One of the main ways the public transit industry conducts research that develops practical solutions to its challenges is through the Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP). In recent years, numerous contributors from Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI), especially those in TTI’s Transit Mobility Program, have performed research and published practical reports for TCRP.
TTI’s researchers create knowledge that supports and transforms public transportation, shared mobility, and multi-modal access for the benefit of society. This includes researchers within TTI’s Transit Mobility Program and several other transit experts across the institute. In the last four years alone, they have been responsible for – or co-authored – 16 publications, with 11 more currently in progress. These publications cover a wide array of topics, including the impact of vehicle automation on the transit workforce, the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists in bus rapid transit corridors, and the integration of general-public and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) paratransit services.
“TTI researchers work tirelessly to ensure their research meets the needs of the public transit industry—bringing both innovation and pragmatism to transit challenges,” says TTI Research Scientist and Transit Mobility Program Manager Michael Walk. “Our significant productivity for the TCRP program is one way that TTI helps shape the future of public transportation.”
Here are the recent TCRP publications originating from TTI and TTI’s Transit Mobility Program:
- TCRP Research Report 239 – Provision of Alternative Services by Transit Agencies: The Intersection of Regulation and Program details how alternative services provide cost savings for transit agencies and meet more spontaneous travel needs of paratransit riders.
- TCRP Research Report 243 – Transportation for People with Disabilities and Older Adults During COVID-19: Lessons for Emergency Response aims to provide transportation organizations (including transit agencies, specialized transportation providers, and other local government agencies and stakeholders) with helpful information and strategies on providing service for persons with disabilities and older adults in emergency situations.
- TCRP Synthesis 165 – Customer Education and Awareness of On-Demand Mobility features information about the motivations and strategies that transit agencies or other local government entities use to increase awareness and understanding of their on-demand services by current customers and potential riders.
- TCRP Synthesis 168 – Continuous Dynamic Optimization Impacts on ADA Paratransit Services discusses the benefits of implementing Continuous Dynamic Optimization (CDO) and how it has changed the way many transit agencies provide ADA paratransit services. While CDO has resulted in numerous advantages, there are also challenges that transit agencies must also address.
- TCRP Synthesis 169 – Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety in Bus Rapid Transit and High-Priority Bus Corridors focuses on how the increase of bus rapid transit, while improving mobility and accessibility for residents, can pose a safety threat to pedestrians and bicyclists. Through various case studies, the research reveals that safety outcomes differ based on corridor design and mitigation strategies.
- TCRP Synthesis 171 – Third-Party Contracts for Fixed-Route Bus Operations and Maintenance: Performance Metrics provides a recent assessment of performance metrics employed in contracted bus services across North America. The findings supply valuable insights into outsourced bus service, encompassing its prevalence, contractual aspects as well as the performance measures adopted for contractor management.
- TCRP Report 232 – The Impacts of Vehicle Automation on the Public Transportation Workforce delves into the workforce implications arising from the growth of vehicle automation within various segments of public transportation. The study particularly focuses on bus automation for maintenance and yard operation, automated low-speed shuttles, automated bus rapid transit, automated mobility on demand as well as automated local bus transit. The investigation primarily centers around four crucial factors: existing workforce, job creation potential, jobs subject to change, and unaffected jobs.
- TCRP Report 233 – Strategies for Deterring Trespassing on Rail Transit and Commuter Rail Rights-of-Way offers strategies for preventing unauthorized access to rail transit and commuter rail exclusive or semi-exclusive rights-of-way. These strategies encompass the areas both along the tracks and within station precincts, extending to regions beyond designated pedestrian crossing points.
- TCRP Synthesis 156 – Uses of Social Media in Public Transportation serves as an updated version of 2012’s TCRP Synthesis 99: Uses of Social Media in Public Transportation. It examines the innovative and effective practices of social media use among transit agencies in both the U.S. and Canada.
- TRCP Synthesis 161 – ADA Paratransit and Other Demand-Responsive Transportation Services in Small to Midsized Transit Agencies identifies and assess the pros and con of different types of demand-responsive service models as implemented by transit agencies serving small urban areas, small to midsized urban transit agencies that also serve adjacent rural areas and smaller transit agencies within larger urban areas.
- TCRP Synthesis 164 – Bus Rapid Transit: Current State of Practice documents how transit and transportation agencies in the U.S. and Canada are currently using bus rapid transit to improve bus service reliability, travel time, efficiency, customer satisfaction and ridership.
- TCRP Synthesis 152 – Transit Agency Relationships and Initiatives to Improve Bus Stops and Pedestrian Access discusses the current state of practice for bus stop and pedestrian infrastructure improvement programs and the importance of pathway accessibility for people to take the bus. The study examines existing programs and processes implemented by transit agencies and other organizations for improving this infrastructure through strategic approaches and partnerships.
- TCRP Synthesis 154 – Innovative Practices for Transit Planning at Small to Mid-Sized Agencies documents innovative practices that small and mid-sized transit agencies have used to solve transit planning challenges. These challenges include concerns about ridership, demographic shifts, first- and last-mile transportation, changes in land use, changes in regulations, service design, funding challenges, service delivery, and technology changes.
- TCRP Synthesis 155 – Intelligent Transportation Systems in Headway-Based Bus Service summarizes the existing state of practice in headway-based service operations and emphasizes the proactive application of intelligent transportation systems technologies for optimizing these services.
- TCRP Synthesis 157 – Transit Safety Risk Assessment Methodologies is crafted to assist the transit industry in gaining a deeper understanding of contemporary and emerging innovative approaches within the realm of safety risk assessment (SRA). SRA plays a crucial role within the overall transit system.
- TCRP Synthesis 149 – Transit Signal Priority: Current State of the Practice analyzes the current practice of Transit Signal Priority (TSP), which is crucial in increasing bus speeds and reliability. TSP provides transit vehicles with priority at traffic signals, ultimately improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the transit system.
Additionally, TTI researchers are working on the following research projects, which ultimately will become TCRP publications:
- Project A-47 – Transit Capacity and Quality of Service Manual, 4th edition.
- Project A-48 – Mitigation Strategies for Deterring Transit Assaults.
- Project B-47– Impact of Transformational Technologies on Underserved Populations.
- Project B-49/NCHRP 08-147 – Improving Public Transportation in Rural Areas and Tribal Communities.
- Project B-50 – Accessible Public Bus and Rail Passenger Information for Riders with Vision Disabilities.
- J-11/Task 44 – Improving Access to Public Transportation Services and Facilities with Transit-Oriented Complete Streets.
- Synthesis SB-37 – Transit Agency Goals and Non-Traditional Performance Indicators Focused on Equity.
- Synthesis SB-38 – Paratransit Fleet Configurations.
- Synthesis SB-39 – Improving Transit Customer Perception of Personal Security.
- Synthesis SB-42 – Operational and Service Factors When Integrating/Consolidating ADA Paratransit and On-Demand Services.
- Synthesis SD-07 – Red Tinted Bus Lanes Experience.
“The transit landscape has changed significantly over the past few years,” Walk notes. “Each report represents TTI’s passion for providing public transit providers and decision makers with useful, data-driven and unbiased information to help them meet today’s challenges and innovate for tomorrow. TTI’s transit research accomplishments, showcased through these TCRP publications, underscore the strength and capability of TTI in shaping the future of public transportation and shared mobility.”