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Center Identification Numbers: 350-07 and 392-06

Project Title: Lessons Learned in Transit Efficiencies, Revenue Generation, and Cost Reductions - Part II

Co-Principal Investigators:

Joel Volinski, Deputy Director
Ph: (813) 974-9847
Fax: (813) 974-5168

Dennis Hinebaugh, Program Director
Ph: (813) 974-9833


Center for Urban Transportation Research
University of South Florida
Tampa, Florida

External Project Contact: 

Ed Coven, State Transit Office Manager

I. Project Objective

To identify the more creative actions transit agencies of all sizes across the nation are taking to either generate new revenues or reduce costs while retaining (and hopefully increasing) their passengers. 

II. Project Abstract

Securing sufficient revenues to provide service is one of the fundamental requirements of every transit agency. In times of tight budgets and great competition for scarce public funds, transit agencies have learned they must do everything possible to maximize their own capabilities to realize new revenues or reduce costs (without losing passengers). Not only does this help each transit agency operate within their own budget, it also helps promote their image in their communities as efficient public agencies. The purpose of this project is to gather and redistribute information on how transit agencies are generating new revenues or reducing costs without harming the best interests of their passengers. A report of the same name was produced in 1997 in which over 180 different techniques to make or save money were identified. The findings were obtained through survey responses from 75 different transit agencies. This project would continue the effort of finding the more creative and effective techniques being used at transit agencies that were not surveyed in 1997. The first report developed in 1997 was extremely well received by the transit industry, and continues to be the subject of presentations at the local, state, and national levels. The findings from this research are also extremely useful to every transit agency in the state of Florida when assisting with the development of Transit Development Plans or when conducting performance reviews upon their request.

III. Task Descriptions

Lessons Learned in Transit Efficiencies, Revenue Generation, and Cost Reductions will consist of the following tasks:

Task 1. Develop Survey Instrument

In this task, the investigators will review and modify as necessary the survey instrument that was used for the initial project conducted in 1996. Once completed, the survey will be sent to 100 select transit agencies with instructions on how and when to complete the survey. 

Task 2. Conduct Literature Review 

The investigators will search the various sources of information that may be available through the CUTR Resource Information Center, TRB, TCRP, the internet, and any other sources that might include stories on what transit agencies are creatively doing to supplement their revenues or decrease their costs, without putting the burden of such measures on their customers.

Task 3. Complete Survey Analysis 

This task will require investigators to review all information received from returned surveys and follow up as necessary to ensure information received is complete and understandable.

Task 4. Prepare Final Report 

Investigators will prepare the final report categorizing and summarizing the various ideas submitted from transit agencies. Insights gained from national trends will also be summarized as well as the individual techniques being practiced.

Task 5. Dissemination of Results

The report will be sent to the United States Department of Transportation for publication through the Research and Special Programs Administration to enable anyone to receive printed copies for free. The report will also be posted to NCTR=s website. The report will be summarized in a fashion to be presented at transit conferences and to other research faculty at the National Center for Transit Research.

IV. Student Involvement

Graduate students will be used to send and review all surveys to transit agencies and assist in the development of categorization of ideas submitted from the agencies. They will also conduct the literature search, including scanning information available over the internet for inclusion in the report. This project will serve as an excellent introduction to operating and policy issues in typical transit agencies.

V. Relationship to Other Research Projects

As noted earlier, this project will be a follow-up to the same titled project conducted in 1996 (published in 1997). This effort will update information gathered since that time, while also focusing on agencies that did not respond to the surveys sent out in 1996. 

VI. Technology Transfer Activities 

Please see item #3 - Task IV described above. In addition, it is expected that the results of this report may be broadcast via teleconference from the University of South Florida's facilities.

VII. Potential Benefits of the Project

The results of this project will be immediately accessible to operating transit agencies throughout the country and the world. Every agency can learn from the practices of their counterparts, and select the techniques that they think have the most application in their local circumstances. Hundreds of requests were received for copies of the first report produced in 1997. It is anticipated that a similar response will result with this report which will be full of practical, relevant ideas. In addition to including the ideas, the report will also include the names of those who have submitted information, and how they can be contacted. In this fashion, practitioners will be able to communicate with each other for more in-depth information on any idea in the report. 

VIII. TRB Keywords 

Public transit, efficiencies, revenue generation, cost reductions.


National Center for Transit Research at the Center For Urban Transportation Research University of South Florida 4202 E. Fowler Ave., CUT100 Tampa, FL 33620-5375 (813) 974-3120 (813) 974-5168 Comments: