall, the fleet is safer and more reliable. 2A 36 East Central Iowa COG/CorridorRides (Cedar Rapids, IA) An innovative funding partnership with Iowa DOT led to the establishment of an express bus route connecting two cities 25 miles apart as a congestion mitigation effort during a reconstruction project. 2B 38 Flint Hills Area Transportation Agency (Manhattan, KS) Without local nontax funding sources, the agency would not be able to operate a fixed- route system. A partnership with the local MPO helped the agency find and develop local nontax funding sources. 2C 40 Missoula Ravalli Transportation Management Association (Missoula, MT) Partnered with corporate sponsors to find additional funding for vanpool services. The agency also approached urban Section 5307 providers about establishing urban vanpool routes to address the transportation needs of shift workers. 2D 42 Shore Transit Division, Tri-County Council for the Lower Eastern Shore of Maryland (Salisbury, MD) Converted its fleet from diesel to gasoline and propane, which reduced operating costs and adverse environmental impacts. 2E 44 Mountain Line Transit Authority (Morgantown, WV) Faced a significant funding decrease, but through effective community outreach and an innovative fare program, transit initiatives that produced $9 million in 2016 and $8 million in 2020 were passed by local vote. 2F 46 South Metro Area Regional Transit (Wilsonville, OR) Two cities combined to implement transit serving both. They worked together to plan Not included in the report the service, with one operating and the other funding it. Warren Achievement Center (Monmouth, IL) Obtained an additional funding source to use as a local match for grants. Not included in the report Table 6. Theme 2: Lack of adequate funding.

Case Examples 21   Agency Case Example Case Example Number Page Reference Manatee County Area Transit (Bradenton, FL) Instead of specifications-based procurement, the agency used a unique performance-based procurement to implement new technology. The agency’s technology business plan was critical to its successful implementation. 3A Monroe County Transportation Authority (Scotrun, PA) Runs an effective staff training program. Agency staff also have served as beta testers for new technologies. 3B Oregon DOT Uses a system of regional transit coordinators to support transit agencies across the state. The agency also has invested in the development and distribution of tools and other guidance to assist Oregon transit agencies with transit planning and other challenges. 3C Pennsylvania DOT Coordinated statewide implementation of a paratransit software product, which reduced reporting inconsistencies and facilitated the coordination of service across county lines. 3D Harford Transit LINK/Harford County Government (Abingdon, MD) Changed its utilization of routing software and increased productivity of its ADA/senior paratransit service. 3E 48 50 52 54 57 Brainerd & Crow Wing Public Transit (Brainerd, MN) Implemented technology (i.e., went paperless and employed computer-aided dispatching [CAD]) with great before-and-after statistics. Not included in the report Take Me There (St. James, MN) Uses Google Docs for scheduling. Not included in the report Rockin’ 66 Express (NM) Purchased and implemented a new dispatching system, which has helped the agency “tremendously.“ Not included in the report Table 7. Theme 3: Lack of technology and supporting staff.

