The following is a list of past research projects and publications by Transit Mobility researchers (2014 and prior).
The City of El Paso, Review of Sun Metro LIFT Service, 2014
The City of El Paso strives to provide on-time and efficient ADA paratransit through its Sun Metro LIFT service. In an effort to further improve the services provided, The City requested TTI to perform an independent, objective assessment of the performance standards and reported metrics for the LIFT paratransit service. TTI conducted the study in two parts: 1) an analysis of LIFT dispatch records documenting the service performed, and 2) a comparison of LIFT performance metrics to data from peer transit agencies. Based on performance data collected for the month of March 2014, TTI evaluated the impact of operating policies and practices on on-time performance and productivity. TTI also collected information about peer transit agency performance standards, operating procedures, and actual performance statistics for ADA paratransit to compare and contrast peer performance to Sun Metro LIFT experience. TTI’s peer review includes specific inquiries about practices to provide premium service for riders returning from medical procedures, such as dialysis.
Strategies to Optimize Real Property Acquisition, Relocation Assistance, and Property Management Practices, 2014
Strategies to Optimize Real Property Acquisition, Relocation Assistance, and Property Management Practices provides improved, integrated real property procedures and business practices in the project development and delivery process. The report also provides suggestions to improve property management practices. The report is accompanied by a CD-ROM that contains an integrated model of the transportation project development and delivery process, including a real property acquisition and relocation assistance model and reference work schedule. View Report here
National Transit Institute (NTI) and National Highway Institute (NHI), Metropolitan Transportation Planning – Course 152069, 2014
Co-developed by John Overman, this course provides a general introduction and overview of the metropolitan transportation planning process, underscoring its relationship to informed decision making. Aspects covered include key elements of the planning process; planning requirements; visioning, goals, objectives and measures of effectiveness; program and project development; alternatives and tools for their analysis. John Overman has delivered this course in numerous cities.
National Transit Institute (NTI) and National Highway Institute (NHI), Introduction to Statewide Transportation Planning – Course 151308, 2014
John Overman co-developed this course working with a FHWA, FTA, and NHI technical panel. Adult learning principles are incorporated into the course to encourage interaction and to maximize the learning experience for participants. The course involves two days of instruction and includes both individual and group exercises, and a variety of learning activities. In addition a CD-ROM was developed that includes course materials and reference materials. Key elements of the course include statewide planning issues, players, requirements, processes, performance measures, financial planning, prioritization, programming, and examples of innovative practices. John Overman has delivered the course in numerous cities, for example: Madison, WI; Hanover, MD, Lansing, MI: Portland, OR; Denver, CO, New Brunswick, NJ; Chicago IL; Houston, TX, Oakland CA; Kansas City, MO; and Columbus OH.
TxDOT, Maximizing Mitigation Benefits – Making a Difference with Strategic Inter-Resource Agency Planning, 2014
The objective of this research project is to assess current mitigation policies and practices in comparison to resource agency objectives, and identify mitigation strategies and priorities that provide greater cost-benefit potential and implementation speed through strategic inter-resource agency planning. Mitigation for various actions associated with transportation development has been part of the process for decades. Although the science, practice, and technology may have advanced during this time, many of the processes and practices are rooted in traditional rules and regulations that require mitigation. The objective for this project is to assess mitigation policies and practices as a whole–looking at both the current and future of mitigation efforts in the transportation development process. This report summarizes activities conducted in the first year of the project. View Report here
Federal Transit Administration, Exploring Transit’s Contribution to Livability in Rural Communities, 2014
The objective of this project is to define national livability performance measures that will allow the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to gauge the effectiveness of Federal transit livability efforts in rural areas. Researchers for this project will work closely with the research team developing the data resources to be able to calculate performance measures on an annual basis in order to track trends and progress.
Idaho Transportation Department, Statewide Mobility Management Systems Analysis & Implementation Plan, 2014
Mobility management embraces affordable, multimodal transportation that is safe, accessible, and economically viable for people and businesses. While mobility management services have flourished in the U.S. over the past decade, the practice is still relatively new. Best practices are only now beginning to emerge and states like Idaho are on the leading edge in defining the optimal mobility management system. The report outlines the following:
- Evaluate the current system, including what is being done well and recommend what may be done better.
- Determine steps so that the system may become more cost efficient and effective.
- Analyze different types of mobility management programs at a national level.
- Provide guidance on strengthening the relationship between urban and rural providers.
