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 Offering Advanced Transit Professional Certificate

SURTC and the NDSU Office of Teaching and Learning have partnered to provide persons who have successfully completed TRANSIT I – The Foundations (formerly titled Principles of Transit Management) and TRANSIT II – The Pillars (formerly titled Advanced Transit Management) the designation of "Advanced Transit Professional." The Advanced Transit Professional certificate is a great way of showcasing your accomplishments as a transportation professional. Certificate recipient information will be maintained at the NDSU Office of Teaching and Learning, allowing individuals to enjoy the prestige of a university-sponsored achievement through this non-academic-track program. For more information, or to confirm your eligibility, and order your Advanced Transit Professional certificate, please contact SURTC at training@surtc.org or call (701)231-1064 (additional fees apply).

Visit the SURTC website for more information about the Transit Management Courses.

Webinar – Estimating Ridership of Rural Demand-Response Transit

SURTC researcher Jeremy Mattson will be conducting a webinar discussing the recent report "Estimating Ridership of Rural Demand-Response Transit Services for the General Public." This report provides useful insights to operators looking to enhance their ridership and respond to the changing needs in their communities. The webinar is being hosted by National RTAP on November 16 at 1:30 PM to 2:30 PM CST.

This study developed two models for estimating demand: one using 2013 NTD data and the other using more detailed service data collected from surveys of transit agencies. Jeremy will discuss the results of the study and how to use these two models.

The models can be used by transit agencies or transportation planners to:

  • Forecast demand for new demand-response services.
  • Estimate the impact of service changes, such as changes in geographic coverage, span of service, fares, reservation requirements.
  • Project future ridership based on projected population and demographic changes.

Register now and join us for this webinar! Find additional recorded and upcoming webinars from the National RTAP website.

Workforce Development Summit Proceedings Published

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has published a proceedings report that documents the presentations and discussions from the Workforce Development Summit: Implementing, Disseminating, and Modeling Ladders of Opportunity. This one-day event was hosted by the FTA and the National Transit Institute (NTI) on June 7, 2016. Working with NTI, SURTC staff participated in the event and produced the proceedings document.

Recipients of the FTA's Innovative Public Transportation Workforce Development grants and FTA partners gathered for the event to share information, network, and learn from each other as they addressed the workforce development challenges facing the industry. The summit featured presentations from FTA grantees, individuals from FTA, and FTA partners. Discussions focused on the workforce challenges facing the industry, innovative projects conducted by grant recipients, collaboration opportunities and the importance of partnerships, funding opportunities, and performance measurement. Links to the proceedings document and the report summary can be found below.

Workforce Development Proceedings: FTA Report No. 0096

Report Summary for the Workforce Development Summit Proceedings

 

Webinar: Exploring Transit's Contribution to Livability in Rural Communities

SURTC researchers Ranjit Godavarthy and Jeremy Mattson will join researcher Jonathan Brooks from the Texas A&M Transportation Institute to present a webinar on transit's contribution to livability in rural communities. The webinar, which is part of the Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) webcast series, will be October 27 at 11:00 am central time.

Presenters will discuss an ongoing research study for the U.S. Department of Transportation about rural community livability and the role of public transportation. The definition of livability varies from community to community. Public transit may contribute to livability in one or more ways. The presenters will share a recently developed methodology to define livability locally and identify the potential transit markets specific to a community. The methodology was developed and tested in communities across the country. Results will be presented from cases studies conducted in small communities in the following states: Texas, Maine, Missouri, Oregon, and North Dakota. Click on the links below for more information and to view the webinar.

Upcoming CUTR Webcast: Exploring Transit’s Contribution to Livability in Rural Communities

Link for viewing the webinar

SURTC Participating at National Conference on Rural Public and Intercity Bus Transportation

SURTC staff will be attending and participating in next week's National Conference on Rural Public and Intercity Bus Transportation in Asheville, North Carolina. SURTC researchers Del Peterson and Jeremy Mattson and training coordinator Rob Lynch will each be giving presentations. Rob Lynch will also be manning SURTC's booth at the vendor show. Del Peterson served on the conference's planning committee and will also be awarding the winners of the student paper competition. If you are attending the conference, be sure to stop by our booth and say hello or attend our sessions. Below is list of sessions in which SURTC staff are participating.

Del Peterson – Session title: Hiring and Retaining Qualified Personnel: Challenges and Strategies; Presentation title: Workforce Development and Succession Planning to Prepare the Rural Transit Industry for the Future; Monday October 3, 9:45 AM

Rob Lynch – Session title: Working Effectively with Public Officials Through Good Communication and Good Data; Presentation title: Making the Case: Working with Elected and Appointed Officials; Tuesday October 4, 8:00 AM

Jeremy Mattson – Session title: Recent Developments in Planning Rural Intercity Bus Services; Presentation title: Estimating Demand for Rural Intercity Bus Services; Tuesday October 4, 4:15 PM

Research Report – Estimating Ridership of Rural Demand-Response Transit Services for the General Public

A new SURTC study developed two new models for estimating demand for rural demand-response transit services for the general public. Lack of data for demand-response service characteristics and geographic coverage has previously limited the development of such models. The first model developed in this study used data from the 2013 rural National Transit Database, and the second used more detailed service data collected from surveys of transit agencies. Ridership was found to significantly increase when the percentage of the population comprised of older adults or people without access to a vehicle increased. The second model analyzed the impacts of service span and reservation requirements on ridership. Results showed that providing more days of service had an expected positive impact on ridership, while allowing users to reserve rides on shorter notice also had a significant positive effect. Click on the link below to see the full report or a summary of the study:

Estimating Ridership of Rural Demand-Response Transit Services for the General Public

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

Research Report – Workforce Development and Succession Planning to Prepare the Rural Transit Industry for the Future

SURTC has published a study that addresses the perceived workforce development and succession planning difficulties in the rural public transit industry. Researcher Del Peterson conducted a national survey of rural transit managers to determine current workforce development practices as well as succession planning procedures. Responses were received from 160 agencies in 40 states. The report summarizes the findings and provides recommendations. The majority of transit agency managers responding to the survey have been employed by their agency for more than 15 years while 75% of total respondents were 50 years of age or older. One-third of respondents indicated they plan to retire within the next 5 years while only 15% have any viable succession plan in place to combat this high management turnover. The full report and summary can be found at the link below:

Workforce Development and Succession Planning to Prepare the Rural Transit Industry for the Future

For more details contact Del Peterson at del.peterson@ndsu.edu.

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