Innovative Practices for Technology Implementation at Rural, Small, and Mid-Sized Transit Agencies

The past decade has seen a proliferation of advanced technology used to deliver public transportation services, such as mobility-on-demand mobile applications, real-time bus arrival information, driver-assist/autonomous vehicle functions, and security-related surveillance software. Each technology addresses the real needs of public transportation providers, such as providing increased safety and security or reducing harmful vehicle emissions. However, with each new technology implementation, public transportation agencies face multiple challenges, such as integrating new systems into legacy technology platforms, staff training to utilize new technology capabilities fully, and the ongoing maintenance of the full technology infrastructure at the agency. Additionally, each new technology implementation increases the complexity of the technology ecosystem. While agencies of all sizes have technology-related challenges, rural, small, and mid-sized agencies are significantly constrained by fewer staff, limited access to technical skills in the workforce, and funding capacity for technology planning, procurement, implementation, utilization, evaluation, and maintenance. Many smaller agencies work in close collaboration with state departments of transportation (DOTs), which typically administer 49 U.S.C. 5311 funding for non-urbanized transportation and the state Rural Technical Assistance Programs. However, not all state DOTs have on-the-ground operational expertise to support smaller agencies as they explore new and innovative technologies. Smaller transit agencies’ lack of technical and resource capacity can result in underinvestment in technology. On the opposite end of the spectrum, smaller agencies can become overinvested in technology that they struggle to utilize fully or that hurt operations due to system failures, lack of integration with existing systems, or other incompatibilities. There is a need to understand how rural, small, and mid-sized agencies can “right size” the technology suite to meet operational needs and organizational capacity. The objective of the research is to develop resources for public transportation officials at state DOTs and rural, small, and mid-sized transit agencies to assist agencies in developing a strategy to plan, procure, implement, and maintain transit technologies and ensure their success.


  • English


  • Status: Proposed
  • Funding: $350000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project A-51

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Transit Cooperative Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC    20001

    Federal Transit Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Project Managers:

    Garcia-Colberg, Mariela

  • Start Date: 20240408
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01867011
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project A-51
  • Files: TRB, RIP
  • Created Date: Dec 13 2022 10:04AM