Federal Transit Administration (FTA), Gulf Coast Transit Climate Change Adaptation Pilot Study, 2013
Climate change-related issues place substantial operating and financial burdens on public transit agencies, particularly in coastal settings. Gulf of Mexico coastal transit agencies, such as the rural transit provider Galveston Island Transit, and their constituents are especially vulnerable to natural hazards resulting from extreme heat, flooding, and high winds. The FTA contracted with TTI to research the adaptation practices of Gulf Coast transit agencies to reduce the impacts of weather events and long-term climate.
TTI conducted three case studies for Galveston Island Transit, Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART), and the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (Houston METRO) to compile practical information of how Gulf Coast transit agencies deal with the severe weather impacts due to climate change. Case study research provided a conceptual framework for planning and adapting to climate change, vulnerability matrix planning tools, adaptation strategies, and a detailed methodology using GIS spatial data to assess climate change vulnerability of transit assets. Using the information in the FTA-published report as a baseline guide, Gulf Coast transit agencies can renew and improve planning for the impacts of finite weather events and long-term climate change, thus increasing agency staff capabilities, protecting valuable assets, and improving rider safety. View Report here
Houston METRO, METROLift Moving Forward, 2013
As the Houston region’s population grows, METRO wants to provide smart service by matching the right resources to transit needs. METROLift is a transit service for customers who cannot use the local bus routes or rail due to a disability. METRO contracted with the TTI Transit Mobility to provide assistance and direction while they conducted a series of community workshops called METROLift Moving Forward. The workshops were to obtain feedback about complex aspects of paratransit service in the Houston METRO service area. The workshops began Tuesday, March 26, and concluded Saturday, May 18, 2013. METROLift riders, transit riders who use other METRO services, and members of the public who may not use transit participated in the workshops. View Report here
TxDOT, Guidebook: Managing Operating Costs for Rural and Small Urban Public Transit Systems – RMC 6694, 2013
This guidebook is a resource for rural and small urban transit agency managers to use in better understanding, predicting, and managing operational costs. Doing so can improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and sustainability of public transit in the community served. The guide is a framework for assessing current transit agency operating costs and tools to predict future costs and is presented in three parts.
Part 1 introduces the fundamentals of transit operating costs and discusses what drives them. Using real-world examples, part 2 looks at the impact of component costs on an agency’s bottom line to help managers prioritize where to optimize spending to get the biggest bang for their buck. Part 3 provides practical tools to help managers allocate costs by service type and conduct market analyses to improve services offered consumers. View Report here
HDR Inc. and Transit Authority of the City of Omaha (Metro), Omaha Metro On-Board Survey, 2013
Metro conducted an on-board transit passenger survey on seven Monday-Thursday weekdays from Monday, October 1 to Wednesday October 10, 2012. The survey gathered information about bus passengers and their one-way transit trips across the entire Metro network of local and express bus routes. HDR Inc. was the lead consultant, responsible for overall project management. HDR contracted with Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) to conduct the on-board survey element portion of the project. TTI created a survey instrument consisting of 21 questions designed to gather enough information to follow a person’s trip origin to destination. In addition, the survey gathered several types of demographic information useful for transportation planning and travel demand-modeling efforts, such as household size, household income, age, gender, and race/ethnicity. A serial number marked each survey; so TTI staff could identify the survey’s bus route, direction, day and time (amongst other related information). The survey instrument was English on one side and in Spanish on the opposite side of the form.
The survey resulted in a successful response rate from participating Metro transit riders. Metro’s October average weekday ridership in 2012 was 16,191. Surveyors counted 8,474 total passenger boardings during assignments and collected 4,415 surveys—meaning that 52 percent of all passengers who were offered a survey accepted and returned the survey. In addition, more than 3,000 respondents included origin and destination addresses in their response—36 percent of average weekday ridership. The average number of returned surveys per on-vehicle surveyor hour was about 9.7 surveys (double the expected rate); and about 90% of all returned surveys contained responses to most questions. The target final survey sample size was 1,449 survey responses with origin and destination location information. The total number of surveys in the final “All Responses Database” was 4,391 – 303 percent of the target. The number of surveys in the “OD Responses Database” was 2,328 – 161 percent of the target. Get the Executive Summary and Final Report.
