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.

ITS Data Management Seminar

ITS Data Management Seminar

May 24-25, 2017 – Tampa, FL

Embassy Suites – USF Campus

3705 Spectrum Boulevard

 Tampa, Florida, 33612

Click here for the Seminar Agenda

Click here to register

Audience: This seminar is geared for transit professionals, which include planners, engineers, operators, and individuals employed by MPOs, DOTs, and transportation agencies that will be involved in the planning, implementation, and ongoing management of transit data.

Description: Participants will discuss and discover best practices in data management for transit ridership and for open source data for internal agency consumption and external partner usage. They will network with other professionals and learn ITS data management best practices from peer agencies and from academic research. They will hear case studies that illustrate successes as well as lessons learned relating to data management. Participants also will have the opportunity to experience the history and future of transit by riding authentic streetcars on the TECO Streetcar System and the first-in-the-nation HyperLINK that provides a doorstep connection to the city's transit system.

After completing the workshop, participants will be able to:

  • Identify data management techniques and software suitable for public transportation
  • Investigate the use of various data management practices from across the country
  • Discuss best practices for successful data management procurements
  • Review timely industry topics, such as ridership forecasting and open source/open data.

SURTC at TRB

SURTC staff will be participating in next week's Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting in Washington, DC. SURTC director Jill Hough will be moderating a session titled Case Studies and Surveys of Transit Needs in Rural Communities on Tuesday January 10, 3:45 PM – 5:30 PM. This session will feature presentations from SURTC researchers Jeremy Mattson and Ranjit Godavarthy. Jeremy Mattson will be presenting research on estimating demand for rural intercity bus services, and Ranjit Godavarthy will present findings from case studies conducted in two North Dakota communities regarding transit's contribution to livability.

Jeremy Mattson will also be participating in a session on Monday January 9, 3:45 PM – 5:30 PM, titled Data and Technology for Rural and Intercity Decision Making. He will be presenting "Estimating Ridership of Rural Demand-Response Transit Services for the General Public," highlighting findings from a recently published report.

SURTC researcher Del Peterson will also be attending and participating in the Rural Public and Intercity Bus Transportation Committee meeting and the conference planning subcommittee meeting.

Prior to TRB, on Saturday January 7, the Council of University Transportation Centers (CUTC) is hosting its Annual Awards Banquet in Washington, DC, followed by the CUTC annual winter meeting on Sunday. Jill Hough is currently serving as president of CUTC.

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

 

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