Send Us Your Transit Pictures

SURTC is looking for rural or small urban transit pictures to use in our upcoming publications.  We would greatly appreciate it if any transit providers have pictures they would be willing to share and allow us to use in publications such as the Rural Transit Fact Book. We will give proper credit for any pictures that we use. If you have any pictures that you can share, please send them to Jeremy Mattson at jeremy.w.mattson@ndsu.edu.

Research Report – Aging in Place in Small Urban and Rural Communities

A new study published by SURTC investigated the current state of aging in place in small urban and rural settings throughout the country and quantified the costs for residents to live at home and ride public transportation versus moving to an assisted living facility. Overall, simulation results showed that the cost of assisted living was almost always higher compared to other alternatives. Homeowners without mortgages had the lowest costs followed by apartment dwellers and homeowners with mortgages. Policy makers should consider the potential cost savings from aging in place found in this study. Seniors and their families can potentially save thousands of dollars annually by remaining at home and utilizing home health and public transportation services.

The full report and executive summary can be found at the link below:

Aging in Place in Small Urban and Rural Communities

For more details, contact Del Peterson at Del.Peterson@ndsu.edu.

Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute Celebrates 50 Years Aug. 30 at NDSU

The Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute at North Dakota State University will celebrate its 50th Anniversary Wednesday, Aug. 30, from noon to 4 p.m. with safety and transportation exhibits, free food, and information about the Institute and its history.

The celebration will be held on the south end of NDSU Visitor Parking Lot E. There will be a brief program at 12:30 featuring comments from UGPTI and university officials as well as representatives from North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum's office and the offices of North Dakota Senators John Hoeven, Heidi Heitkamp, and ND Congressman Kevin Cramer.

Hands-on exhibits will be open until 4 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

  • Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute will display exhibits about its history as well as current research, outreach and education programs.
  • ND Army National Guard will display one of its vehicles and will serve hot dogs to the first 500 visitors.
  • ND Army National Guard will demonstrate the hazards of impaired driving through the use of impaired driving simulation goggles and large trikes on an obstacle course.
  • MATBUS will have one of its buses on display and will provide route information and giveaways.
  • Great Rides Bikeshare will exhibit one of its bikes and staff will be available to answer questions.
  • Bike FM will provide information about bike routes and biking in the Fargo-Moorhead area.
  • The ND Department of Transportation will have a hologram board and virtual reality goggles to simulate impaired driving and involvement in a crash.
  • FM Ambulance will display one of its state-of-the-art ambulances.
  • FM Transportation Club will demonstrate the "no zone" by allowing visitors to climb into the cab of a semi so they can see the blind spots that drivers should avoid.
  • MState in Moorhead will allow visitors to experience driving a "big rig" through the use of its truck-driving simulator.
  • CAT will allow participants to learn how to operate a motor grader or large excavator through the use of one of its simulators.
  • NDSU Police and Safety Office has arranged for display of the Deutscher Family Vehicle. The Deutscher family was killed by a drunk driver in 2012. The display allows viewers to see first-hand the tragic result of drunken driving.
  • NDSU Police and Safety will also allow visitors to don "beer goggles" and play Mario Cart to demonstrate the effects of impaired driving.

In addition to the exhibits and demonstrations, staff of the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute will be available to answer questions about the Institute and its programs. The Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute was created in 1967 by the North Dakota Legislature to study the unique transportation challenges facing agricultural producers and processors in the region. The institute has broadened its mission substantially and creatively, responding to emerging needs. Its current mission is to provide innovative transportation research, education, and outreach that promote the safe and efficient movement people and goods.

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For more information contact Tom Jirik, UGPTI communications coordinator, at thomas.jirik@ndsu.edu or (701) 231-9629.

Research Report – Estimating Demand for Intercity Bus Services in a Rural Environment

A new report that developed a method for estimating demand for intercity bus services in rural areas has been posted to the SURTC website. The general objective of this research was to develop an intercity mode choice model that can be incorporated into a statewide travel demand model to estimate demand for rural intercity bus services. Data for the study were collected through a survey of North Dakota residents. Gender, age, income, disability, trip purpose, party size, travel time, travel cost, and access distance were all found to have significant impacts on mode choice, and traveler attitudes were also found to be important. The study demonstrated how the mode choice model can be incorporated into a statewide travel demand model, and intercity bus mode shares were estimated for origin-destination pairs within the state. Alternative scenarios were analyzed to show how mode shares would change under different conditions or service characteristics. This study was conducted in the largely rural state of North Dakota, but results could be transferable to other areas with similar geographic characteristics.

The link below provides access to the full report and executive summary, as well as a summary of the survey results:

Innovative Approach to Estimating Demand for Intercity Bus Services in a Rural Environment

For more information, contact Jeremy Mattson at jeremy.w.mattson@ndsu.edu.

Research Report – Evaluation Study of the Bike Share Program in Fargo, North Dakota

SURTC has published a new report that studied the bike share program in Fargo, North Dakota. Great Rides Bike Share launched in 2015 in Fargo with 11 stations and 101 bikes. This study evaluated the impacts of the program through a series of surveys and statistical analyses. Objectives were to understand user opinions, analyze demand, study impacts on student travel behavior, and analyze livability benefits. Analyses were conducted to estimate the impacts of weather and other factors on bike share use and to estimate the impacts of bike share use on bus ridership.

