The following is a list of projects and publications that Transit Mobility researchers are currently working on:
Managing Operational and Capital Costs at Rural and Small Urban Transit Systems, 2021 – Present
Effectively managing transit operational and capital costs is critical to ensuring efficient and effective service that maximizes transit agency resources. This project, sponsored by the Texas Department of Transportation’s Research and Technology Implementation division, will update a guidebook on operational cost control, published in 2014. The new project will not only update the previous guidebook but also add several key topics germane to today’s operational and capital challenges. This project will produce a PDF guidebook, instructor-led workshop, and self-paced online course, available to all.
Qualitative and Quantitative Analysis to Advance Transportation Equity, 2020 – Present
Measuring equity in transportation is vitally important, however, not all methods for assessing transportation equity produce the same results or are appropriate for all scenarios. This research project will establish a detailed understanding of current challenges and needs related to equity assessment in Minnesota, identify or develop assessment methods and equity-focused strategic actions that will improve the likelihood that transportation equity is assessed in a manner that achieves context-sensitive outcomes representative of the communities served, and facilitate the adoption of identified or developed equity assessment methods and complementary strategic actions.
Analysis of Census 2020 Impact on Public Transportation Providers in Texas, 2019 – Present
TTI will review demographic trends in Texas to anticipate changes in urbanized and non-urbanized areas prior to Census 2020 and analyze the resulting implications for transit funding. TTI, in partnership with the Institute for Demographic and Socioeconomic Research (IDSER), will provide technical assistance to assess potential institutional and financial changes that may result from the Census 2020 for Texas transit districts, develop strategies to address related challenges, and hold training sessions to ensure that each transit district is well-prepared for the Census 2020 changes.
TCRP Synthesis SD-06: Transit Agency Relationships and Initiatives to Improve Bus Stops and Pedestrian Access, 2019 – Present
Most U.S. transit trips start at a bus stop. Yet many bus stops are just a sign post on busy road sides that are challenging to access on foot, especially by persons with disabilities. For many bus riders, the journey to access and the wait at the bus stop are negative experiences that may inhibit their ability or desire to take the bus at all. The objective of this synthesis report is to assess the relationships and vision between transit agencies and governmental agencies to improve bus stops and their pedestrian access. Information will be gathered by literature review, and a survey of transit agencies that represent a range of geographies and sizes, and that have implemented strategies to improve bus stops in coordination with others. The synthesis will include five (5) case examples that highlight diverse relationship structures between transit agencies and others (at least one case study should include developers) and their initiatives to provide safe, accessible bus stops that prioritizes pedestrian access. These should highlight successes, challenges and lessons learned. Gaps in information and future research needs will also be identified.
TCRP Synthesis SH-20: Innovative Practices for Transit Planning at Small- and Mid-Sized Transit Agencies, 2019 – 2020
The TCRP Synthesis SH-20 study is documenting innovative practices for solving transit planning challenges faced by small and mid-sized transit agencies. These challenges include but are not limited to concerns about ridership and demographic shifts, first-and last-mile transportation, changes in land use, changes in regulations, service design, funding challenges, and service delivery and technology changes.
The study tasks include identifying key transit planning challenges faced by small and mid-sized transit agencies via a review of previously completed research;confirming the key transit planning challenges faced by small and mid-sized transit agencies via a survey of such agencies;conducting case studies to obtain detailed information about innovative approaches to addressing transit planning challenges and the impacts of those approaches; and preparing a report that emphasizes lessons learned, challenges, and opportunities and identifies future research needs.
TCRP Synthesis SG-17: The Use and Practice of Intelligent Transportation Systems in Real-Time Headway Based Service Bus Operations, 2019 – Present
TTI will synthesize the national and peer international state of the practice of headway based service operations. The Synthesis will focus on the proactive use of ITS technologies, including technology options and operational challenges for headway based service, consultations with operation stakeholders (dispatchers, drivers, planners, and management), collaborations with stakeholders (city, county, MPOs, vendors, data providers, etc.),·context of successful headway based service implementation (dedicated lanes, stage vehicles, etc.). The research will identify current practices and lessons learned and will be gathered by conducting a literature review, a survey of transit systems, and in–depth case examples of transit agencies who have developed innovative practices. Gaps in information and future research needs will also be identified.
