Upcoming Course: Implementing Rural Transit Technology

The National Transit Institute (NTI) and SURTC are conducting a two-day course on implementing rural transit technology, October 25-26 in Fargo, ND. The course presents a structured approach for planning, implementing, and evaluating rural transit projects to help ensure that agency needs and expectations are met. Click below for more information or to register:

Implementing Rural Transit Technology – October 25-26, Fargo, ND

Informational Flyer (pdf)

Participate in FTA's National Online Dialogue to Develop 5-Year Research Strategic Plan

On behalf of FTA's Office of Research, Demonstration and Innovation, SURTC is notifying you about an opportunity to provide input on FTA's research strategic plan. See the message from FTA below about their strategic plan, online dialogue, and upcoming informational webinar.

FTA's Associate Administrator for Research, Demonstration and Innovation, Vince Valdes, invites you to participate in FTA's National Online Dialogue to develop our 5-Year Research Strategic Plan

What new transit innovations should FTA research and deploy in the next five years? FTA is taking a fresh look at its research program priorities through the lens of a five-year strategic plan. The plan will guide how FTA positions itself to be forward-thinking in how we develop new tools and technologies to advance access and mobility for all.

We want to hear from you! FTA has launched an online dialogue to inform the agency's Research Strategic Plan. We welcome any and all ideas through the duration of the dialogue, which closes September 8.

The Research Strategic Plan will set the stage for what types of research FTA should support and highlight pathways for translating proven research solutions into new and better ways of doing business. For example, years of investment in the National Fuel Cell Bus Program led to several rounds of low or no-emission bus technology deployment and in 2016, the agency established an annual grants program with dedicated funding for new technology buses. As FTA drafts its 5-year research strategic plan, we invite you to participate and lend your ideas to inform FTA's research priorities.

Visit our online dialogue to post an idea; review, comment, and vote on others' input; and provide specific feedback to the questions posed below:

QUESTIONS

  1. What key social, demographic, economic, technological, and/or other trends impact public transportation today and into the future?
  2. FTA's current research priorities are mobility, asset management and asset innovation, and safety.  Should we maintain these priorities or should they be changed?  If they should be changed, please suggest the priority research areas you recommend.
  3. What specific areas within mobility, asset management and asset innovation, and safety should be the focus of FTA research?
  4. Similarly, what major goal should the FTA research program pursue to support transit's mission?
  5. What should FTA's major goals be for research to support FTA's mission? And what performance measure metrics should FTA use to track progress in meeting them?
  6. How should FTA drive research to practice to publicize useful research results?
  7. Is there anything else you want to share or say regarding FTA's research portfolio and activities?

For more information on how you can contribute to the Research Strategic Plan online dialogue, join us for an informational webinar at 3:30 p.m. EDT on Thursday, August 11.

Send questions to FTAResearch@dot.gov.

Links: 

FTA FY15 Research Report

FAST Act Research Program Fact Sheet

FTA's Research and Innovation Program

The Coming Retirement Tsunami: Why Transit Agencies and the Public Sector Can No Longer Ignore Succession Planning

Join us for this informative workshop June 9th from 10:00 AM to Noon CT. Patrick Ibarra of the Mejorando Group and Del Peterson of the Small Urban and Rural Transit Center (SURTC) will be presenting.

Your public sector agency's future depends on its ability to identify, retain and prepare future leaders. Beyond simply replacing positions that become vacant, effective succession planning is an ongoing process of identifying, assessing and developing talent to ensure leadership, management and supervisory continuity throughout an organization and, moreover, to sustain its performance.

For more information or to register, view the workshop flyer.

Rural Transit Agencies: Apply Now for 2016 FTA Administrator's Awards

The FTA is seeking nominations for the 2016 FTA Administrator's Award for Outstanding Public Service for rural transit agencies. Any rural transit agency receiving assistance under Section 5311 may be nominated. Transit providers will be judged on their success in improving the mobility of Americans in rural areas and providing better access to jobs, health care, and other community services. Nominations must address how transit systems create connections for riders, particularly in low-income communities, as well as veterans, seniors, youths, and disadvantaged populations. Nominations are due May 15.

The awards will be presented at the 22nd National Rural Public and Intercity Bus Transportation conference in Asheville, N.C., October 2-5, 2016. Award recipients will be expected to attend the conference, where they will be honored and will have an opportunity to share the secrets of their success with other conference attendees.

Links:

2016 Administrator’s Award for Outstanding Public Service
FTA Formula Grants for Rural Areas

SURTC at TRB

SURTC researchers will be participating in next week's Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting. Ranjit Godavarthy will be giving a presentation titled "Developing a Method for Assessing National Demand-Response Transit Level of Service." His presentation is part of a session Monday morning, 8:00 am – 9:45 am, titled "Paratransit, Demand-Responsive, Dial-a-Ride: A New Future." Jeremy Mattson will be participating in a poster session Tuesday afternoon, 2:00 pm – 3:45 pm, titled "Public Transportation Policy: Governance, Priority-Setting, and Perspectives." The title of his poster is "Method for Estimating Statewide Transit Needs and Investment Priorities in Rural and Small Urban Areas."

These presentations are based on the following research published by SURTC in 2015.

Identifying and Satisfying the Mobility Needs of North Dakota's Transit System

Developing a Method for Assessing National Demand-Response Transit Level of Service

Research Report – Developing a Method for Assessing National Demand-Response Transit Level of Service

A new SURTC study has developed a method for assessing the level of demand-response transit being provided throughout a state or nationwide and prioritizing areas for needed service improvements.

Demand-response transit is a major source of mobility for older adults, people with disabilities, and low-income households in urban and rural areas, but the data needed to assess the level of service being provided across the country is lacking. Key variables for identifying the level of service include geographic coverage, days of service per week, hours of service per day, advance reservation requirements, and service eligibility. These data are largely missing from the National Transit Database or other sources.

Given that currently available data sources are inadequate, SURTC researchers developed and conducted online surveys of demand-response transit agencies in North Dakota and Florida to gather service details. The goal was to collect as much useful and detailed data as possible while minimizing the burden to transit agencies. Based on the results from these surveys, recommendations were made for deploying the survey nationwide. SURTC researchers also developed a method for combining the service data collected from the survey with population and demographic data to identify areas with greater needs for service improvements. The report shows how the data collected from this new survey tool can help state DOTs and transit planners evaluate current service levels and make investment decisions.

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

Developing a Method for Assessing National Demand-Response Transit Level of Service

For more details, contact Ranjit Godavarthy at ranjitprasad.godavar@ndsu.edu or Jeremy Mattson at jeremy.w.mattson@ndsu.edu.

Webinar – The Digitally Connected Commuter: How Personal Technology is Affecting the Rider Experience on Public Transit

The Transportation Research Forum (TRF) is hosting a free webinar on the implications of personal electronic devices on the demand for transit and the quality of the traveler experience. To register, send a message to trf-chicago@depaul.edu.

TITLE: "The Digitally Connected Commuter:  How Personal Technology is Affecting the Rider Experience on Public Transit"

TIME: Wednesday, September 30.  Noon-1 PM Central Time (1 PM Eastern, 10 AM Pacific).  Webinar ends promptly at 1 PM.

SPEAKERS: Sean J. Barbeau, Ph.D., University of South Florida; Matt Michel, Research Associate and Joe Schwieterman, Ph.D., Professor, DePaul University Chicago.

DESCRIPTION:  Barbeau will describe ongoing research at the University of South Florida to create and evaluate location-aware mobile technology and its effect on transit riders.  Michel and Schwieterman will present data from 10,000 Chicago commuter rail riders showing a dramatic rise in "digital activity" among passengers since 2010.  They posit that the associated benefits of using devices while traveling are stimulating the demand for transit.  The presentation will together last 40 minutes, allowing 20 minutes for discussion and Q&A.

MODERATOR: David Boaté, P.E., Gannett Fleming, and President, TRF Public and High Speed Ground Transportation Chapter | Executive Vice President, TRF New York Chapter

RSVP: Free and open to all professionals, students, and guests.  To register, call (312) 362-5731 or email trf-chicago@depaul.edu.

Research Report – The Impact of North Dakota's Oil Boom on Transit Livability

SURTC has published a report highlighting the changes affecting public transportation in North Dakota's oil producing region. Population growth in western North Dakota from those seeking employment in the oil industry has led to substantial increases in personal income and transit ridership. Local survey findings noted that population growth has impacted the quality of life by increasing pressure on infrastructure and increasing feelings of insecurity that stem from demographic shifts and not knowing who is living in local communities. The housing market has also struggled to keep pace.

Transit livability index measures showed an increase in recent years. The combinations of increased ridership and household income have been the two main catalysts for this change. More workers utilizing transit has also led to fewer workers commuting alone to work. However, an increasing mobility needs index and a lack of transit vehicles to meet demand are becoming evident as many of the transit livability indexes are showing smaller increases during the past one to three years compared to earlier gains.

For more details contact del.peterson@ndsu.edu.

2015 Rural Transit Fact Book Published

SURTC has published its 2015 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.

Research Report – Identifying and Satisfying the Mobility Needs of North Dakota's Transit System

SURTC has published a new report that identifies the needs of transit agencies in North Dakota, gaps in transit service in the state, and additional services and funding needed to meet current demand as well as projected future demand. Surveys of transit agencies and human service agencies were conducted to gather information about existing transit services, how well those services are meeting the needs of the state’s residents, and the issues and challenges facing transit providers. Target levels of transit service and the funding needed to reach those targets were identified. Projections were also made based on expected population growth. Findings show a need for expansion of services across the state, especially in areas experiencing population growth, as well as needs for improvements in staffing and additional vehicles. The full report and an executive summary can be found at the link below:

Identifying and Satisfying the Mobility Needs of North Dakota's Transit System

For more details, contact Jeremy Mattson at jeremy.w.mattson@ndsu.edu or Jill Hough at jill.hough@ndsu.edu.

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