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Abstracts from the

Journal of Public Transportation

Volume 8, No. 3, 2005

Paying for Transit in an Era of Federal Policy Change

Jeffrey Brown, Florida State University

Abstract

Public transit agencies rely on a combination of local, state, and federal subsidies to provide their services. However, federal policy changes have introduced uncertainty into the public subsidy picture. In 1998, Congress passed TEA-21, which eliminated federal operating assistance to agencies in U.S. urbanized areas with populations of 200,000 or more persons. This policy change came at the end of a more than decade-long decline in the share of federal operating support for agencies in larger urban areas. This article examines how agencies in different parts of the country and in different-sized urban areas have responded to federal policy changes by posing a simple question: Where have agencies turned to make up the operating fund shortfall? The investigation reveals that agencies in different parts of the country have followed different financial paths. Full text (pdf)

Evaluation Analysis on an Integrated Fare Initiative in Beijing

Xumei Chen and Guoxin Lin, Beijing Jiaotong University
Lei Yu, Beijing Jiaotong University and Texas Southern University

Abstract

An effective fare policy and structure will realize a reasonable combination of both public welfare and operational profit. This article presents an evaluation framework for an integrated fare initiative in Beijing. It explores a new set of 10 evaluation indices, which include public acceptance, social equity, convenience, change of subsidy, possibility of modal integration, feasibility of implementation, change of revenue, change of ridership, improvement of operation control, and change of cost. The framework is implemented by combining the method of multiple criteria fuzzy decision with the analytic hierarchy process (AHP). The article examines a survey of Beijing Public Transit System users to assess three integrated fare strategies introduced by the agency. The results from the survey are subsequently used as the input data to the proposed evaluation framework. The implementation of the proposed framework in Beijing has shown that the price level of a one-month pass ticket should be increased, while it is recommended that its price cannot be increased to the level that is close to its operation cost. The case study also shows that the proposed framework is a practical and efficient method for fare evaluation.Full text (pdf)

Development of Duration Models to Determine Rolling Stock Fleet Size

Christopher R. Cherry, University of California, Berkeley

Abstract

Transit agencies are looking for analytical tools to improve their rolling stock maintenance programs and fleet size. If agencies underestimate the number of buses out of service for maintenance at any given time, they cannot adequately cover all scheduled service. If agencies overestimate the number of buses requiring maintenance, they overcapitalize the rolling stock fleet, resulting in an inefficient allocation of scarce funds. This article presents a methodology for using a fully parametric duration model to determine the expected amount of time a vehicle is in service and out of service. Additionally, the transition probabilities are calculated using the hazard data to determine the probability of transitioning from an in-service state to an out-of-service state at a given point in time. An empirical analysis is conducted using data from the San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency and duration models used to identify the transition probabilities from in-service to out-of-service states and the optimum fleet size.Full text (pdf)

Utah Transit Authority’s Connection Protection System: Perceptions of Riders and Operators

Chris Cluett and Jeffrey H. Jenq, Battelle
Mitsuru Saito, Brigham Young University

Abstract

The effectiveness of the Utah Transit Authority’s (UTA) Connection Protection (CP) system was evaluated from the perspective of riders and operators. The CP system was installed to improve the reliability of transfers from higher frequency light rail TRAX trains to lower frequency bus services. The evaluation determined that overall satisfaction among riders with their connection experience was generally high, but operator opinion on the value of CP was mixed. The level of reported rider satisfaction was only weakly related to whether the bus trip was CP protected, and bus operators reported receiving a high number of unnecessary CP messages. Several factors were considered to have affected the results of the evaluation, including CP malfunction during the survey, low operator compliance for “hold until” messages, and the existence of inaccurate “hold until” messages. The qualitative evaluation findings gave rise to a number of suggestions for how the CP system could be improved. Full text (pdf)

Physical Activity and Use of Suburban Train Stations: An Exploratory Analysis

Michael Greenberg and John Renne, Rutgers University
Robert Lane and Jeffrey Zupan, Regional Plan Association

Abstract

Physical inactivity contributes to a growing proportion of illness and premature death in the United States. Only about 45 percent of Americans meet the recommended national standard for physical activity. Yet, analysis of 300 surveys collected from train riders at three walkable New Jersey suburban train stations showed that 78 percent met the activity guidelines. A new train station that allows these riders to save time in their commute has attracted new riders and has led existing commuters to change their commute. One-third of those surveyed reported additional physical activity primarily because they walked more after leaving the train in mid-town New York City. Only 8 percent reported less physical activity. The analysis revealed that the new public transit station and personal factors associated with a greater likelihood of using mass transit led to more physical activity.  Full text (pdf)

Violence, Harassment, and Bullying at Work: How Does the Australian Rail Industry Compare and What Can Be Done?

Kristin van Barneveld, University of Sydney and Australian Rail,
Tram and Bus Industry Union
Roger Jowett, Australian Rail, Tram and Bus Industry Union

Abstract

“Frontline employees are becoming scapegoats for late trains, delayed flights, bewildered people, long queues and cuts to services. Staff have been punched, kicked, bitten and spat on by people who are overwrought, strung out on alcohol or drugs, mentally unstable or just plain angry at the world”
(Robinson 2004).

Violence in the workplace is becoming an increasingly important issue. Violence can take a number of forms including physical, verbal and nonverbal communication, intimidation and bullying, exclusion, sexual harassment, and stalking. In the rail industry, workers can be exposed to direct attacks, witnessing attacks on passengers, and suicides, in addition to accidents involving coworkers and/or members of the general public. This article draws from the Australian experience to highlight the risks posed to rail workers by workplace violence, harassment, and bullying. It is suggested that further research is required in the rail industry to identify the extent of these issues. Further, it is proposed that violence in railway workplaces needs to be unambiguously recognized as an occupational health and safety issue, rather than being treated as an external (police) responsibility. This article proposes a number of responses to reduce the exposure of rail industry workers to workplace violence. This includes the development of codes of conduct and agreements among employers, employees and their unions, and recognition that cooperation is crucial in developing responses to violence in railway workplaces.  Full text (pdf)


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