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Center Identification Number: 473-02

Project Title: Evaluation of First-Year Florida MPO Transit Capacity and Quality of Service Reports

Principal Investigator: 
Victoria A. Perk, Research Associate
305-375-1950
E-mail: perk@cutr.eng.usf.edu

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

FDOT Project Manager: 
Tara Bartee, Planning Administrator, PTO
(850) 414-4520
Email: tara.bartee@dot.state.fl.us

I. Project Objective

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is interested in the application of the new transit quality of service framework as presented in the First Edition of the Transit Capacity and Quality of Service Manual (TCQSM). This framework is seen as a tool to augment the systematic evaluation of transit systems performed by FDOT. The goal is to provide a benchmark evaluation of transit systems within a specific time period, such that the performance of the systems can be assessed from the users point of view. FDOT has required that the Florida Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) where fixed-route transit service operates coordinate an effort to evaluate those services within their region with respect to the six transit service measures identified in the TCQSM.

This project will involve the collection, compilation, and evaluation of these first-time reports from Florida's MPOs. All reports will be analyzed to make a preliminary assessment the performance of the transit systems in the state in terms of these new measures. A statewide report will be developed that will be used in the update of the Transit Strategic Plan. In addition, any problems or inconsistencies in the gathering and/or reporting of the required data by the MPOs will be noted. Possible remedies or improvements to the process for subsequent years will be suggested based on the first-year experiences of the Florida MPOs. This is the first known statewide use of this new customer-oriented transit performance evaluation procedure, and the results of this project will be beneficial to other DOTs, MPOs, and transit systems throughout the country that may be interested in the application of the performance measures found in the TCQSM.

II. Project Abstract

As an application of the transit quality of service framework presented in the First Edition of the Transit Capacity and Quality of Service Manual (TCQSM), the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) required all MPOs in the state where fixed-route service operates to analyze those services based on the six measures identified in the TCQSM: service frequency, hours of service, service coverage, passenger loading, reliability (on-time performance/headway adherence), and transit versus auto travel time. This first-year evaluation compiles the analyses provided by the participating MPOs and provides an assessment of the performance of the transit systems. In addition, the process used by the MPOs and transit systems to evaluate their services will be evaluated, with possible refinements to the process suggested for future years based on the first-time experiences of the MPOs. This evaluation serves as a model for other areas in the country interested in applying the customer-oriented assessment of transit based on the TCQSM.

III. Task Descriptions

Task 1. Collect Transit Quality of Service Reports from Florida MPOs

Florida MPOs where fixed-route transit services operate must submit a transit quality of service report evaluating those services to FDOT. These reports present data that were collected based on the six transit quality of service measures found in the TCQSM. CUTR will collect all of the transit quality of service reports that were submitted to FDOT.

Task 2. Identify Problems/Difficulties with the First-Year Process

Since this was the first time that the MPOs and transit systems applied the process from the TCQSM in evaluating their fixed-route services, it is possible that some problems or difficulties were experienced during the process of collecting and reporting the required data. CUTR will contact each of the participating MPOs and, if necessary, participating transit systems to determine what problems, if any, were encountered during the evaluation process. These experiences will be compiled and used to suggest refinements and other improvements to the process for subsequent years of the evaluation.

Task 3. Evaluate First-Year Transit Capacity and Quality of Service Reports

After collecting each of the reports submitted by the MPOs to FDOT, CUTR will review them to determine if the required procedures were followed in conducting the evaluation. CUTR will provide an overall assessment of how well the MPOs and transit systems conducted the evaluation.

In addition, CUTR will compile all of the data submitted by the MPOs and transit systems using the electronic spreadsheets provided to the MPOs for this purpose, and will develop a statewide report to be used in updating the Transit Strategic Plan. The statewide report will provide an overall evaluation of the performance of the transit systems based on the six measures identified in the TCQSM.

CUTR will prepare; by October 18, 2001, for the meeting of the MPO Advisory Council; a preliminary analysis indicating the distribution of results and a summary of costs and problems as reported by the MPOs. FDOT staff will make the presentation to the MPOAC.

Task 4. Final Report

The information from all previous tasks will be compiled into a final report that will comprise the evaluation of the first-year transit capacity and quality of service reports from Florida MPOs and transit systems. The final report will consist of an overall assessment of the first-year evaluation process, a summary of problems or other difficulties encountered by those involved in the evaluations, suggested refinements or improvements to the evaluation process for future years, and the statewide summary report, produced in Task 3, that can be disseminated separately for use in the update to the Transit Strategic Plan.

IV. Student Involvement

Graduate students will be used to assist in the collection and compilation of the transit capacity and quality of service reports from the MPOs and transit systems, and will also provide assistance with the final report.

V. Relationship to Other Research Projects

None

VI. Technology Transfer Activities

The results of this analysis will be highlighted through interim memoranda and a final report. The results of this analysis will be made available to state DOTs, MPOs, transit agencies, and others around the country as requested. Presentations will be made through national forums including APTA and TRB. The final report will also be available on the NCTR website.

VII. Potential Benefits of the Project

The results of this project will provide a framework for those interested in the application of the transit performance measures identified in the TCQSM.

VIII. TRB Keywords

Public transit, MPO, performance evaluation, transit capacity and quality of service.

 

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 www.nctr.usf.edu Comments: webmaster@cutr.eng.usf.edu