The following selection of projects represents the breadth of Transit Mobility Program participation in ongoing research projects and completed projects (reverse chronological order):
TCRP B-44 Medicaid NEMT
Assurance of access to health care is a basic feature of the Medicaid program that serves the nation’s poorest and most vulnerable populations. As a requirement to provide non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT), states recognize transportation as a fundamental aspect of healthcare (Medicaid’s Medical Transportation Assurance, 2009). NEMT is the federal government’s largest program for human services transportation.
States administer the Medicaid program and each state has its own rules and regulations. For this reason, coordination of NEMT with public transit and human services transportation is highly dependent on each state Medicaid agency’s policies and procedures. Over the past decade, many state and federal transportation agencies have encouraged coordinating NEMT with other publicly funded transportation services. In recent years, however, some state Medicaid officials have created brokerage and other initiatives that focus exclusively on the transportation needs of Medicaid recipients. Public transit agencies, particularly in rural areas, mobility managers, and proponents of transportation coordination have expressed concerns about this trend.
For more information, visit the TCRP B-44 Medicaid NEMT project page.
Review of Sun Metro LIFT Service
The City of El Paso, Texas, 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.
TTI produced a report (Review of Sun Metro LIFT Service, 2014), a PowerPoint presentation to the Mass Transit Board, and a peer review database to complement the final report (please click the links to download a copy).
METROLift Moving Forward
Houston METRO, 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. To obtain more information and to view TTI’s deliverables to METROLift, please visit www.ridemetro.org/Pages/MLMovingForward.aspx
Guidebook: Managing Operating Costs for Rural and Small Urban Public Transit Systems (RMC 6694)
Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), 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. Get the Report
Omaha Metro On-Board Survey
HDR Inc. and Transit Authority of the City of Omaha (Metro), 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
Bobcat Tram Interurban On-Board Survey Methodology & Summary
Texas State University, 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. Get the Report
The following summarizes the survey response:
- 885 total ridership over two days of surveying;
- 551 surveys handed out (62 percent of riders, remember riders asked to only complete once)
- 515 surveys returned (58 percent of riders and 93 percent of surveys handed out)
- 492 surveys in database after data entry and post-processing (56 percent of riders and 89 percent of surveys handed out).
Rural Transit Livability Performance Measures
Federal Transit Administration (FTA), 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. Fore more information, to ask a question, or request copies of conference presentations please contact Suzie Edrington, Associate Research Scientist at (713) 613-9207 or firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition, 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).
Transit Capacity and Quality of Service Manual, 3rd Edition
with Kittelson & Associates Inc., Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP), Ongoing
Texas A&M Transportation Institute researchers in the Transit Mobility Program are assisting with the development of an updated, third edition of the “Transit Capacity and Quality of Service Manual”. The 2nd Edition was published in 2003 as TCRP Report 100. There are no public documents currently available for the third edition. The 2nd Edition is available free online.
Metropolitan Transportation Planning (Course 152069)
National Transit Institute (NTI) and National Highway Institute (NHI)
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. TTI Transit Mobility’s John Overman has delivered this course in numerous cities. For more information on this course click here.
Introduction to Statewide Transportation Planning (Course 151308)
National Transit Institute (NTI) and National Highway Institute (NHI)
TTI’s 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. Mr. 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. For more information on this course click here.
Toolkit for Rural Transit Operations and Financial Planning
Public Transit Services, Texas Dept. of Transportation, and North Central Texas Council of Governments, 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. Get the Report
A Toolkit for Reporting Rural and Specialized Transit Data–Making Transit Count (Research Results Digest 373)
National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP), Project 20-65, Task 28, 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. Get the Report
Texas Rural Transportation Plan 2035 (TRTP)
Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), 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.
Performance Measures for Public Transit Mobility Management
Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), 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. Get the Report
Safe and Efficient Student Transportation in Bridgeport Connecticut
with Gibson Consulting Group Inc. for Bridgeport Regional Business Council, 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.
Examining Challenges, Opportunities and Best Practices for Addressing Rural Mobility and Economic Development under SAFETEA-LU’s Coordinated Planning and Human Services Framework
University Transportation Center for Mobility (UTCM), 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. Get the Report
Sizing and Serving Texas Urban Gaps
Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), 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. Get the Report
Transportation Plan Repository and Archive
University Transportation Center for Mobility (UTCM), 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. Get the Report
On-board Bus and Light-rail Passenger Survey Development, Methodology and Findings
with HDR Inc., Regional Transit (RT, Sacramento, California), 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.
