The following is a list of recent projects and publications by Transit Mobility researchers (completed between 2015 and 2018).
Existing TNCs Used as a Part of Basic Mobility
TTI conducted technical assistance case study research for the TxDOT Public Transportation Division (PTN) on transit agencies partnerships with transportation network companies (TNCs). The purpose of the paper is to share the experiences of partnerships, particularly agencies in rural or small urban settings, pilots designed to replace existing services, or pilots focused on service persons with disabilities. The paper examines existing types of service models along with in depth examples within and outside the State of Texas, describing issues and opportunities, regulatory concerns, and performance and cost effectiveness measures of pilot projects. TTI prepared background information about projects in North America and categorized according to aspects of current status and federal funding, agency area type, service model, replacement vs. new service, agency operators and vehicles, and customer markets.
TTI researchers developed a discussion guide that was provided to transit agencies with a formal email invitation to participate in the case study research. Researchers conducted informal interviews with each agency using the discussion guide of questions. The case studies that TTI conducted with transit agencies to describe and detail aspects of TNC partnerships including issues and opportunities for a pilot project, regulatory concerns and how they were addressed, and service issues addressed including performance and cost effectiveness, as information is available. TTI also reviewed policies and regulations that govern TNCs at the federal and state levels, as well as regulations in Texas. View Report here
TCRP Report 202 – Handbook for Examining the Effects of Non-Emergency Medical Transportation Brokerages on Transportation Coordination, 2014 – 2018
Medicaid is a joint federal and state program that provides health coverage for millions of individuals and families with limited incomes and resources. The assurance of transportation to necessary medical care is an important feature that sets Medicaid apart from traditional health insurance. Medicaid non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) is an important benefit for Medicaid beneficiaries who need to get to and from medical services and have no other means of transportation.
TTI was the prime contractor for this TCRP research project. The handbook provides information to better understand what influences state Medicaid agencies to establish separate NEMT brokerages and the resulting effects on NEMT customers, human services transportation, and public transportation. The handbook also addresses the trend for states to include NEMT as part of Medicaid managed care. The handbook provides background information about NEMT and describes the different models available to states for providing NEMT for Medicaid beneficiaries. The handbook also discusses why human services transportation and public transportation providers encourage coordination of NEMT with other transportation services. The handbook identifies opportunities and suggests strategies to coordinate these transportation programs to contribute to the common desired outcomes. View Report here
El Paso County Regional Transit Options Study, 2016 – 2018
The El Paso County Regional Transit Options Study examined the feasibility of a single, seamless, transit system in El Paso County, serving and connecting rural communities to destinations in the urban areas of the county. The study identified service, governance, and financial alternatives for countywide transit. El Paso County sponsored the study, and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) provided funding. The scope of work included a demographic analysis of the region to understand the distribution of people, jobs, and other important trip generators. TTI documented transit need compared to transit supply and identified areas with regional transit gaps (transit need exceeds transit supply).TTI developed different service scenarios for regional transit including projections for ridership, operating and capital expenses, and sources of revenue from federal, state, and local governments. TTI provided an economic impact analysis of making the additional investments in regional transportation.
TCRP Report 200 – Contracting Commuter Rail Services, 2015 – 2018
Commuter rail refers to passenger trains operated to carry riders living in suburban areas to and from work in city centers. Commuter rail often uses track shared with freight rail operations or track that was sold by a freight operator and may now be owned by the public transportation provider with an arrangement that allows for joint use by freight, intercity passenger, and commuter trains. The objective of this research was to develop a guidebook to assist public agencies and other key stakeholders with contracting commuter rail services. The guidebook describes commuter rail systems in North America and the different approaches for providing rail services. The guidebook provides guidance for assessing the different approaches to service delivery and offers step- by- step decision trees to help determine how to implement commuter rail or evaluate changes in the approach to service delivery of an existing system.