Texas State University, Bobcat Tram Interurban On-Board Survey Methodology & Summary, 2013
Texas State University sponsored an on-board survey of its Bobcat Trams Interurban bus routes that connect the campus in San Marcos to communities to the north and south (Austin and San Antonio respectively). Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) provided technical assistance to develop the survey instrument and administer the on-board survey fieldwork in November 2012. TTI recommended a methodology for selecting a survey sample, trained the surveyors, administered the two-day survey effort according to established procedures, data-entered all survey responses, post-processed the survey data, and created report documentation. The intent of the survey was to gather information about BTI passengers and the nature of trips on the service. Transit agencies, and universities, use this type of passenger survey (often called an origin/destination survey) to gather information about transit passengers, trip characteristics, travel patterns, customer satisfaction, and rider. The survey effort successfully sampled 29 of 30 bus trips and obtained more than 500 raw responses. The following list details ridership, surveys handed out, surveys returned, and surveys in the final database as delivered to the university. Bus riders were asked to complete the survey only one time as the intent was to understand each unique rider’s opinions and needs. View Report here
Federal Transit Administration (FTA), Rural Transit Livability Performance Measures, 2013
Building more “livable” communities is a goal of the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). Traditional transit performance measures focus on indicators of effectiveness, efficiency, and quality of the transit service itself and do not necessarily measure how well transit is contributing to livable communities. FTA is sponsoring research to identify livability performance measures suitable for use at a national level. The project involves researchers from three universities who are each assigned to identify, test, and recommend a set of metrics that characterize the contributions of transit systems to the quality of life in the communities they serve. Researchers with the Transit Mobility Program, Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) are working with FTA to develop livability performance measures for rural transit. TTI’s university research partners are the Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) at the University of South Florida, responsible for developing national data-sets and representing the measures spatially, and the Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium (OTREC), responsible for developing livability performance measures for urban transit.
The FTA is in the process of publishing the final research report. However, TTI researchers have presented preliminary findings in several conferences across the country. CUTR created www.transitlivability.org as a data dashboard where you can explore transit’s contribution to livability in both urban and rural context in the United States (note: data not available for all areas as the dashboard effort is still a work in progress).
TxDOT, PTN-128 Performance Based Funding, 2013
PTN-128 provides a centralized repository for TxDOT PTN to collect financial and operating data from state-funded urban and rural transit districts, large urban transit agencies, and specialized transit agencies. The annual review of PTN-128 data looks at changes in performance measures from year to year to ensure data accuracy for input into the state funding formula.
City-County Transportation, Moving Forward 3-Year Plan, 2013
In an effort to assess and adjust the Cleburne City-County Transportation program, Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) developed a 3-year strategic plan outlining various planning, management, and operational strategies needed for the transit program success. In addition, the strategic plan provided transit service and expense assessments illustrating the financial costs for the future. The purpose of the research was to develop actionable recommendations by providing strategic goals and objectives that would enhance the City County Transportation Program.
Lower Rio Grande Valley Development Council, Technical Assistance Toolkit, 2013
In order to assist Valley Metro in improving their overall program efficiency, TTI provided technical assistance to enhance their current route structure, improve service delivery effectiveness, and develop a service-level cost allocation model that would enable them to distribute costs more efficiently.
Valley Metro, Technical Assistance Final Report, 2013
This project was conducted in cooperation with the Lower Rio Grande Valley Development Council (LRGVDC), Valley Metro, and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) Public Transportation Division.The purpose of this report was to compile the existing 2013 technical assistance results for Valley Metro. The report highlights the five-year plan and the overall purpose of the organization, including the service area and transit area assessment, transit expense assessment, additional future service considerations.
Tucson Independent School District, Operational Assessment, 2013
In an effort to assist Gibson Consulting Group, TTI provided technical expertise and product development for an Efficiency Audit of the Tuscon Unified School District. The Efficiency Audit focused primarily in the area of Transportation Management. This included various policies and procedures, as well as management of buses, cars and other communications. TTI was responsible for conducting interviews with key school district administrators and additional faculty members who oversaw or worked in areas of transportation management. TTI provided Gibson Consulting Group with a comprehensive report including all of the relevant findings, recommendations, and additional implementation strategies for consideration.
Gulf Coast Rail District, Freight and Commuter Rail Shared Rights-of-Way Workshop, 2013
The purpose of this project was to assist Gulf Coast Rail District (GCRD) in developing and facilitating a workshop discussing the opportunity and feasibility of using rights-of-way (ROW) adjacent to existing freight rail to develop commuter rail in the Gulf Coast region. The concept is separate rail alignments for freight and commuter rail, but in the same right-of-way corridor. The GCRD effort will focus on shared public and private ROW to accommodate both types of rail in the same corridor with wider separation than most likely exists in other areas.
Houston METRO, Ascertain the Suitability of a Proposed Collision Avoidance System for the Planned Houston METRO Light Rail Transit System, 2013
The primary purpose of a Collision Avoidance System (CAS) is to prevent train-to-train collisions, though there are numerous other functions a CAS can perform, and many ways to design such as system. The objective of this research was to conduct an independent assessment of the proposed CAS for the Houston METRO Light Rail Transit System. The research explored and evaluated the suitability and level of safety of a CAS.
Public Transit Services, Texas Dept. of Transportation, and North Central Texas Council of Governments,Toolkit for Rural Transit Operations and Financial Planning, 2012
Transit agencies across the country want to provide service that enhances the economic, social, environmental, and public health outcomes in the area served. Transit agencies facing growth pressures or change in population mix often struggle to balance changes with available resources. Rural transit agencies also may face the challenge of serving the rural (non-urbanized) area and the adjacent urbanized areas to connect people to jobs, services, and goods as part of regional coordination initiatives.
This toolkit is designed to provide rural transit agencies with a resource for short-range planning. This toolkit applies the planning tools presented to a case study transit agency—Public Transit Services (in North Texas)—to illustrate. The toolkit also provides an information rich resource in the form of tables, maps, and performance data to effectively communicate with stakeholders and partners. View Report here
NCHRP Project 20-65, Task 28 – A Toolkit for Reporting Rural and Specialized Transit Data-Making Transit Count (Research Results Digest 373), 2012
“A Toolkit for Reporting Rural and Specialized Transit Data – Making Transit Count”, provides a set of tools to assist state Departments of Transportation (DOTs) and individual rural and specialized transit providers in data collection, analysis, management and reporting. The need for the research grew out of recognition that rural and specialized transit data are not consistently reported. Recent research has found that rural and specialized transit providers do not have a common understanding of data definitions and collection methods. State DOTs depend on transit providers to report quality data. State DOTs needed a set of tools to assist transit providers in understanding data definitions and collection requirements, to help transit providers utilize performance data to manage service efficiency and effectiveness, to perform quality control checks on data, and to report data to the National Transit Database (NTD) and other stakeholders. The objective of this research project was to develop a set of tools to address these needs. The research was conducted by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute of The Texas A&M University System under contract to Kittelson & Associates Inc. View Report here
TxDOT, Texas Rural Transportation Plan 2035 (TRTP), 2012
The Texas Rural Transportation Plan (TRTP) is the rural component of the Statewide Long Range Transportation Plan (SLRTP) 2035. As part of the SLRTP, the TRTP is a blueprint for the planning process in rural areas and will guide the collaborative efforts between TxDOT, local and regional decision-makers, and all transportation stakeholders to reach a consensus on needed transportation projects and services through 2035. The TRTP is a multi-modal transportation plan that includes the following modes: highways, non-automobile/non-highway modes, bicycles, pedestrian, general aviation, inland waterways, rail (freight and passenger), and rural public transportation.
TTI’s Transit Mobility Program provided assistance to TxDOT Public Transportation Division to work with rural transit agencies and stakeholders to generate information about rural public transportation needs and services to 2035.
Capital Metro, CNG Cost-Benefits Fleet Analysis, 2012
The purpose of the study was to provide technical assistance to Capital Metropolitan Transit Authority (Capital Metro) in evaluating and implementing a compressed natural gas (CNG) – fueled bus fleet. The Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) aompleted the study in conjunction with a similar project sponsored by the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO) in Houston, Texas. View Report here
NCHRP RRD 373 – A Toolkit for Reporting Rural and Specialized Transit Data—Making Transit Count, AASHTO Standing Committee on Public Transportation, 2012
Mobility management is an innovative approach for managing and delivering coordinated public transportation services that embraces the full family of public transit options. At a national level, there are currently no industry recognized performance indicators to measure and monitor performance of mobility management programs. This research looks at the state of mobility management practice throughout Texas, as well as national best practices in mobility management. Additionally, this research provides an overview of the varying roles of state departments of transportation in public transit mobility management efforts. The research also presents applied mobility management for agencies seeking to implement mobility management programs as well as a menu of performance measures that can be utilized based on the type and level of program implemented.
TxDOT, Performance Measures for Public Transit Mobility Management, 2011
Mobility management is an innovative approach for managing and delivering coordinated public transportation services that embraces the full family of public transit options. At a national level, there are currently no industry recognized performance indicators to measure and monitor performance of mobility management programs. This research looks at the state of mobility management practice throughout Texas, as well as national best practices in mobility management. Additionally, this research provides an overview of the varying roles of state departments of transportation in public transit mobility management efforts. The research also presents applied mobility management for agencies seeking to implement mobility management programs as well as a menu of performance measures that can be utilized based on the type and level of program implemented. View Report here
Gibson Consulting Group Inc. for Bridgeport Regional Business Council, Safe and Efficient Student Transportation in Bridgeport Connecticut, 2011
The Bridgeport [CT] Regional Business Council (BRBC) contracted with Gibson Consulting Group Inc. to provide efficiency and technology assistance in many operations areas of the Bridgeport Public Schools (BPS) district. One of the primary objectives of the work was to reduce district expenditures for student transportation and simultaneously improve the quality of services. Gibson Group brought TTI Transit Mobility Program on board to provide subject area experts to the district’s transportation department. Under the direction of the BRBC, and with the cooperation of BPS, Gibson Group and TTI staff reviewed and aided the BPS Transportation Department intermittently during 2010 and full-time during the summer months of 2011. The purpose of the on-site, full-time assistance during 2011 was to aid the department in developing more efficient transportation services for the 2011-2012 school year. The 2011 effort resulted in a net reduction of general education and magnet school bus routes equivalent to 10 buses—net cost savings of about 8 percent—with no change to existing school district policies and shorter average ride-to-school times for students.
University Transportation Center for Mobility (UTCM), Examining Challenges, Opportunities and Best Practices for Addressing Rural Mobility and Economic Development under SAFETEA-LU’s Coordinated Planning and Human Services Framework, 2011
In response to changes in federal requirements for rural transit planning, the Texas State Legislature and the Texas Department of Transportation have recently developed coordinated transit and human services plans for the 24 planning regions in the state of Texas. This study evaluates both the processes that have been adopted throughout the state as well as the types of outcomes that have emerged. Having engaged in perhaps the most comprehensive approach to meeting the revised federal requirements in the United States, the Texas experience in developing coordinated transit and human service plans is particularly useful for identifying opportunities, barriers, and best practices for coordinated rural transit planning, and thus for filling a major gap in the available professional guidance. View Report here
TxDOT, Sizing and Serving Texas Urban Gaps, 2011
Federal and state funding is largely distributed based upon federally defined geographic areas—urbanized areas or rural areas (non-urbanized areas). For urban transit districts, the funding is based upon characteristics of the entire urbanized area. However, the service area boundary for transit providers in urbanized areas often does not match the urbanized area boundary, leaving a portion of the urbanized area without a designated transit provider. The unserved area is referred to as an urban gap. This research estimates the magnitude and characteristics of urban gaps in all urbanized areas in Texas based upon both the 2000 Census and a projection of the 2010 Census. The research then presents case studies on a variety of approaches that are being used in Texas to fund and operate transit service to urban gap populations. View Report here
University Transportation Center for Mobility (UTCM),Transportation Plan Repository and Archive, 2011
This project created a repository and archive for transportation planning documents within the established Texas A&M Repository. The transportation plan archive and repository provides ready access without charge to transportation plans to planners, researchers, policy makers, and the public—whether for planning purposes, research, or general information. The Texas A&M Repository provides persistent and reliable access to digital works for wide distribution and long-term preservation. The project leverages the underlying database and search interface that are part of the Texas A&M Repository and takes advantage of the Repository’s servers, storage, and commitment to maintain the files permanently. Past decisions and their outcomes inform future decisions, part of a continuous, comprehensive, and cooperative process to improve transportation mobility for all. This project developed a process for collecting transportation plans, creating repository records, and for uploading the documents. It established a homepage for the collection and developed a consistent set of metadata for elements of the repository records such as agency names, dates, and plan topics. View Report here
HDR Inc., Regional Transit (RT, Sacramento, California), On-board Bus and Light-rail Passenger Survey Development, Methodology and Findings, 2011
This project was performed as part of planning activities sponsored by Sacramento Regional Transit (RT), the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), and the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans). Sacramento RT sponsored the onboard survey, and HDR, Inc. was the lead consultant, responsible for overall project management. HDR also data entered all survey responses, geocoded addresses, and prepared the survey database for Sacramento RT. HDR contracted with Texas A&M Transportation Institute Transit Mobility Program to provide technical assistance for the onboard survey. TTI recommended a methodology for selecting a survey sample, trained the surveyors, and ensured the survey was administered according to established procedures. The onboard survey target was 4,526 bus surveys and 1,600 light-rail surveys (2 lines). The total number of bus surveys was 9,457—or 209% of target. The total number of rail surveys was 2,631—or 164% of target. After survey responses were data entered elsewhere, TTI cleaned the data; factored survey responses based on known ridership trends; and evaluated the findings as requested by HDR and RT. No public report of findings and methodology is available.
