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Center Identification Number:  77715   


Project Title:  Development of a NTD Tool for Vanpool Services  


Principal Investigator:


Xuehao Chu, Senior Research Associate
Phone: (813) 974-9831




Center for Urban Transportation Research

University of South Florida

Fax: 813-974-5168


External Project Contact:     


Ike Ubaka

Public Transportation Office / Transit Planning





I.  Project Objective/Problem Statement

The project’s objective is to develop a spreadsheet tool for agencies to sample, record, process, and report vanpool service and consumption data to the National Transit Database (NTD).

To be eligible for the Federal Urbanized Area Formula Grant Program, transit agencies are required to report annual data on passenger miles and unlinked passenger trips to the NTD for each mode and service type (purchased versus directly operated). Transit agencies can either report a 100-percent count or a sampling-based estimate of each quantity. The options available to transit agencies differ across different modes if they choose a sampling-based estimate.

For fixed-route bus or demand responsive services, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has a set of pre-approved sampling plans and procedures for collecting, recording, and processing sample data. Alternatively, transit agencies can use alternative sampling techniques if these techniques are certified by qualified statisticians. While most transit agencies in Florida report 100-percent counts of unlinked passenger trips for fixed-route bus, most still use FTA-approved sampling plans for estimating passenger miles. A previous NCTR-funded project provided a tool for agencies to develop alternative sampling techniques that are customized to their own conditions.

Unlike fixed-route bus or demand responsive services, however, there are no established procedures for sampling, recording, processing, or reporting vanpool service and consumption data to the NTD. Many agencies choose not to report their vanpool services to the NTD or do report their vanpool services but follow cumbersome and inefficient procedures.

II.  Objectives/Tasks

The research objective will be accomplished through the following tasks.

Task 1. Current Practices

This task is designed to get an understanding of current practices. Specifically, how do reporters in Florida and other states currently collect, record, process, and report vanpool service and consumption data to the NTD? In addition, why don’t non-reporters in Florida and other states report their vanpool service and consumption data to the NTD?

Task 2. Sampling Plans

This task is designed to develop a set of sampling plans for each peer of vanpool services to collect sample data and estimate system passenger miles. These sampling plans are to be used by agencies as a backup when they do not have their own data to develop customized sampling plans.

Task 2.1: Assemble vanpool consumption data from current NTD reporters in Florida and other states. Some of the consumption data will be 100-percent counts, while others will be samples. The objective is to collect these data from as many agencies as possible so that peer classification is possible.

Task 2.2: Classify vanpool service providers into peers. The classification will be based on the statistical properties of the consumption data assembled. Once established, however, individual peers will be associated with readily measurable attributes of agencies, including the size of service areas, the scale of operations, average passenger trip length, etc.

Task 2.3: Develop plans for collecting consumption data for each peer. For small operations, collecting 100-percent counts of consumption data may be better than sampling. For larger operations, these plans will be based on sampling unless existing scheduling or billing databases can be used.

Task 3. Tool Design and Development

This task will design and develop a spreadsheet-based tool for agencies to sample, record, process, and report vanpool service and consumption data to NTD. This tool will differ between whether consumption data are going to be collected through sampling or 100-percent counts. This tool is expected to provide service and consumption data for three major NTD forms: FAA-10 (Federal funding allocation), MR-20 (monthly reporting), and S-10 (annual reporting). This task will also design and develop forms for collecting service and consumption data from individual vanpools.

Task 4. Progress Reports and Final Report

Progress reports will be prepared monthly and a final report will be submitted at the end of the project. In addition to distributing hard copies of the final report, it will be posted on the CUTR website for access to FDOT, transit agencies and other stakeholders. The spreadsheet and report will be available to FDOT for posting on their website.

