Forecasting Paratransit Services Demand – Review and Recommendations

(Center Identification Number: 77938)

This research will assess the current Florida and national methodologies and techniques being utilized, document best practices, and identify new analytical tools for forecasting the demand for transportation disadvantaged services.

This research will result in the development of an updated “Methodology Guidelines for Forecasting TD Transportation Demand Estimation” for Florida’s paratransit market segments:

•Florida CTD transportation disadvantaged services, including both “sponsored” and “non-sponsored”

•Fixed route complementary ADA paratransit services

•Other non-TD/non-ADA markets such as seniors

Principal Investigators:

Jay A. Goodwill

Phone: 813-974-8755
E-mail: jaygoodwill@cutr.usf.edu
Fax: 813-974-5168

and

Ann Joslin

Phone: 813-974-9183
E-mail: joslin@cutr.usf.edu
Fax: 813-974-5168

Center for Urban Transportation Research
University of South Florida

External Project Contact:

Karen Somerset, Assistant Director
FDOT Program Administration and Oversight – Commission for the Transportation Disadvantaged
Phone: 850-410-5701

karen.somerset@dot.state.fl.us

I.  Project Objective/Problem Statement

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has detailed and developed “Florida Department of Transportation Guidance for Producing a Transit Development Plan,” released in August 2009. The guidance document also supports the development and use of the Transit Estimating Simulation Tool (TBEST).

Similar demand forecasting for Florida’s paratransit services, on the other hand, remains archaic and outdated, utilizing old national trip generation rate generalities and simple linear regression models. Additionally, the current methodologies do not include relevant contributory factors.

In its guidance for the development of its mandated Transportation Disadvantaged Service Plans (TDSP) the Florida Commission for the Transportation Disadvantaged (CTD) refers transit planners to the May 1993 “Methodology Guidelines for Forecasting TD Transportation Demand at the County Level” to develop forecasts of transportation disadvantaged populations.

This demand estimate methodology is close to 20 years old and its development predated some significant developments in the Florida public transportation environment, including:

• The passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) which resulted in the public transportation industry’s mandate to accommodate the needs of persons with disabilities through purchasing of accessible buses and the development of complementary ADA paratransit services for those passengers unable to access the fixed route transit services.

Following the passage of ADA and the subsequent mandated guidance provided by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), complementary ADA paratransit services have developed and matured. These services were not addressed or accounted for in the 1993 CUTR methodology.

• The Florida CTD has matured and developed with many of its programs significantly different than what existed in the early 1990’s.

•The demographics of Florida have changed dramatically in the past two decades.

•The U.S. Census Bureau projects nationally that seniors (age 60+) will double to 70 million by 2030 and represent 20% of the U.S. population. Florida is well ahead of the rest of the country with Florida seniors (age 60+) currently representing 23.6% of the state’s population – and by 2030 this segment is expected to represent over a third of the population (33.4%). These demographic trends will have a significant impact on Florida’s transportation networks – specifically the paratransit services. This impact was not factored into the methodology developed in 1993.

•The National Center for Senior Transportation (NCST) estimates that 600,000 U.S. residents age 70 and older stop driving each year. The average gap between death and the end of driving privileges currently stands at approximately 6 years for men and 10 years for women. Non-driving seniors tend to make fewer trips; approximately 15% fewer for medical appointments, and 65% fewer trips for social, family, religious and other life-enhancing purposes. NCST estimates that more than 50% of non-driving seniors stay at home on any given day due to lack of mobility options.

The provision of mobility options – including paratransit services – is a critical component in addressing the needs of all Florida residents and specifically our transportation disadvantaged population. With the growing population of seniors and Americans with disabilities seeking more mobility opportunities, there needs to be an up to date toolkit for transportation agencies to forecast demand for transportation disadvantaged customer markets. This information is critical for transit planners and operators to interpret service demands and translate those into operating and capital program needs and priorities.

This research will assess the current Florida and national methodologies and techniques being utilized, document best practices, and identify new analytical tools for forecasting the demand for transportation disadvantaged services.

This research will result in the development of an updated “Methodology Guidelines for Forecasting TD Transportation Demand Estimation” for Florida’s paratransit market segments:

•Florida CTD transportation disadvantaged services, including both “sponsored” and “non-sponsored”

•Fixed route complementary ADA paratransit services

•Other non-TD/non-ADA markets such as seniors

II. Objectives/Tasks

The proposed scope of service for this project consists of the following tasks:

Work not included in this scope of service is not to be performed and will not be subject to compensation by the Department.

Task 1 – Project Administration

This task will provide the project management activities associated with this project, including preparation of quarterly progress reports, consultation with the project manager, review of draft reports, technical memorandums and final report.

Task 2 – Literature Review

The Center for Urban Transportation Research at the University of South Florida (CUTR) will conduct a literature review to identify methodologies and findings, if any, from past studies to serve as a starting point for the research. This will help refine specific gaps and deficiencies in the existing body of knowledge.