University Transportation Center for Mobility (UTCM), Impacts of Funding and Allocation Changes on Rural Transit in Texas, 2011
Methods of allocating funding for rural transit districts (RTDs) have changed in the last several years. The Federal Transit Administration increased federal funding for non-urbanized (rural) transit under SAFETEA-LU. At the same time, the Texas Transportation Commission approved a needs- and performance-based formula for allocating state and federal funds among RTDs. This research project had two goals: to assess whether these changes in federal and state rural transit funding have affected the ability of RTDs to match federal funds (a requirement to receive that funding), and to gauge whether these changes have affected service levels and ridership.
Significant results of the study concern the following:
- The gap between state and federal funds: RTDs often find it difficult to generate local revenues and so rely on state funds to match federal funds. The shortfall in state funds required to match available federal programs available to RTDs was estimated at $5.3 million in fiscal year 2010.
- Increased operational costs: Despite increased federal funding, increased operational costs affect RTDs’ ability to maintain or enhance service. Fuel, insurance, and cost-of-living wage adjustments will cost RTDs an additional $2.0 million in fiscal year 2011.
- RTD level of service: As funding increased, level of service increased (in revenue miles). As level of service increased, ridership also increased. As funding decreased, RTDs’ level of service decreased. As level of service decreased, ridership also decreased.
State planners can use this information to project anticipated changes in demand for public transit in rural areas and to craft appropriate strategies. Without future increases in state funding, RTDs will face an increasing burden to find local sources of funding for federal local-match requirements. A reduction in funding is likely to result in less transit in the communities served. A growing and aging rural population will also increase the demand. View Report here
TxDOT, Review of Public Transit Services in Henderson County, Texas, 2010
The Public Transportation Division of the Texas Department of Transportation contracted with the Texas A&M Transportation Institute to provide technical assistance to the East Texas Council of Governments in evaluating rural public transit services in Henderson County and to evaluate service alternatives to improve service within budget constraints. Another purpose of the study was to develop a methodology template for ETCOG staff to replicate in other counties in East Texas. View Report here
TCRP Report 141 – A Methodology for Performance Measurement and Peer Comparison in the Public Transportation Industry, with Kittelson & Associates Inc., 2010
TCRP Report 141 – A Methodology for Performance Measurement and Peer Comparison in the Public Transportation Industry is an important resource that will be of interest to transit managers, decision-makers, and others interested in using performance measurement and benchmarking as tools to (1) identify the strengths and weaknesses of their organization, (2) set goals or performance targets, and (3) identify best practices to improve performance. View Report here
TxDOT, Estimated Impact of the 2010 Census on the Texas Funding Formula for Public Transportation, 2010
The purpose of the research “Estimated Impact of the 2010 Census on the Texas Transit Funding Formula”, was to project population growth for the 2010 Census in urbanized and non-urbanized areas in Texas and to identify the impacts on funding allocations using the Texas Transit Funding Formula. The research was a collaborative effort between the Institute for Demographic and Socioeconomic Research (IDSER) at the University of Texas at San Antonio and Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI). View Report here
TxDOT, Peer Grouping and Performance Measurement to Improve Rural and Small Urban Transit in Texas, 2010
Rural and small urban transit systems in Texas will become even more important with predicted changes in population trends. Rural demographic trends indicate growth in the number of persons age 65 and over coupled with a decrease in population density. Small urban area trends indicate substantial population growth and broadened geographic boundaries, yet resources to provide rural and small urban transit are limited. Therefore, transit managers find it is increasingly important to maximize service efficiency and effectiveness. The purpose of this research was to identify peer groups, performance benchmarks, and strategies used by successful transit providers to achieve high performance. The research project identifies peer groups based on the transit environment within which each agency operates, so that agencies can be compared to other operators who face similar environments. Peer group effectiveness and efficiency performance are examined within and between rural and urban peer groups, and high performers are identified for case studies. Through the case studies, key attributes are identified for achieving high operating efficiency and/or effectiveness. Performance strategies are categorized to provide transit providers with transferable information to improve performance and increase the return on transit investment. View Report here
Capital Metro (Austin) Service Expansion Policy: A Methodology for Calculating Cost by Type of Service, 2010
Capital Metro has seen increasing interest in transit service from jurisdictions near, but not within, the agency’s service area over the past several months. Concurrently, the Regional Transit Coordination Committee has initiated research and other efforts to improve regional transit service in recognition of the limitations of Capital Metro’s service area and other factors. Capital Metro Board of Directors adopted a policy statement to guide the provision of service to areas outside of the existing service area. In response to the policy adoption, TTI provided technical assistance to Capital Metro in an effort to refine the agency’s approach to planning, organizing, and the cost of delivering out of service area public transportation.
TCRP Report 141 – A Methodology for Performance Measurement and Peer Comparison in the Public Transportation Industry, 2010
A methodology for Performance Measurement and Peer Comparison in the Public Transportation Industry explores the use of performance benchmarking as tools to help identify the strengths and weaknesses of a transit organization, set goals or performance targets, and identify best practices to improve performance. View Report here
University Transportation Center for Mobility (UTCM), Dispatching Demand Response Transit Service: Maximizing Productivity and Service Quality Guidebook, 2009
The ability of transit agencies to staff dispatch effectively and use technology to its full advantage is critical in responding proactively as service changes occur and in making sound routing decisions. Sound routing decisions result in improved productivity and cost-effective service delivery. A modest 3% improvement in service productivity would save the average rural demand response transit agency approximately $65,000 annually. This project focused on improving productivity while maintaining service quality. Researchers collected data from 42 demand response rural and small urban transit agencies regarding operations and use of technology. A database of results identified five transit providers that represented a cross-section of agencies and could be used for case studies of dispatch operation. Case studies focused on: 1) dispatcher goals and objectives, 2) dispatch-driver policies and procedures, 3) team responsibilities and expectations, and 4) reports and material collection. This resulting draft guidebook describes the impact of maximizing productivity, development of policies and procedures that affect productivity, service delivery strategies that impact productivity, dispatch performance measurement, an assessment tool for productivity elements of dispatch, and steps to implement a productive dispatch operation. The final guidebook, when available, will be placed on the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) web site. Staff will request approval to post it on the Texas Department of Transportation’s Regional Service Planning web site as well. Notification of the report will be made through e-mail to the U.S. Department of Transportation public transportation coordinators.
University Transportation Center for Mobility (UTCM), Nationwide Examples of State and Local Funds for Mass Transit presented to the Texas Senate Committee on Transportation and Homeland Security, 2008
One of the transportation challenges facing Texas is the identification of adequate funding for mobility projects. During the 80th Texas Legislature, several proposals were made to address mass transit funding for the metropolitan areas of the state. The chairman of the Texas Senate Committee on Transportation and Homeland Security requested the Texas A&M Transportation Institute to update previous research on national examples for funding regional transit and to provide additional information on regional rail projects. The research is presented in this paper documenting nationwide examples for funding mass transit and regional rail. The research findings provide background information for members of the Senate Committee as they consider and make decisions for funding mass transit in Texas. View Report here
TxDOT, Integrating Regional Multimodal and Public Transportation Planning, 2008
Chapter 461 of the Texas State Transportation Code focuses on maximizing the benefits of the state’s investment in public transportation through the coordination of services. In 2005, the Texas Transportation Commission, under the leadership of Commissioner Hope Andrade, established the Regional Planning and Public Transportation Study Group. The mission of the Study Group was to review current public transportation planning and programming practices within metropolitan, suburban, and rural areas and to enhance service delivery, customer satisfaction, efficiency and effectiveness. TxDOT sponsored project 0-5542 to support the Study Group and twenty four regional efforts to develop regional coordinated human service public transportation plans. The report presents the major elements of the planning and implementation process conducted by twenty-four planning regions and TxDOT. The three primary project objectives included:
- A website and information clearinghouse for coordinated public transit-human services transportation plans http://www.regionalserviceplanning.org/
- Facilitating regional coordination plan development efforts
- Providing technical and information resource services to the planning regions.