22 Innovative Practices for Transit Planning at Small to Mid-Sized Agencies Agency Case Example Case Example Number Page Reference Casper Area Transportation Coalition/City of Casper (WY) As an alternative to reducing the fixed-route footprint, the agency worked with private- sector organizations and charitable foundations to provide rides for low-income and homeless individuals. Ridership in one community rose above the agency’s minimum threshold in just 3 months. In another, ridership has increased, and land- use planners are considering transit access as part of the site development process. 4A City of Huntsville Public Transit (AL) Redesigned its service in 2018, including service frequency improvements, bus stop consolidation, and simplified routing. The agency also introduced a new smartphone app and reduced monthly pass costs. Ridership increased, and average trip length decreased. 4B Coastal Regional Commission (GA) Formed a 10-county coordinated regional rural transit system, which is supported by a board of elected officials and includes three MPOs, two of which provide transit services. 4C Gaston County ACCESS (Gastonia, NC) Faced a loss of revenue and repurposed its overflow transit service to focus on NEMT trips. This saved money and opened capacity to serve general public demand. 4D Harford Transit LINK/Harford County Government (Abingdon, MD) Increased ridership through redesigned fixed-route service that reduced headways with minimal increase in hours and miles of service provided. The agency partnered with state and local stakeholders and made 4E effective use of marketing and bus driver buy-in. Minnesota Public Transit Association/Minnesota DOT Minnesota DOT (MnDOT) hired consultants to develop 5-year service plans for 29 smaller transit agencies in the state. The plans give MnDOT and the agencies a better understanding of transit funding needs. They also support service planning for smaller agencies that do not have such expertise in house. 4F Mountain Line/NAIPTA (Flagstaff, AZ) Reduced headways in key corridors, which led to overall increased ridership and lower trip costs. 4G Mountain Line/NAIPTA (Flagstaff, AZ) Developed an analytical process and documentation format to communicate the impacts of proposed service changes. The resulting assessments help external parties understand the impacts and costs of service changes that may result from community requests, land-use changes, or other events. 4H 59 60 63 65 66 70 72 73 Table 8. Theme 4: Service planning/redesign.

Case Examples 23   Agency Case Example Case Example Number Page Reference Manatee County Area Transit (Bradenton, FL) Implemented door-to-door service in low-density areas to provide FMLM connections to transit. 5A 80 Franklin Regional Transit Authority (Greenfield, MA) Implemented a microtransit pilot to serve the FMLM needs of riders FRTA was unable to accommodate with its fixed-route service. 5B 81 Rogue Valley Transportation District (Medford, OR) Implemented a van-based microtransit service to address mobility issues in an area of challenging topography. 5C 83 St. Lucie County Board of County Commissioners Transit Division (Fort Pierce, FL) Implemented two FMLM services – one offering transportation for education, employment, and nonmedical emergencies, and the other a pilot program in a geofenced area that offers rides 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 5D 86 Mountain Line/NAIPTA (Flagstaff, AZ) Conducted a feasibility study to evaluate the implementation of an on-demand program in the service area. The program is anticipated to include three microtransit and two TNC-based services. 5E 90 Golden Empire Transit District (Bakersfield, CA) Implemented a microtransit service targeted at choice riders, and there is interest in expanding the program. Not included in the report Table 9. Theme 5: Microtransit and FMLM access. Agency Case Example Case Example Number Page Reference Mountain Line Transit Authority (Morgantown, WV) Faced the need to redesign service to accommodate the relocation of its downtown transit hub. The redesign produced immediate benefits. 4I 75 Okanogan County Transit Authority/ TranGO (Okanogan, WA) A new transit authority, the agency successfully designed a new transit system that matched the travel needs of the local population. The agency did not have access to a service planner. 4J 77 Cache Valley Transit District (Logan, UT) The MPO leads a group of city planners to undertake transit service planning using joint funding. Not included in the report Prairie Hills Transit (Spearfish, SD) Purchased a building in a remote community for use as a satellite shop and garage for replacement vehicles. The agency now can serve three communities in remote rural areas. Not included in the report Table 8. (Continued).

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Diverse small and mid-sized transit agencies are very interested in finding solutions for their transit planning challenges. They will benefit from seeing how similar agencies deal with their transit service issues. Large transit agencies could also apply what is learned to sub-areas in their transit service area that are comparable to the service area of a small or mid-sized transit agency.

The TRB Transit Cooperative Research Program's TCRP Synthesis 154: Innovative Practices for Transit Planning at Small to Mid-Sized Agencies documents innovative practices for solving transit planning challenges faced by small and mid-sized transit agencies. These challenges include but are not limited to concerns about ridership, demographic shifts, first- and last-mile transportation, changes in land use, changes in regulations, service design, funding challenges, service delivery, and technology changes. These challenges are applicable to fixed-route, flex-route, and demand-responsive transit services.

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