Posts categorized under "Publications"

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.

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.

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

 

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.

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.

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.

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