TxDOT and UTCM, Building Partnerships: Moving Forward, 2008 Workshops and Discussions on Regional Coordination, 2008
There is a demonstrated need for outreach, education, training and technology transfer for transportation professionals involved in regional human service transit coordination. The purpose of the Regional Coordination Workshop was to improve effectiveness of transportation service, generate efficiencies in operation, enhance customer service and satisfaction, and encourage cooperation and coordination through use of technology. The sessions used themed learning tracks and covered the topics of effective partnerships, coordinated planning, technology, marketing/outreach, and public involvement. The Regional Coordination Workshop was held on July 23 and 24, 2008, in Austin, Texas, and was attended by 172 participants from a variety of agencies and organizations involved in regional human service transit coordination. Regional Coordination Workshop materials and presentations can be found on the Regional Service Planning website. Learn More
TxDOT, The Role of Private-for-Hire Vehicles in Texas Public Transit, 2007
Private-for-hire vehicles (PHVs) are an existing and potentially larger part of Texas’ transportation mix. This project gathered Texas data and the methodology from Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) Report 75, The Role of the Private-for-Hire Industry in Public Transit to examine the PHV industry in Texas and the possible roles of PHVs in the coordinated public transportation system. Texas A&M Transportation Institute researchers surveyed both the PHV industry and public transit providers. Researchers then compiled profiles of each respondent, examining factors including fleet size and composition, organizational structure, contract type used, dispatching system used, and type of services. This information combined with the TCRP findings identified many opportunities and challenges for PHVs in the Texas transit environment. PHV companies may fill particular service niches within a coordinated transportation network. Twenty-four regions across the state developed their first regional service plans to support greater collaboration and coordination among service providers. Regions have assembled working groups and advisory committees to continue the work of implementing recommendations, refining concepts, and updating plans.
TxDOT, Technical Assistance with Rural and Urban Public Transportation Planning, 2005
The Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) assisted in transferring the results of recent research related to operating rural transit systems, linking rural and metropolitan transit services, and planning commuter rail systems. Assistance was provided to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), transit operators, and other agencies working with TxDOT. Research objectives included the following:
- Review the metropolitan planning organization planning process for rapidly urbanizing areas around Austin as part of a TTI study for the Federal Highway Administration;
- Provide formal facilitation of the Scoping Group for the Capital Area Regional Transit Coordination Committee. The goal of the project was to assist the Capital Area to develop a strategy, schedule, budget, and management approach for regional transit coordination during the period October 2005 to September 2006;
- Facilitate the discussion of integrated transit services for San Marcos. A memorandum of agreement was approved by the mayor and city council of San Marcos, by the president of Texas State University, and by the Capital Area Rural Transportation System (CARTS) board;
- Review the current CARTS reporting and productivity reports and assist in setting up the new framework for system route analysis and productivity; and
- Identify the impact of limited financial resources on the ability to provide rural public transportation in the rural areas in Hays, Travis, and Williamson Counties that surround Austin, Texas, and to recommend feasible strategies to maintain historical service levels in the short term (three years) and to increase transit service levels in the midterm (10 years). Possible strategies may include different approaches for service delivery, opportunities for coordination of services, innovative service design, and approaches to allocation of limited financial resources.
TxDOT, Long Range Transit Plan for Exurban Area near Austin, 2005
The Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) provided technical assistance to the Texas Department of Transportation to include plans for the Capital Area Rural Transit System (CARTS) in the Austin area metropolitan transportation plan (MTP) 2005-2030. TTI analyzed transit demand based upon the population data by transportation analysis zone (TAZ) in the exurban area surrounding Austin and now within the rural transit district service area. The findings of the research were reported as statistics for performance, service level, cost (operating and capital), and revenue data as required to include the rural service area in the MTP for 2005-2030.
Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), New and Innovative Practices for Incorporating Rapidly Urbanizing Rural Areas in the Metropolitan Planning Process, 2004
The Texas A&M Transportation Institute participated in a research project to identify illustrative examples of innovative multimodal transportation planning practice by states and metropolitan planning organizations to include rural communities near rapidly growing urbanized areas or small towns that are expected to become urbanized by the next census. The project findings identified methods to strengthen the involvement and contribution of key stakeholders from rural communities and small towns in the multimodal planning process in anticipation of status as an urbanized area.