Posts categorized under "Publications"

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.

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 – Evaluating the State of Mobility Management and Human Service Transportation Coordination

A new report published by SURTC evaluates mobility management and human service transportation coordination efforts at different locations across the country and provides an evaluation model that can be used in individual communities. For this study, two surveys were developed and conducted at multiple sites across the country. An end-user survey was distributed to transit users, and a stakeholder survey was sent to transportation providers, human service agencies, and other organizations. The results can be used to assess the effectiveness of mobility management and coordination programs in meeting the needs of transportation-disadvantaged populations and achieving the goals of improved efficiency, ease of access, and quality of service. Results from the communities where surveys were conducted showed positive impacts from the perspectives of both transit users and stakeholders. The full report and executive summary can be found at the link below:

Evaluating the State of Mobility Management and Human Service Transportation Coordination

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

2014 Rural Transit Fact Book Published

SURTC has published its 2014 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 – Cost-Benefit Analysis of Rural and Small Urban Transit

SURTC has published a report analyzing the costs and benefits of providing transit services in rural and small urban areas. The full report and an executive summary can be found at the following link:

Cost-Benefit Analysis of Rural and Small Urban Transit

This study focuses on the qualitative and quantitative benefits of small urban and rural public transit systems in the United States. First, a thorough review of previous literature is presented. Then, a framework is developed which focuses on three main areas of transit benefits most relevant to rural and small urban areas: transportation cost savings, low-cost mobility benefits, and economic development impacts. This study estimates the cost savings from using transit in place of alternative modes and the significant costs that would result from trips foregone in the absence of transit. Estimated benefits are compared to the costs of providing service to derive benefit-to-cost ratios. Results are presented nationally, regionally (FTA regions), and statewide. Sensitivity analysis is also conducted to illustrate how the benefits and benefit-cost ratios vary with changes in key variables. With estimated benefit-cost ratios greater than 1, the results show that the benefits provided by transit services in rural and small urban areas are greater than the costs of providing those services.

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

Research Report – Improving Veteran Mobility in Small Urban and Rural Areas

A recently completed SURTC study examined ways to improve veteran mobility in small urban and rural areas. The need for veteran transportation is growing rapidly because of the increasing number of older veterans and injured service men and women. Many veterans in rural areas have special mobility needs and must travel long distances to receive medical care. The objective of this study was to identify veterans with mobility needs currently living in rural Minnesota, Montana, and North Dakota, and to quantify the cost of transportation options for meeting their mobility needs. Special attention was given to the medical transportation of veterans to VA health care centers. The feasibility of a coordination effort between VA health care centers and rural public transit agencies for transporting veterans to medical appointments was also studied. A key finding is that transit agencies can increase ridership and VA health centers can lower beneficiary travel costs if they coordinate services. The study results can serve as a service planning tool for rural transit agencies. Lastly, this is an optimal time to begin talking about strategies for rural transit to transition aging veterans from personal vehicles to public transit.

Links to the full report and the executive summary can be found at the website below:

Improving Veteran Mobility in Small Urban and Rural Areas

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

SURTC Fall/Winter 2013 Newsletter

The Fall/Winter 2013 issue of the Transit Lane Brief has been published and is available online. This issue features articles on the new Small Urban and Rural Livability Center funded by a U.S. DOT grant, the FTA 101 web-based training module under development, a webinar on engaging people with disabilities and older adults in planning, new affiliated staff at SURTC,  a new graduate-level transit course under development, SURTC participation at conferences, and SURTC training activities. The current and previous issues can be downloaded from the SURTC website.

Research Report – Effortless Passenger Identification System

A recently completed SURTC study evaluated the use of radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to track transit passengers. The technology is referred to as the Effortless Passenger Identification System (EPIS).

The RFID tags used by EPIS can be read at longer distances than the contactless or proximity cards currently used in the industry. This characteristic allows passengers to be identified and counted as they board and alight vehicles without requiring them to physically present their card within a short distance of an on-vehicle reader.

This study was funded by the Transportation Research Board's Transit Innovations Deserving Exploratory Analysis (IDEA) program and led by SURTC researcher Del Peterson. Peterson evaluated the technical, operational, and economic feasibility of using medium-range RFID technology to track transit passengers.

The technology successfully recorded riders boarding the bus almost 90 percent of the time during field testing conducted at North Dakota State University (NDSU). Controlled testing results indicated that the reader received a valid signal from the RFID card if it was in plain sight and there was no interference present.

Consumer acceptance surveys of college students, people with physical and mental disabilities, and parents of school-aged children yielded positive findings regarding the merit of this technology. The main obstacles are the issues of multiple reads occurring when riders get too close to the antennas, and the inability to read the cards successfully when interference is present.

A cost-benefit analysis showed that with proper ridership numbers, EPIS technology can provide an economic benefit to transit agencies.

A link to the final report is provided below. For more details, contact Del Peterson at del.peterson@ndsu.edu

TRB’s Innovations Deserving Exploratory Analysis (IDEA) Final Report for Transit IDEA Project 70: Effortless Passenger Identification System (pdf)

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