Improving Public Transportation in Rural Areas and Tribal Communities

The objective of this research is to produce a guidebook on how to initiate new and enhance existing rural and tribal public transportation services that improve mobility and accessibility. The guidebook should promote practices that are responsive to customers and aid transit providers in improving efficiency and effectiveness.  The guidebook should also help transit providers better leverage and coordinate resources, comply with federal requirements, and adopt appropriate emerging technologies. The guidebook must address the differences among rural areas and tribal communities with regard to their distinguishing characteristics (e.g.,  size, population density, demographics, current mobility options, economic conditions, proximity to small, medium, and large urban areas, proximity to health facilities, geography, road infrastructure, internet connectivity, funding, and weather conditions) and how these characteristics effect public transportation services.  The research should include a survey to identify best practices and innovation for improving mobility and accessibility in disparate rural and tribal settings.  The survey should produce a synthesis that will frame the balance of the research.  The research should then explore and present best practices and innovations in detail. The final deliverable should be a practical and actionable guidebook that will serve the diverse rural and tribal agencies in the United States that provide public transportation, as well as the state departments of transportation (DOTs) that oversee and administer these services.  The final deliverable should address: (1) Service strategies.  Include traditional fixed-route and newer route-deviated services, various types of on-demand transit, and other mobility options, identifying the pros and cons of different service strategies for rural and tribal settings. (2) Role of technology. Recognizing funding and staffing constraints, identify areas where technology (1) is useful to rural and tribal public transportation services, and (2) helps improve mobility, service quality, efficiency, and effectiveness. Include steps that agencies can take to evaluate new technologies. (3) Funding.  Provide a primer on federal funding and best practices and innovations in state, local, and private funding to support public transportation in rural areas and tribal communities. (4) Improvements to efficiency and effectiveness.  Present best practices and innovations for (1) constraining costs and maximizing the use of available resources and (2) increasing total ridership, as well as passengers served per mile and per hour. (5) Communication with current and prospective passengers.  Recommend approaches and present examples for effective communication, using appropriate media and languages, to facilitate use of public transportation in rural areas and tribal communities. (6) Equity.  Translate equity goals for mobility associated with the income, ethnicity, disability, and age of patrons into equity outcomes for rural areas and tribal communities. (7) Compliance with federal requirements.  Assist public transportation providers in rural areas and tribal communities to comply with federal requirements that apply both independently and as a condition of eligibility for federal funding sources.   (8) Role of state DOTs.  Present strategies and scenarios for improving public transportation in rural areas and tribal communities that state DOTs may foster. (9) Methods for measuring success and outcomes.  Include tools that support evaluation and decision-making to monitor and improve rural and tribal public transportation services overtime.

Language

  • English

Project

  • Status: Proposed
  • Funding: $600000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 08-147

    Project B-49

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program

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

    American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)

    444 North Capitol Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590

    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:

    Schwager, Dianne

  • Start Date: 20210324
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01739637
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 08-147, Project B-49
  • Files: TRB, RiP
  • Created Date: May 18 2020 3:06PM