The full report and executive summary can be found at the link below:

Evaluation Study of the Bike Share Program in Fargo, North Dakota

For more details, contact Ranjit Godavarthy at ranjit.godavarthy@ndsu.edu.

ITS Data Management Seminar

ITS Data Management Seminar

May 24-25, 2017 – Tampa, FL

Embassy Suites – USF Campus

3705 Spectrum Boulevard

 Tampa, Florida, 33612

Click here for the Seminar Agenda

Click here to register

Audience: This seminar is geared for transit professionals, which include planners, engineers, operators, and individuals employed by MPOs, DOTs, and transportation agencies that will be involved in the planning, implementation, and ongoing management of transit data.

Description: Participants will discuss and discover best practices in data management for transit ridership and for open source data for internal agency consumption and external partner usage. They will network with other professionals and learn ITS data management best practices from peer agencies and from academic research. They will hear case studies that illustrate successes as well as lessons learned relating to data management. Participants also will have the opportunity to experience the history and future of transit by riding authentic streetcars on the TECO Streetcar System and the first-in-the-nation HyperLINK that provides a doorstep connection to the city's transit system.

After completing the workshop, participants will be able to:

  • Identify data management techniques and software suitable for public transportation
  • Investigate the use of various data management practices from across the country
  • Discuss best practices for successful data management procurements
  • Review timely industry topics, such as ridership forecasting and open source/open data.

SURTC at TRB

SURTC staff will be participating in next week's Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting in Washington, DC. SURTC director Jill Hough will be moderating a session titled Case Studies and Surveys of Transit Needs in Rural Communities on Tuesday January 10, 3:45 PM – 5:30 PM. This session will feature presentations from SURTC researchers Jeremy Mattson and Ranjit Godavarthy. Jeremy Mattson will be presenting research on estimating demand for rural intercity bus services, and Ranjit Godavarthy will present findings from case studies conducted in two North Dakota communities regarding transit's contribution to livability.

Jeremy Mattson will also be participating in a session on Monday January 9, 3:45 PM – 5:30 PM, titled Data and Technology for Rural and Intercity Decision Making. He will be presenting "Estimating Ridership of Rural Demand-Response Transit Services for the General Public," highlighting findings from a recently published report.

SURTC researcher Del Peterson will also be attending and participating in the Rural Public and Intercity Bus Transportation Committee meeting and the conference planning subcommittee meeting.

Prior to TRB, on Saturday January 7, the Council of University Transportation Centers (CUTC) is hosting its Annual Awards Banquet in Washington, DC, followed by the CUTC annual winter meeting on Sunday. Jill Hough is currently serving as president of CUTC.

Research Report – Exploring Transit's Contribution to Livability in Rural Communities: Case Study of Valley City, ND, and Dickinson, ND

A new study published by SURTC investigates the nexus of transit and rural livability by conducting case studies in the North Dakota communities of Valley City and Dickinson. While many factors influence the livability of a rural community, transit is an important contributor. For each of the two North Dakota communities considered, resident surveys, local transit rider surveys, and stakeholder interviews were conducted to understand differing opinions on livability and how transit contributes to livability.

In both Valley City and Dickinson, surveys of residents showed they believe affordable housing, low crime, quality healthcare, overall cost of living, quality public schools, and available jobs are the most important factors contributing the livability of a community. While transit was not among the top factors, survey respondents expressed considerable support for providing transit services and funding it through various sources. Residents in both cities expressed the opinion that transit should be provided in their community as a transportation option for seniors, people with disabilities, those who choose not to drive, and those who cannot afford to drive. Transit riders in both cities indicated that transit is very important to their quality of life, and stakeholders from both communities said transit is a critical lifeline for people who are elderly and/or have a disability, individuals with no vehicle, and those who cannot drive.

The full report and executive summary can be found at the link below:

Exploring Transit's Contribution to Livability in Rural Communities: Case Study of Valley City, ND, and Dickinson, ND

For more details, contact Ranjit Godavarthy at ranjit.godavarthy@ndsu.edu.

Research Report – Characterization of Transit Ride Quality

A recent SURTC study evaluates the significance of transit ride quality. This study developed a low-cost smartphone-based method and associated data transformations to characterize ride quality. The method distinguished between vibrations induced from road unevenness and operator behavior. The authors validated the accuracy of the method by conducting surveys to characterize the perceived roughness intensities from buses traveling routes of distinctly different roughness levels. The surveys found that smooth rides mattered to most passengers, and that rough rides could even lead to some loss of ridership. Click on the link below to see the full report:

Characterization of Transit Ride Quality

For more information, contact Raj Bridgelall at raj.bridgellal@ndsu.edu.

2016 Rural Transit Fact Book Published

SURTC has published its 2016 edition of the Rural Transit Fact Book. This publication is intended to serve as a national resource for statistics and information on rural transit in America. The Fact Book includes rural demographic and travel behavior data as well as financial, operating, and fleet statistics and performance measures for agencies receiving section 5311 funding. In addition to national level data, statistics are presented by state, FTA region, tribe, and mode, as well as other agency characteristics.

The Rural Transit Fact Book presents agency level data from the Rural National Transit Database (NTD) and rural demographic and travel data from the American Community Survey and the National Household Travel Survey.

The publication can be downloaded at the SURTC website. For more information, or if you're interested in receiving a hard copy, contact Jeremy Mattson at jeremy.w.mattson@ndsu.edu.

SURTC is a part of the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute at North Dakota State University