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.
FTA 101 is a new online course designed to educate public transportation staff about federal programs, grant management, and the functions of the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). SURTC developed the course for AASHTO's Multi-State Technical Assistance Program (MTAP). FTA 101 is free, and it provides an easy-to-follow curriculum that serves to inform or refresh new or seasoned staff on the role of the FTA in public transit. The course takes less than two hours to complete and can be paused between chapters.
Recordings of recent webinars conducted by SURTC staff are available online. Del Peterson presented findings from his study on veterans transportation in a webinar on July 10. Earlier this year, Ranjit Godavarthy and Jeremy Mattson presented a webinar on their cost-benefit analysis research for small urban and rural transit. Both webinars were presented as part of the Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) webcast series. Recordings of the webinars can be found at the links below. Links to the full reports and executive summaries of the research are available in the Completed Reports section of the SURTC website.
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:
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.
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:
For more details, contact Del Peterson at firstname.lastname@example.org
SURTC researcher Del Peterson will be presenting results from his veteran mobility research as part of the Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) webcast series. The webcast, titled "Veteran Mobility in Small Urban and Rural Areas," will be presented July 10 at 11:00 am central time.
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 feasible transportation options for meeting veteran mobility needs. Special attention was given to the medical transportation of veterans to VA health care centers. This study included a survey of veterans and a simulation of their health care transportation costs.
SURTC staff will be participating in this year's Community Transportation EXPO, being held June 8-13 in St. Paul, MN. Jill Hough, SURTC director, will be presenting "Ethics in Decision Making," and SURTC researcher Del Peterson will be presenting results from a recent study on veterans transportation. Details about their presentations are below:
Speaker: Jill Hough
Presentation title: Ethics in Decision Making
Session: Professional Development Leadership Sessions
Date and time: Wed. June 11, 3:15 pm
Location: RiverCentre, Meeting Room 2
Speaker: Del Peterson
Presentation title: Improving Veteran Mobility in Small Urban and Rural Areas
Session: Veterans Mobility: How VTCLI Has Helped Us Serve our Veterans
Date and time: Wed. June 11, 3:15 pm
Location: RiverCentre, Meeting Room 12
SURTC will also have a booth at the EXPO. Stop by our booth and visit with Rob Lynch, SURTC's training coordinator, and other SURTC staff. Summaries of recent research projects and other SURTC material will be available.
SURTC director Dr. Jill Hough will be facilitating an upcoming Transit ITS Workshop focusing on data management. This workshop is being conducted by the National Transit Institute and will be held July 9-10 in Newark, NJ. The goal of the workshop is to discuss and discover best practices in data management for transit ridership and for open source data, for internal agency consumption and external partner usage.
The workshop will convene three expert panels that will examine "Management of Ridership Data" and "Management of Open Source Data" and will conclude with a roundtable discussion on "Data Management Best Practices." The keynote speaker will be John Inglish, former general manager of the Utah Transit Authority. Additionally, two tour options will provide attendees with access to a special tour of NJ Transit's Newark-Penn Station and the Newark Light Rail Line and Maintenance Facility.
For more details and to register, click on the following link: Transit ITS Workshop – Data Management
The 2014 STAR Awards application is now open through April 11, 2014. STAR Awards ranging from $2,500 to $10,000 will be given to programs and services that involve volunteer drivers in providing transportation. These annual awards celebrate excellence, innovations, and promising practices in providing transportation services to senior passengers. The STAR Award program is sponsored by the National Volunteer Transportation Center of Washington, DC.
Find more details and apply for the awards at the following link: 2014 STAR Award Application
Dr. Jill Hough, SURTC director, will be participating in a March 19 webinar hosted by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) on Developing Mentorship Programs: Successful Models and Pilots. See the details below.
Webinar Date: Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Broadcast Time: 2-3:30 p.m. Eastern; 1-2:30 p.m. Central; noon-1:30 p.m. Mountain; 11-12:30 pm. Pacific
Webinar Summary: This webinar features success stories about mentorship programs conducted by the academic community in partnership with the public and private sector and an internal mentor program developed by a public transit agency. Dr. Jill Hough provides insights and lessons learned as North Dakota State University students were mentored by nationally recognized industry leaders. Mr. Patrick “Paddy” Gough, Orange County Transit Authority (OCTA), discusses the successes and lessons learned from OCTA’s internal mentor/mentee program developed and rolled out for their staff. This webinar examines how to organize a working program as well as some best practices with testimonials from experienced industry professionals. We welcome Mr. Robert Prince, AECOM, and Ms. Linda Bohlinger, Parsons Brinckerhoff, who will be featured in this webinar.
Registration: Click here to register