III. Deliverables

Progress Reports

Progress reports will be submitted on a monthly basis to the Research Center for processing. The first progress report will become due 30 days after a Notice to Proceed is issued to the consultant by the Department. They may be sent in MS Word format to Sandra Bell, Contracts Administrator at

Progress reports must include the following information:

1. Contract Number, Work Order Number and Title
2. Work performed during the month
3. Work to be performed in the following month
4. Requested modifications (i.e., to funding, schedule, or scope) *see separate instructions for requesting approval of modifications
5. An updated Exhibit “D” Progress Schedule.

Draft Final Reports

The draft final report will be edited for grammar, clarity, organization, and readability prior to submission to the Department for technical approval. The editor providing the review will sign a cover sheet attesting to such review prior to submission. The provision for editorial services will be the Principal Investigator’s responsibility (the author or a designated party may perform the review). It is expected that a well-written, high-quality report will be submitted. Reports failing to meet this requirement will summarily be rejected. The only changes allowable between the draft final report and the final report will be those changes requested by the Project Manager and the Research Center.

Final Reports

A minimum of 13 copies of the final report will be delivered to: The Research Center, 605 Suwannee Street, MS 30, Tallahassee, FL 32399-0450. A camera ready unbound original, and an electronic copy in MS Word format on CD no later than the end date of the RWPO.

One electronic copy in MS Word format of a Summary of the Final Report to include the following four sections: Background, Objectives and Supporting Tasks, Finding and Conclusions, and the Benefit of the Project. The Summary shall be a separate document and should be approximately 500 words in length.

All Final Reports shall contain a completed Technical Report Documentation Form #F.1700.7, immediately after the title page.

All Final Reports published shall contain a page after the Report Documentation Form that states the following:

1. The opinions, findings and conclusions expressed in this publication are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the State of Florida Department of Transportation, or the U.S. Department of Transportation.
2. Prepared in cooperation with the State of Florida Department of Transportation and the U.S. Department of Transportation.

All Final Reports should be bound with a front and back cover that is acceptable to the Department.


IV.  Project Schedule


RESEARCH 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Task 1                           1 1 1 1 1
Current Practices 13% 27% 40% 53% 67% 80% 90% 100% 100%                  
Task 2                           1 1 1 1 1
Sampling Plans     3% 15% 27% 39% 51% 64% 76% 88% 100%              
Task 3                             1 1 1 1
Tool Development           3% 15% 27% 39% 51% 64% 76% 88% 100%        
Task 4                           1        
Reports                             25% 50% 75% 100%



V.  Project Budget


Development of a NTD Tool for Vanpool Services

Budget Categories


Center Director Salary


Faculty Salaries

$ 54,900

Admin. Staff Salaries


Other Staff Salaries


Student Salaries

$ 17,422  

Staff Benefits


Total Salaries and Benefits

$ 72,322


Permanent Equipment


Expendable Property/Supplies

$     405

Domestic Travel


Foreign Travel


Other Direct Costs

Total Direct Costs

$ 72,727

Indirect Costs

$   7,273

Total Costs

$ 80,000


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 requests includes salaries for clerical and administrative staff, postage, telephone calls, office supplies, general purpose software, subscriptions, and/or memberships.


VI. Equipment

No equipment is envisioned to be purchased under this project.

VII. Travel

No travel is planned.

VIII. Student Involvement

A graduate student will be involved in data collection and processing.

IX. Relationship to Other Research Projects

The method developed in NCTR’s Customized Sampling Plans for NTD Reporting will be proposed to transit agencies to develop customized sampling plans for their vanpool services when they have consumption data. For agencies that do not have consumption data for developing customized sampling plans, this method will be used in this project to develop sampling plans for individual peers of agencies. The spreadsheet tool from this project will complement the NCTR Handbook of Automated Data Collection Methods for the National Transit Database, which focuses on automated methods for fixed-route bus and demand response services.

X. Potential Benefits of the Project

The implementation of the NTD tool for vanpool services has several benefits. The results are expected to save administrative costs of data gathering and reporting. The results are expected to increase the quality of NTD data on vanpool service and consumption data. More important, they also may bring more federal funds to Florida as a result of more vanpool services reporting their data to the NTD.





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: