Center Identification Number: 77720
Project Title: Best Practices In Transit Service Planning
Center for Urban Transportation Research
University of South Florida
External Project Contact:
Public Transportation Office / Transit Planning
I. Project Objective/Problem Statement
The provision of cost efficient and effective bus transit service is the basic premise upon which transit service is developed and the goal that all public transportations agencies strive to achieve. To attain this goal, public transit agencies must design their services around clear and defined principles, as well as a process to monitor the results achieved and to respond accordingly. This requires service design standards, an effective performance measurement system, and a systematic and continuous service evaluation methodology.
Based upon research conducted by CUTR for Miami-Dade Transit (MDT) in 2003, surveys received from 28 of the largest transit systems in North America revealed that these public transit agencies performed route design and performance evaluation in a wide variety of manners. A few agencies had sophisticated standards and systems in place, while many others appeared to only conduct very informal assessments of their services.
The September 14, 2005 teleconference on “Transit Service Standards” conducted by the Florida Transit Planning Network (FTPN) revealed a high degree of interest in this subject among Florida public transit agencies. However, based upon the informal survey conducted prior to the teleconference call and the discussions that ensued during the teleconference, the majority of Florida transit agencies did not have any formal adopted transit service standards or processes. All the participants, when polled, expressed a strong interest in pursuing the development of realistic, useable, and flexible transit service planning practices and felt additional research and discussions should be undertaken.
The objective of this research would be to identify existing best practices and to develop a generic model approach that could be adapted and used by all Florida public transit agencies for fixed route bus transit service planning, specifically to include: Service Design Standards, Service Performance Measurements, and a standard Service Evaluation Methodology. The focus of the research will be on short term transit service planning, including its relationship to efficient route scheduling.
The results of this research effort will provide a summary of best practices and provide a tool that can be adapted and customized for use by all size public transit agencies. The end product will permit Florida public transit agencies to have a transit service planning reference tool that would allow local development and customization of:
The proposed scope of services for this project consists of the following tasks.
Task 1 Literature Review
The investigators will review and summarize previous studies related to transit service planning, including, but not limited to, the 2003 TCRP Report 88 – “ A Guidebook for Developing a Transit Performance-Measurement System” and the May 2003 “Best Practice in Bus Transit Service Planning” report prepared by CUTR for Miami-Dade Transit (MDT).
The results of this task will help provide the overview of the different types of service design standards, service performance measurements, and service evaluation methodologies used in the public transportation industry.
Task 2 Consultation with Florida Transit Agencies
Utilizing and building upon the results of Task 1, the Florida fixed route transit systems receiving FTA Section 5307 and FDOT Transit Block grant funding will be contacted through surveys and individual contacts to determine their current practices, policies, and procedures in service design standards, service performance measurements, and service evaluation methodologies. This effort will take advantage of CUTR’s established contacts and associated work with the Florida Transit Planning Network Service Standards Committee, the Florida Transit Marketing Network, the Florida Operators Network, and the Florida DOT and the Florida Public Transportation Association
Task 3 Selective Consultation with National Transit Agencies
Similar to the efforts of Task 2, this task will focus on selective non-Florida public transportation agencies. The focus of this effort will be on the 28 large transit agencies previously identified in the MDT project detailed in the Background Statement and the results of the literature review.
Task 4 Compilation of Findings and Best Practices
Based upon the literature review, survey responses, and other agency contacts, this task will prepare an overview and compilation of the current practices utilized in the public transportation industry for service design standards, service performance measurements, and service evaluation methodologies.
This task will utilize the findings of the previous tasks to identify public transportation agencies that have well developed and successful bus transit service planning, specifically: service design standards, service performance measurements, and service evaluation methodology. A select number of these agencies and their methodologies will be examined in greater depth and documented in succinct “Best Practices” case study summaries. This may include on-site visits and/or follow up discussions with key agency representatives.
Task 5 Development of a Fixed Route Service Planning Model Methodology
The next task would be the development of a generic model approach and methodology that could be adapted and used by all Florida public transit agencies for bus transit service planning, specifically to include: service design standards, service performance measurements, and a service evaluation methodology. This would include flow charts, templates with a menu of choices allowing for locally developed standards to be inputted and other related work processes and techniques. The final end product would be a straight forward guide; with easy to utilize tools for transit service planning that could be adapted to conform to local practices, procedures, and operating environments.
Task 6 Final Report
The final task of the research will summarize the results of the previous tasks in order to develop a report on the “Best Practices In Transit Service Planning”. The report will be designed in a clear, concise summary format that will facilitate easy reading and application by public transit provider professionals.
A Power-Point presentation will also be developed to share the project findings with the Florida transit systems.
CUTR will coordinate the project with the Florida Public Transportation Association (FPTA) and the Florida DOT to ensure the scope and activities are consistent with the Florida public transportation industry’s goals and objectives.
It is understood that travel by CUTR within the budget of the project, will be necessary for collecting information, and attending project review meetings and related conferences in order to gather and share information related to the project mission. Particular locations where CUTR staff may travel within the State of Florida include Tallahassee, Tampa, Orlando, Palm Beach, Miami-Dade, and Jacksonville. Travel throughout the U.S. may include Washington D.C., Denver, San Diego, and Chicago.
Deliverables for this project will include the following:
Monthly Progress Reports – Monthly progress reports will be provided to the FDOT Project Manager and the Research Office. Reports will include the following sections:
Technical Memorandum 1 – Technical Memorandum 1 will summarize the findings of the first four tasks: the literature review, a summary of the bus transit service planning processes and procedures currently utilized in Florida transit agencies and select national transit properties, and compilation of the current practices and best practices.
Technical Memorandum 2 – Technical Memorandum 2, to be submitted at the end of Task 5, will detail a model approach and methodology that could be used and adapted by all Florida public transit agencies for bus transit service planning, specifically to include: service design standards, service performance measurements, and service evaluation methodology. The final end product would be a straight forward, easy to utilize tool for transit service planning.
Draft Final Report
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. It is expected that a well-written, high-quality report will be submitted. It is understood that reports failing to meet this requirement will summarily be rejected. The only changes allowable between the final draft and the final report will be those changes requested by the Project Manager and the Research Center.
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:
All Final Reports should be bound with a
front and back cover that is acceptable to the Department.
Sandra Bell, Research Contracts
IV. Project Schedule
V. Project Budget
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.
No equipment is envisioned to be purchased under this project.
On-site interviews with transit agency service planning and operations personnel will occur at up to 9 transit agencies – in-state (6) and out-of-state (3) – and project management meetings in Tallahassee and Tampa. Out of state on-site visits will provide a perspective of leading U.S. transit agency’s policy and procedures related to bus transit service planning, specifically: service design standards, service performance measurements, and service evaluation methodology.
Specific details for the project trips (i.e., destinations and travelers) have not been finalized. Those determinations will be made upon the substantial completion of the literature review. Prior to making any trips, the Principal Investigators will contact the FDOT Project Manager to provide details on the researcher traveling and their destinations. Pre-approvals will be provided through email correspondence.
In the event all of the trips are not necessary and/or some of the money budgeted for travel is not expended, such surplus will be reallocated to salaries and benefits with the approval of the FDOT Project Manager.
VIII. Student Involvement
This research project will not utilize any graduate students or other research assistants.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org