Sources of Funding Transit in Texas
This report provides information on the sources of revenue to fund transit in urban and rural areas in Texas—through federal, state, and local sources. All public transit systems are eligible for federal funds from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). The state agency responsible for allocating state transit funds is the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). View Report here
PRC 17-70 F – Policy Implication of Transportation Network Companies: Final Report
This research was designed to help Texas policy makers navigate the evolving policy considerations presented by the rising popularity—and accompanying controversy—of TNCs. The paper analyzes existing TNC policies across the United States to investigate the implications of TNCs in the context of existing regulations and laws, as well as the potential policy implications of TNC operations in the future. The research paper expands upon an initial policy review of state-level legislation of TNCs across the United States and municipal regulations implemented in Texas as of 2016. The paper includes in depth sections about for a number or priority TNC policy issues, which include TNC status according to state code, state preemption of local TNC authority, TNCs and impaired driving, safety concerns with driver background checks, maintaining public safety, equity and accessibility considerations, data sharing, and TNC and transit partnerships. View Report here
Texas Transit Needs Assessment 2.0
Two-phase statewide assessment of transit needs in Texas-state-funded public transportation districts. In Phase One, researchers analyzed the effects of population growth, transit cost inflation, and growth in urbanized areas. The assessment also included a comparison of service hours by district, mode, and day against industry standards for service. In Phase Two, researchers determined whether gaps in service coverage or span of service exist and estimated the cost of filling gaps, accounting for local contexts and transit cost inflation. View Report here
TCRP Synthesis 134 – Customer-Focused Service Guarantees and Transparency Practices
This synthesis documents the nature and prevalence of service guarantees, passenger charters, and publicly-available customer-focused performance dashboards, scorecards, or reports among transit providers in North America. It documents the current state of the practice, including benefits and implementation strategies, and identifies challenges and lessons learned through a literature review, survey of representative transit agencies, and documentation of selected case examples/profiles. View Report here
TCRP Synthesis Topic SA-44 – Comprehensive Bus Network Redesign
Many American bus networks were designed and planned many decades ago to support populations, job locations, technologies and land uses that have, in most cities, changed dramatically. Network redesign can improve access to jobs, schools, healthcare, and other essential opportunities. Transit agencies with outdated networks might benefit from starting from scratch and designing and implementing an entirely new network, rather than using a piecemeal, route-by-route approach that could take decades to be implemented. Changing the network is, however, much more complex than a technical planning exercise—it represents significant political, regulatory and community engagement challenges, which are more strategic and communications-driven in nature. At the same time, it can be strategically efficient to undertake a wholesale network redesign rather than many small and ongoing tweaks to the network, which could carry significant political cost and incur relatively minor benefits. The goal of this study is to provide an overview of the current state of practice regarding network redesign. View Report here
DCTA Title VI Resource Center and Training in Analysis and Project Management
In support of DCTA’s ongoing Title VI requirements, TTI developed an agency‑specific resource center to define terminology, provide a central destination for staff to learn more about the process, and a system to track individual Title VI analysis efforts. The resource includes examples of FTA approved methods of analysis where relevant and links to additional resources for staff use.
Regional Coordination Plan Review
This technical memorandum provides an overview of updated public transit-human services transportation plans developed and adopted by stakeholders in each of Texas’ 24 planning regions. Twenty-two regions updated plans in 2017; two regions previously updated plans under a different cycle. The Texas Department of Transportation, Public Transportation Division (TxDOT-PTN) requested researchers from the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) to review all these plans. The goal of this review is to provide a statewide perspective, highlighting common themes and emerging trends occurring in planning regions across the state. TTI also examined how the regions approached the plan updates, how stakeholders were involved, the regional approaches to conducting the needs assessment, gap analysis, and resource inventories, and strategies to fulfill the unmet transportation needs of their respective regions. View Report here
TCRP Report 192 – Decision-Making Toolbox to Plan and Manage Park-and-Ride Facilities for Public Transportation: Guidebook on Planning and Managing Park-and-Ride, 2015 – 2017
The objective of TCRP H-52 was to develop a decision-making guidebook to better plan and manage park-and-ride facilities for public transportation. The guidebook is a resource for improved strategies and best practices in order to plan and manage park-and-ride facilities for public transportation. To document current best practices as well as lessons learned and challenges related to park-and-ride planning and management, the research team gathered detailed information from 16 transit agencies throughout the United States and one transit agency in Canada. From the 17 transit agencies, the research team documented 11 full case studies (one case study included two transit agencies) and five targeted case studies. View Report here
TxDOT, Framework for Implementing Performance Planning for Rural Planning Organizations
Performance-based transportation planning has existed for many years and is being put in practice more as a result of recent federal rules. Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) and the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act place an increased emphasis on performance-based management of the multimodal transportation system, and require the use of performance-based methods in state, metropolitan, and non-metropolitan transportation planning and programming. MAP-21 emphasized planning areas including safety, infrastructure condition, congestion reduction, system reliability, freight movement, and economic vitality. Performance-based transportation planning is becoming the cornerstone for transportation decision making throughout the country in both metropolitan and non-metropolitan (rural) areas. This research effort provided the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) with a framework, performance measures, tools, and guidance to conduct performance-based transportation planning and programming in non-metropolitan areas of the state and to support rural planning organizations (RPOs). View Report here
Regionally Coordinated Transportation Plan for the Coastal Bend
This project provided the Rural Economic Assistance League/Transportation Coordination Network of the Coastal Bend with technical assistance to complete the 2017-2020 regional public transportation coordination plan for Planning Region 20. View Report here
Regionally Coordinated Transportation Plan for Planning Region 22: Texoma
This project provided the Texoma Region with technical assistance to complete the 2017-2020 regional public transportation coordination plan for Planning Region 22. View Report here
Track Sustainability Impacts to METROLift
This project conducted data analysis to determine the impact of the revised METROLift fare policies and other practices on travel patterns and travel frequency of METROLift riders and assesses the impact on METROLift sustainability.
Analysis of Paratransit Feeder Service Pilot: Projected Versus Actual Ridership and Cost–Benefit Results
TTI has provided continuing technical assistance to Houston METRO’s paratransit division, METROLift, for their Moving Forward initiative. The project first involved a series of workshops in the community to gather feedback about potential changes to paratransit service from customers and stakeholders. TTI handled survey data and produced visual documentation of results for METROLift Moving Forward: Workshop and Community Feedback Outcome Report. As part of cost-benefits analysis work the METROLift project, TTI analyzed the potential ridership and cost impacts of feeder service to fixed-route transit centers and rail stations for METROLift. Researchers also gathered information from peer agencies in the United States operating feeder service to assist METROLift in designing policies and procedures for a feeder service pilot. TTI is worked with Houston METRO to analyze trip data from the feeder pilot and calculate costs for feeder service trips compared to paratransit-only trips to reach scheduled destinations. The pilot analysis assisted METROLift in making improvements to feeder service scheduling and service delivery for future feeder service operations.
Identifying Transportation Solutions That Promote Healthy Aging for Texans
As the population of aging Texans continue to grow, the role that transportation plays in promoting healthy aging is useful information for policy makers to plan and provide for the safe and healthy aging of the Texan population. Transportation is a primary consideration to ensuring that Texas is well prepared to provide for the needs of the aging population. Not only does transportation ensure that this segment of the population has adequate access to necessary services and care, it is also an important component of ensuring independence and high quality of life for the aging population. This report gives an overview of how transportation impacts healthy aging and documents the policies and programs that promote healthy aging through transportation. View Report here
Using Public Transportation to Facilitate Last Mile Package Delivery
This guidebook provides public transit agencies in rural Texas communities with the information necessary to implement a package delivery service in coordination with a private package delivery partner. Chapter 1 introduces the guidebook, describes its purpose, describes the opportunity to provide package delivery via rural transit, and documents findings from previous phases of research. Chapter 2 reviews the current package delivery industry and describes the needs that rural transit agencies might be able to fill by providing service Chapter 3 outlines the opportunities for service provision in more detail and highlights specific market segments for rural transit agencies to pursue Chapter 4 documents the challenges that may arise when implementing rural transit package delivery services. Chapter 5 provides examples of possible service models and documents current package delivery pricing models used by other entities. View Report here
Bus Operator Retention Improvement Study
Examined the causes of unsatisfactory retention of bus operators (including wages, working conditions, and hiring pool competitors) and provided recommendations for improving retention rates.