University Shuttle System Passenger Sampling Technical Assistance and Tool Development, 2019 – Present
TTI will provide technical assistance to Texas State University’s (TXST) Bobcat shuttle fixed-route bus system to support passenger sampling activities for reporting unlinked passenger trips and passenger miles traveled to satisfy Federal Transit Administration National Transit Database reporting requirements for bus service. TTI’s technical assistance will include evaluating existing data collection procedures, developing a sampling plan and executing the plan, and delivering training and reporting tools as necessary to support TXST’s effort to conduct sampling in future years.
National RTAP Financial Management Advanced Topics Chapters, 2019 – Present
Building on to National RTAP’s Fundamental Financial Management training materials, TTI will develop two advanced topics chapters. The first chapter is on methods for service-based cost allocation, and the second chapter discusses guidelines for providing sponsored service.
National RTAP Two-Variable Cost Allocation Calculator, 2019 – Present
TTI created a two-variable cost allocation model calculator for National RTAP. Two versions of the calculator were created: one using Microsoft Excel and one using Microsoft Access. The calculator helps transit agencies easily allocate their operating costs to different transit programs, funding sources, and service areas. The calculators and supporting manuals are available for download at National RTAP’s website. TTI continues its support of both applications through troubleshooting, training, and enhancements.
Bus Headway Management Improvement Project, 2019 – Present
The Bus Headway Management Improvement Project will seek to fully understand the root causes of, to empirically investigate the best intervention(s) for, and to potentially develop prediction models for bus headway violations (e.g., bunching or gapping) on Capital Metro’s MetroRapid routes (in Austin, TX). The research project will provide Capital Metro with an understanding of the inflection point in headway management (the gap/bunch threshold at which recovery is unlikely), will provide a replicable methodology to detect headway violation patterns, will identify and prioritize potential bunching/gapping solutions and interventions to test and evaluate, will give guidance for dispatchers to more effectively manage bus headways, and will create a replicable analytical methodology and supporting tools to calculate headway reliability performance measures using existing Capital Metro data.
Rural Transit District Financial Sustainability Improvements: Analysis, Tools, and Training, 2019 – Present
To support the financial sustainability of a large rural transit agency, TTI is developing a series of analysis, tools, and training kits, including: a cost allocation model, a transit service pricing tool, a tool for projecting state and federal funding, a 5-year budgeting template, documentation of state and federal requirements regarding non-cash contributions for local match, a board reporting template, board training, and recommendations for improving the accuracy of operating data. TTI will also develop a sponsored services rate policy and tools to help the agency calculate and apply sponsored services rate structures for different entities sponsoring transit service. At the conclusion of the project, TTI will train transit agency staff on all of the tools, enabling the agency to continue use of the tools on their own.
Brazos Transit District Transit Mobility Studies, 2019 – 2020
TTI is providing technical assistance to Brazos Transit District (BTD) through transit mobility analyses for the cities of Lufkin, Diboll, and Nacogdoches, TX. The studies have identified transit service improvement needs and potential transit service models, networks, and accessibility improvements that can be implemented within and between the study areas, which are small towns in East Texas. Work tasks include peer assessments, public engagement, review of current practices and goals, review of local plans and programs, and inventory and analysis of transportation supply and need. The studies have developed and evaluated transit service delivery alternatives, including modified fixed-route service, flex-route service, and general public demand-responsive service; the studies will develop detailed bus stop plans for the preferred alternatives. The project will give BTD staff the institutional knowledge needed to improve existing transportation services and develop tools to help BTD to perform similar studies in the future.
TCRP IDEA T-91: Comprehensive Wayfinding for All (CWall), 2018 – Present
Develop and test a prototype CWall smartphone application (app). CWall is an accessible smartphone app that will provide transit and pedestrian trip planning and navigation assistance along the entire transit trip. CWall will aid users in traveling to bus stops, locating them using accessible pathways, obtaining real-time transit information, and receiving alerts for when to board and get off buses. Although CWall specifically targets users with disabilities, the app will also benefit users without disabilities by reducing the learning curve of taking transit and making the sidewalk and transit network easier to understand and use. Learn more about the project.
El Paso County, Best Practices and Guidelines for Rural Public Transportation Service and Bus Stops, 2019 – Present
This collection of projects is providing assistance in identifying transit organizational, regulatory, and financial framework alternatives for the operation of seamless countywide transit and adapting state-of-the-art methodologies and tools for their application in the region. In Phase 1, researchers synthesized regional demographic and land use characteristics with feedback from a stakeholder committee of local leaders as well as input from riders. The Phase 1 study developed six transit service scenarios utilizing fixed-route, flexible-route, and demand-response transit. Scenarios included operating and capital cost estimates, financial plans, and local share estimates. Phase 2 built upon the Phase 1 work, continuing engagement with local stakeholders and riders, and has resulted in specific guidelines and recommendations for transit service design (including flex-route service tailored to each corridor), route alignments, bus stop placement, and passenger amenities.
Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) Electric Bus Implementation, 2015 – Present
Provide grant writing support to DART for eight electric buses under the Lo/No grant program. After a successful award, TTI is evaluating the deployment of seven (7) Proterra electric buses on the downtown circulator route.
Transit Financial Management Workshops, 2017 – Present
TTI developed and continues to deliver its Making Dollars and Sense of Transit Finance workshop. The full workshop is approximately two-and-a-half days and covers key financial management topics including understand sources of transit funding, requirements for use, procedures for reporting, and strategies to contain costs. The workshop can be customized, and has been delivered in various forms at the following:
- 2020 Southwest Transit Association Conference: Managing your Dollars with Sense and Allocating Costs (1-day workshop)
- 2019 Southwest Transit Association and Texas Transit Association Conference: Money In, Money Out: Managing your Dollars with Sense (1/2-day workshop)
- 2018 Texas Transit Association Conference: Making Dollars and Sense of Transit Finance
- 2017 TxDOT Public Transportation Division Training: Making Dollars and Sense of Transit Finance (1 1/2-day workshop)
- 2017 Texas Transit Association Conference: Making Dollars and Sense of Transit Finance (2 1/2-day workshop)
National Transit Institute (NTI) Course: Performance Based Planning and Programming, 2017 – Present
This new course focuses on planning and programming requirements from FAST Act and MAP-21. John Overman has delivered the first two of many slated. View the Course
National Transit Institute (NTI) Course: State and Metropolitan Transportation Programming, 2011 – Present
John Overman has delivered the course as an NTI contract instructor ten times from 2011-present. View the Course
Ongoing TxDOT Public Transportation Division Support
The projects in this section are ongoing, recurring support projects for TxDOT’s Public Transportation Division.
Texas Transit District Profiles and Performance Dashboard, 2017 – Present
This project provides a thorough understanding of the current status of Texas transit districts regarding governance, service area population and land area, transit service information by mode, fare structure and fare media by mode, operating days and hours by mode, financial status, performance statistics, and planned projects in the coming years. The Texas transit dashboard will be the most up-to-date inventory of state-funded urban and rural transportation providers in Texas and a one-stop information center of their services, performances, financial status, and planned projects. View the dashboard here.
Regionally Coordinated Transportation Planning Metrics, 2016 – Present
This work supports the Public Transportation Division by providing training to lead agencies in planning regions across the state, annually conducting data collection, and assessing statewide metrics regarding Regionally Coordinated Transportation Plans (RCTPs). TTI collects data annually and assesses statewide metrics regarding RCTP.
Texas Transit Leadership Initiative, 2013 – Present
Recognizing the need for succession planning for senior staff and leadership development for current managers and aspiring leaders within the industry, TxDOT’s Public Transportation Division has provided the industry five Texas Transit Leadership Seminars working with TTI and Dr. Barbara Gannon. Approximately 110 Texas transit leaders have successfully completed these seminars. The objectives of the Texas Transit Leadership Seminar are to:
- Help transit managers to understand the difference between supervisor, manager, and leader.
- Assess individual leadership styles.
- Develop and reinforce leadership skills.
- Stimulate thinking about critical issues for the transit industry.
- Encourage discussion and exchange of ideas among peers.
PTN-128 Web System Maintenance, 2007 – Present
PTN-128 is a web-based system that provides a centralized repository for the TxDOT Public Transportation Divison PTN to collect financial operating data from state-funded urban and rural transit districts, large urban transit agencies, and specialized transit agencies. The data collected by the system enables TxDOT and transit agencies to manage and report on public transportation from a single location using a web-based application.
PTN-128 Statewide TxDOT Data Collection and Quality Assurance, 2007 – Present
TTI leads the collection, review, and quality assurance of transit data from all transit agencies in Texas. TTI’s focus is on TxDOT recipients. TTI performs a quarterly and a thorough annual review of data submitted to the PTN-128 website. The objective of the annual review is to help ensure data accuracy and reasonableness prior to 1) calculating transit district allocation by formula, 2) submittal of the Transit STAT Report and 3) submittal of the Rural National Transit Database (NTD) Report.
In support of the PTN-128 system and reporting procedures, TTI provides regular workshops and has developed a series of videos and other training materials.