Posts categorized under "Research"

Webinar on Opportunities for State DOTs (and others) to Encourage Shared-Use Mobility Practices in Rural Areas

Ranjit Godavarthy, SURTC researcher and assistant professor, will be conducting a webinar on shared-use mobility practices in rural areas for the Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) as part of the CUTR Transportation Webcast series.

Title: Opportunities for State DOTs (and others) to Encourage Shared-Use Mobility Practices in Rural Area

Date: September 26 at 11:00 am Central Time

Join: https://www.cutr.usf.edu/webcast/

Description: Shared-use mobility (SUM) practices are transportation services that are shared among users. SUM can include ‘traditional SUM’ practices such as public transit, taxis, limousines, etc., or ‘technology enabled SUM’ practices such as ridesourcing, carsharing, bikesharing, micortransit services, etc. While SUM practices exist in all size communities, their presence is less prominent in rural communities.

SUM practices have the potential to fill mobility gaps by offering fast, on-demand, and reliable transportation options. Many innovative SUM initiatives are being piloted and implemented in rural communities in conjunction with already-existing rural transit/transportation services and with business models tailored for rural communities. This study investigated various categories of SUM services such as ridesourcing, carsharing, bikesharing, and microtransit service’s applicability in rural communities and determined the potential to supplement and/or complement traditional rural transit/transportation services.

One of the outputs of the study is a five-task rural SUM toolkit for strategies such as ridesourcing, carsharing, bikesharing, microtransit, as well as rural mobility as a service (MaaS) platforms. The rural SUM toolkit can inform state DOTs, regional transportation agencies, rural transit agencies, local governments, human service agencies, and other state and local agencies about the various steps and tasks involved for strategically planning to pilot and implement relevant SUM strategies to meet the unique transportation needs in rural communities. This toolkit can be applicable for small urban communities as well.

Webinar on Transit and Livability

Jeremy Mattson, SURTC researcher and assistant professor, will be conducting a webinar on transit and livability for the Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) as part of the CUTR Transportation Webcast series.

Title: Transit and Livability: Results from the National Community Livability Survey

Date: September 12 at 11:00 am Central Time

Join: https://www.cutr.usf.edu/webcast/

Description: This webinar will present results from a national survey that was conducted to understand factors important to livability in both urban and rural areas across the country and to study the role of transportation and public transit. While many factors influence a community’s livability, affordable transportation options, such as transit services, can be an important contributor in both large and small communities. The study team conducted a survey, called the National Community Livability Survey, where respondents ranked the importance of livability factors and the quality of those factors in their communities, as well as perceived community quality of life. The survey provides information about what factors individuals in both urban and rural areas believe are important for community livability, as well as how they rate the quality of those factors in their communities. This information provides insight on how livability could be improved. An analysis of the survey data shows that livability improves as travel becomes easier, and community livability ultimately has a positive impact on overall life satisfaction. The presentation will describe the data that was collected, summarize the results, compare the results to previous case studies conducted in rural communities, and discuss the implications for improving livability and quality of life.

This webinar is based on a published SURTC report that can be downloaded here: https://www.ugpti.org/resources/reports/details.php?id=927&program=surtc

Research Report – Transit and Livability: Results from the National Community Livability Survey

SURTC partnered with the Texas A&M Transportation Institute to conduct a National Community Livability Survey that analyzes the role of transportation and public transit in influencing community quality of life. A new SURTC report details the findings of the survey and shows the positive impact of transportation. The survey was conducted in both urban and rural areas, and results are useful for understanding factors important to livability, how livability could be improved, and how transportation contributes to livability. An analysis of the survey data shows that livability improves as travel becomes easier, which is affected by transit quality as well as the quality of roads, congestion, and traffic safety, and community livability ultimately has a positive impact on overall life satisfaction. Other important livability factors were also examined.

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

Transit and Livability: Results from the National Community Livability Survey

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

Research Report – The Impact of Oil Boom and Bust Cycles on Western North Dakota

A new study published by SURTC examines the impacts of the boom and bust cycles on transit ridership and community livability in western North Dakota by calculating transit livability index measures. These measures were calculated based on six core livability principles. A major finding of this research shows that although the recent oil bust has caused considerable concern in western North Dakota, the population and transit ridership are considerably larger today than they were in 2008. The study also develops a system dynamics model to show the potential impacts from increasing transit’s mode share.

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

The Impact of Oil Boom and Bust Cycles on Western North Dakota

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

New Research Project: Measuring the Economic Benefits of Rural and Small Urban Transit Service in Greater Minnesota

SURTC is starting a new project for the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) that will measure the benefits of rural and small urban transit service throughout Minnesota. The scope of the project includes all public transportation agencies outside of the Twin Cities metro area. The study team will develop a framework and tool that can be used by transit agencies and planners for identifying and measuring the benefits of transit services. A series of case studies will be conducted across the state to measure the benefits of specific transit services. The project, which is scheduled to be completed by April 2020, will produce a detailed report as well as educational material that can be used by transit agencies, planners, and stakeholders. This research will provide the necessary information to objectively assess the benefits of public spending on rural and small urban transit services, which would give decision-makers the data needed to allocate resources to programs that would provide the greatest benefit. The research will provide information to local leaders and MnDOT about the benefits of transit in Greater Minnesota. For more information, contact Jeremy Mattson at jeremy.w.mattson@ndsu.edu.

SURTC to Study Opportunities for Shared-Use Mobility Practices in Rural Areas

A new research project funded by the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) will study opportunities for shared-used mobility practices in rural areas. Shared-use mobility refers to transportation services that are shared among users. This includes public transit and taxis, as well as emerging services such as bike-sharing, car-sharing, ride-sharing (carpooling, vanpooling), ride-sourcing (Uber, Lyft, etc.), shuttle services, and others. The research project, which is titled "Opportunities for State DOTs (and others) to Encourage Shared Use Mobility Practices in Rural Areas," will document emerging practices, study the applicability to rural areas, develop a best practices tool-kit, and provide guidance on the role that government, state DOTs, rural transit agencies, transportation planning agencies, and others will need to play to advance shared-use mobility practices in rural areas. SURTC is leading the project, in cooperation with WSP. For more details, contact Ranjit Godavarthy at ranjit.godavarthy@ndsu.edu.

2017 Rural Transit Fact Book Published

SURTC has published its 2017 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 2017 edition is an expanded version that includes a section on county-level demographic information, presenting county-level population data for older adults, people with disabilities, and those living below the poverty line. This edition also provides more detailed information on the geographic coverage of rural transit services across the country.

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 – 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.

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.

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