Transportation Network Companies Present Opportunities to Increase Safety and Broaden TTI’s Research
On demand transportation services provided by transportation network companies (TNCs) are a growing transportation option. One of the potential uses for TNC services is to provide an alternative to driving for people who are impaired. According to a review of relevant literature, limited research on TNCs’ ability to reduce impaired driving exists. Additionally, the research that exists does not quantify the market for such service or describe the reasons people who are impaired choose TNCs over other options. This project describes the TNC industry including relevant legislation and governance. The project also conducts a market investigation to determine the reasons people choose TNCs as an option to avoid impaired driving and determines opportunities for increasing the TNC market-share for people who are impaired. Finally, the project outlines opportunities for increasing the Texas A&M Transportation Institute role in researching TNCs and other emerging transportation subjects.
Automated and Connected Vehicle (AV/CV) Test Bed to Improve Transit, Bicycle, and Pedestrian Safety: Phase 1
Crashes involving transit vehicles, bicyclists, and pedestrians are a concern in Texas, especially in urban areas. This research explored the potential of automated and connected vehicle (AV/CV) technology to reduce or eliminate these crashes. The project objectives focused on identifying safety concerns related to the interaction of transit vehicles, bicyclists, and pedestrians, and targeting AV/CV technologies to mitigate or eliminate those concerns. Concept applications were identified, along with public and private sector partners. A Concept of Operations Plan for designing, testing, piloting, demonstrating, and deploying candidate applications through an AV/CV Test Bed to Improve Transit, Bicycle, and Pedestrian Safety was developed. To accomplish these objectives, the research team conducted 25 meetings and 4 workshops with diverse stakeholder groups to gain insight into safety issues and concerns. The research team also reviewed AV/CV case studies of related technologies and examined federal, state, and local legislation and policies related to AV/CV, bicyclists, and pedestrians. A pilot of a collision-avoidance system was conducted on one Texas A&M University bus. Near-term applications using AV/CV technologies to improve safety were developed and roundtable forums were held with stakeholders and technology firms to review the approaches and to identify possible partnerships. View Report here
NCHRP Report 821 – Effective Project Scoping Practices to Improve On-Time and On-Budget Delivery of Highway Projects, 2016
TRB’s National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Report 821: Effective Project Scoping Practices to Improve On-Time and On-Budget Delivery of Highway Projects demonstrates how a state department of transportation (state DOT) can enhance its scoping process and practices to produce a project cost estimate and schedule that facilitate improved programming decision making and accountability. The guidebook illustrates the effort needed to develop a robust cost estimate and then manage to a baseline budget and scope throughout the project delivery cycle. The guidebook is applicable to a range of project types and is scalable in its ability to accommodate projects of varying complexity. View Report here
Regional Mobility Authorities in Texas: History and Current Status, 2016
A regional mobility authority (RMA) is an independent local government agency authorized by state statute (Chapter 370, Transportation Code) with the main function of transportation project development, finance, and implementation. This research documents the nine existing RMAs in Texas looking at both the history and current activities of RMAs from a statutory and operational standpoint in terms of successes, project implementation progress, and the varied approaches used in development and implementation. This research also characterizes the role of RMAs in transportation development with respect to metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs), rural planning organizations (RPOs), and local governments. This research project reviewed the current financial state of RMAs and RMA projects under development using details from annual reports and annual financial statements. Researchers developed geographic and demographic profiles for each RMA. View Report here
Implementation and Effectiveness of Sound Mitigation Measures on Texas Highways (HBD 790)
As directed in 2015 by the 84th Texas Legislature, researchers compared highway noise guidelines in Texas with those in five other states and interviewed officials representing several toll road authorities in Texas. They also measured sound levels behind noise barriers along three toll road sections in Harris County, Dallas County, and Williamson County to compare those measures with predicted levels after noise wall construction. View Report here
NCHRP 20-65 Task 64 – Guidebook on Health and Human Services Revenue as Public Transit Local Match
Provides a helpful brief for state DOTs and transit agencies about how to determine eligibility and report match revenue when revenue is from contracts for coordinated transportation (especially Medicaid). The guidebook also offers resources for a better understanding of the accounting, reporting, and rules and regulations for providing coordinated health and human service transportation.