In this task, CUTR will examine the current procedures for paratransit demand used by the CTD, as well review the definitions and terminology used. These findings will be summarized and include specific recommendations for modification.

At a minimum this will include the review of current research on this and related subjects:

•Methods for Forecasting Demand and Quantifying Need for Rural Passenger Transportation, TCRP Project B-36, Web-Only Document 49, Interim Workbook, December 2009.

•Florida Heartland Rural Mobility Plan, CUTR and Tindale-Oliver Associates, Florida DOT Contract, December 2009

•Innovative Approaches for Increasing Transportation Options for People with Disabilities in Florida, CUTR, Florida Developmental Disabilities Council, Inc., March 2010

•Improving ADA Complementary Paratransit Demand Estimation, TCRP Report 119, Transportation Research Board, 2007

•Methodology Guidelines for Forecasting TD Transportation Demand at the County Level, CUTR Report, May 1993

Task 3 – Assessment of Applicability of Existing Paratransit Demand Estimate Models and Procedures

Based upon the findings of the literature review and the researcher’s professional experiences, CUTR will conduct an assessment of the identified paratransit demand estimation approaches, procedures and models to determine their feasibility and applicability to Florida.

This review and assessment will look at the estimation of paratransit service demand for the following Florida’s paratransit market segments:

•Florida CTD transportation disadvantaged services, including both “sponsored” and “non-sponsored”

•Fixed route complementary ADA paratransit services

•Other non-TD/non-ADA markets such as seniors

Task 4 – Analysis of Data Availability

Building upon the findings and conclusions from Task 3, CUTR will identify the desired and/or required data and model inputs that are critical for each demand estimation methodology identified.

An analysis of the availability of the desired and/or required data and model inputs will be undertaken. This step will document the sources for the identified data and model inputs.

Task 5 – Development of Paratransit Demand Estimate Models and Procedures

Building upon the findings of Tasks 2 through 4, CUTR will develop prototype procedures, methodologies and models to estimate the paratransit service demand for the following Florida’s paratransit market segments:

•Florida CTD transportation disadvantaged services, including both “sponsored” and “non-sponsored”

•Fixed route complementary ADA paratransit services

•Other non-TD/non-ADA markets such as seniors

Preliminary testing and evaluation of the proposed procedures, methodologies and models will be conducted to determine their feasibility. Those applications showing promise will be reviewed further in the next work task.

Task 6 – Evaluation of Developed Paratransit Demand Estimate Models and Procedures

This task of the research will take the procedures, methodologies and models that pass the preliminary evaluation in Task 5 and further develop and detail them for application in Florida. Included in this process, CUTR will undertake applications of the procedures, methodologies and models and test the developed processed with Florida paratransit applications.

The procedures, methodologies and models for estimating paratransit service demand will be critiqued and ranked in priority order for their use in the following Florida’s paratransit market segments:

•Florida CTD transportation disadvantaged services, including both “sponsored” and “non-sponsored”

•Fixed route complementary ADA paratransit services

•Other non-TD/non-ADA markets such as seniors

Task 7 – Finalize Paratransit Demand Estimate Models and Procedures

This task of the research will be to summarize the results of the previous tasks and provide a recommendation for the optimal “Methodology Guidelines for Forecasting TD Transportation Demand Estimation” for Florida’s paratransit market segments:

•Florida CTD transportation disadvantaged services, including both “sponsored” and “non-sponsored” and providing a minimum of 10 year forecasts of the demand

•Fixed route complementary ADA paratransit services

•Other non-TD/non-ADA markets such as seniors

Task 8 – Final Product – Methodology for Forecasting Paratransit Services Demand

The final task of the research will be to provide practitioners and other transportation professionals a resource document that will detail the recommended procedures, methodologies and models for estimating paratransit service demand.

This document will be developed in an easy to read, user friendly format. If practical and realistic, a simple step-by-step process will be detailed to allow the user to apply the recommended paratransit demand service estimates for their local situation.

Easy to use applications and spreadsheets will be developed to support the demand estimation process. This may include the development of an online tool.

The Department’s approval of the final report does not constitute approval of future research opportunities.

 III. Deliverables

Deliverables for this project will include the following:

Project Kickoff Meeting

A kick-off meeting shall be scheduled to occur within the first 30 days of execution by the university. The preferred method for the kick-off meeting is via teleconference or video conference. At a minimum, the project manager and the principal investigator will attend. The Research Center staff must be advised of the meeting and given the option to attend. Other parties may be invited, as appropriate. The subject of the meeting will be to review and discuss the project’s tasks, schedule, milestones, deliverables, reporting requirements, and deployment plan. A summary of the kick-off meeting shall be included in the first progress report.