Impacts of Funding and Allocation Changes on Rural Transit in Texas
University Transportation Center for Mobility (UTCM), 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. Get the Report
Review of Public Transit Services in Henderson County, Texas
Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) Public Transportation Division, 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. Get the Report
Service Expansion Policy: A Methodology for Calculating Cost by Type of Service
Capital Metro (Austin, Texas), 2010
TCRP Report 141. A Methodology for Performance Measurement and Peer Comparison in the Public Transportation Industry
with Kittelson & Associates Inc., Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP), 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. Get the Report
Estimated Impact of the 2010 Census on the Texas Funding Formula for Public Transportation
Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), 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). Get the Report
Peer Grouping and Performance Measurement to Improve Rural and Small Urban Transit in Texas
Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), 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 transferrable information to improve performance and increase the return on transit investment. Get the Report
Commute Solutions: An Evaluation of Selected Elements
Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC), 2010
Dispatching Demand Response Transit Service: Maximizing Productivity and Service Quality Guidebook
University Transportation Center for Mobility (UTCM), 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.
Nationwide Examples of State and Local Funds for Mass Transit presented to the Texas Senate Committee on Transportation and Homeland Security
University Transportation Center for Mobility (UTCM), 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. Get the Report
Integrating Regional Multimodal and Public Transportation Planning
Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), 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. Learn More
Building Partnerships: Moving Forward, 2008 Workshops and Discussions on Regional Coordination
TxDOT and UTCM, 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
Efficiency and Effectiveness Study
Valley Metro (Regional Public Transportation Authority, Phoenix, AZ), 2007
The Role of Private-for-Hire Vehicles in Texas Public Transit
Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), 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. Learn More
Technical Assistance with Rural and Urban Public Transportation Planning
TxDOT and various other government or transit entities, 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.
Long Range Transit Plan for Exurban Area near Austin
Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), 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.
New and Innovative Practices for Incorporating Rapidly Urbanizing Rural Areas in the Metropolitan Planning Process
Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), 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.
Environmental Compliance Manual for Small Urban and Rural Transit Systems
Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), 2001
This project developed a compliance guide and accompanying environmental compliance workshop to help small urban and rural transit providers comply with environmental rules. The three deliverables are available to the public. Learn More
Analysis of the Feasibility of Circulator Transit Service for South Main/Texas Medical Center
South Main Alliance, Houston Metro, and Texas Medical Center (TMC)
The Texas A&M Transportation Institute assisted South Main Alliance, Houston METRO, and Texas Medical Center (TMC) in a project to evaluate performance of the current TMC Trolley and to evaluate feasible options for new circulator routes. Transit service evaluation was based on the METRO subsidy-based performance model adopted in 2004. The project included an evaluation of alternative circulator services in the South Main/TMC area with varying alignments and service delivery methods. Each alternative was tested in accordance with threshold criteria established by METRO in order to determine implementation feasibility.
Guidelines for an HOV Strategy for the Arterial Street Network in Atlanta
Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT)
The Texas A&M Transportation Institute worked with the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) to identify a number of different treatments that can be used to extend the GDOT Strategic Freeway HOV Plan to arterial streets. Researchers designed and documented a strategic planning process for the arterial street system. When used to complement the freeway high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) system, the arterial HOV treatments can facilitate the movement of buses, vanpools, and carpools through congested areas, provide travel time savings, enhance transit, and improve trip reliability.
HOV Performance Monitoring Plan
Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT)
The Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) developed a comprehensive data collection and reporting program to monitor the effectiveness of high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes for the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT). The project team recommended to GDOT a performance monitoring program with requirements for HOV data collection and reporting.
Five-year Financial Plan for Transit Operations
Gulf Coast Center (GCC)
The Texas A&M Transportation Institute developed a five-year financial plan for the Gulf Coast Center. The center is the rural and small urban transit provider for Galveston, Brazoria, and Fort Bend Counties in Texas. The center is also the Medicaid transportation provider for the three-county area. The financial plan incorporated operating and capital expenses and revenues for a variety of modes and jurisdictions.
Implementation of Advanced Technologies in Rural Transit Services
Capital Area Rural Transportation System (CARTS) and Texas Commission of Health and Human Services (HHS)
The scope of the project was to implement an operational test which integrated the Lone Star Debit Card technology used by the Texas Commission of Health and Human Services (HHS) with the Advanced Public Transportations Systems (APTS) technologies already in use by the Capital Area Rural Transportation System (CARTS). The project integrated the Lone Star Debit Card technology with the card reader function and other APTS technologies in order to track coordinated human service agency ridership and generate reports required by the Texas Department of Transportation. The Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) designed the evaluation approach and program consistent with performance measures and was available to review the work of the project team during testing and implementation.