Quarterly Progress Reports

CUTR will submit quarterly progress reports to the Research Center. The first report will cover activity that occurred in the 90 days following the issuance of the task work order.

Reports should be submitted within 30 days of the end of the reporting period. Report are due even if little or no progress has occurred (in which case, the report should explain delays and/or lack of progress).

Quarterly reports must include the following information:

1.Contract Number, Work Order Number and Title

2.Work performed during the quarter

3.Work to be performed next quarter

4.Anticipated modifications (i.e., to funding, schedule, or scope).

5.A progress schedule updated to reflect activities for the period being reported

Failure to submit progress reports in a timely manner may result in termination of the work order.

Technical Memorandum 1 – Literature Review and Background Information

CUTR will prepare the first Technical Memorandum which will summarize and document the findings of Project Tasks 2, 3 and 4. This deliverable will be submitted within 30 days of the completion of Task 4.

Technical Memorandum 2 – Development of Paratransit Demand Estimate Models and Procedures

CUTR will prepare the second Technical Memorandum which will summarize and document the findings of Project Tasks 5 and 6. This deliverable will be submitted within 30 days of the completion of Task 6.

Draft Final Report

The final task of the research will be to provide practitioners and other transportation professionals a resource document that will detail the recommended procedures, methodologies and models for estimating paratransit service demand. This document will be developed in an easy to read, user friendly format.

The Draft Final Report is due 90 days prior to the end date of the task work order. The draft final report will be submitted to Sandra Bell, sandra.bell@dot.state.fl.us.

It should be edited for technical accuracy, grammar, clarity, organization, and format prior to submission to the Department for technical approval. The Research Center expects contractors to be able to provide well-written, high quality reports that address the objectives defined by the scope of service. Draft final report must be prepared in accordance with the “Guidelines for Preparing Draft Final and Final Reports” posted at:

http://www.dot.state.fl.us/research-center/Project_Mgt_Resources.shtm

Final Report

Once the draft final report has been approved, the university shall prepare the final report. The university will deliver a minimum eight (8) copies on CD or DVD – seven (7) CDs should contain the final report in PDF format, one (1) CD should contain the final report in PDF format, MS Word format and a Summary of the Final Report.

The CD/DVDs should be labeled in a professional manner and include at a minimum the contract number, task work order number, project title and date.

The final report is due no later than the end date of the task work order and should be delivered to the following address:

The Florida Department of Transportation

Research Center, MS 30

605 Suwannee Street

Tallahassee, FL 32399-0450

Project Closeout Meeting

A closeout meeting shall be conducted to review project performance, the deployment plan, and next steps. Attendees shall include, as a minimum, the project manager, the principal investigator, and the Research Center performance coordinator. This meeting is to occur prior to the expiration of the contract and subsequent to the approval of the draft final report (i.e., it should be scheduled for sometime during the final 30 days of the project).

IV. Project Schedule

Start Date:  May 2011               Expected End Date: December 2012

V. Project Budget

Total Lump Sum Amount            $114,659.52

Cost Reimbursable Subtotal      $1,568.00

Indirect Cost (subtotal x 10%)     $156.80

Total Project Cost                          $116,384.32

Notes: This budget does not reflect any federal participation. The project team will include faculty, students, and secretarial and other support staff who will work directly on the project and whose costs are reflected in the direct costs of the project as listed above.

Budget Justifications:

•Postage @ $50

oIt is anticipated that some of the information to be presented and shared with the Project Manage will be large volume computer files. Due to the limitations imposed on the CTD email system, it is anticipated that on approximately three occurrences during the project documents will have to be copied as hard copies and on CDs and mailed overnight to the Project Manager

The $50 budget is included to pay for the associated overnight mailing expenses

•Travel @ $1,518

oIt is anticipated that a minimum of two trips from Tampa to Tallahassee to meet with the Project Manager and other CTD staff will be required over the course of the project.

Travel was estimated based on the following per assumptions:

Two members of the project team would participate in each trip

Each trip would include two hotel nights per person

Hotel costs estimated at $120 per night per person

Each trip would include two per diem expenses of $36 per day per person

To keep budget low, trips to and from Tallahassee will be accomplished with at rental car with an estimated per trip expense of $135

Cost per trip = (2 x 2 x $120) + (2 x 2 x $36) + $135 = $759

Two trips @ $759 = $1,518

VI. Equipment

There will be no equipment acquisition required to conduct this study.

VII. Travel

It is envisioned that this project will require minimal travel by the investigators through the use of teleconference calls and the use of Live Meeting technology. Travel for three meetings with the project manager in Tallahassee has been budgeted for two members of the project team.

All travel shall be in accordance with Section 112.061, Florida Statutes. FDOT employees may not travel on research contracts.

VIII. Use of Graduate Student(s) and other Research Assistants

No graduate student involvement is anticipated in this study.

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