Small Urban and Rural Center on Mobility

Research Report – Relationships between Land Use, Transportation, Household Expenditures, and Municipal Spending in Small Urban Areas

A new study published by the Small Urban and Rural Center on Mobility (formerly the Small Urban and Rural Transit Center) explores the important relationships between land use, transportation, and household and municipal expenditures, with a focus on small urban areas. The study showed that transit ridership increases in areas with greater density, while households in lower-density, auto-oriented neighborhoods tend to spend more on transportation. The study also examined municipal expenditures and found that per capita spending for streets and highways and a number of other cost categories is higher for lower-density cities.

The full report and executive summary can be found at the link below:

Relationships between Land Use, Transportation, Household Expenditures, and Municipal Spending in Small Urban Areas

For more information, contact Jeremy Mattson at jeremy.w.mattson@ndsu.edu.

Research Report – Transit Automation Technologies: A Review of Transit Agency Perspective

A new report published by the Small Urban and Rural Center on Mobility (formerly the Small Urban and Rural Transit Center) explores the perspectives of transit agencies in both urban and rural areas regarding the adoption of automation technologies. With various levels of transit automation technologies currently available and more advanced versions likely to be on the market soon, it is important to identify and understand transit automation technologies in the context of transit agencies' needs for implementing these technologies. This study identified various transit industry uses of automation technologies and conducted a national survey of transit operators in rural, small urban, and urban areas to understand transit agencies' perspectives, interests, and needs with regard to automation technologies.

The full report can be found at the link below:

Transit Automation Technologies: A Review of Transit Agency Perspective

For more details, contact Ranjit Godavarthy at ranjit.godavarthy@ndsu.edu.

Transit Research Center at NDSU Adopts New Name, Broadens Mission

The Small Urban and Rural Transit Center (SURTC), a part of the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute at North Dakota State University, is changing its name to the Small Urban and Rural Center on Mobility (SURCOM).

The name change reflects the center's expanded focus which now includes all types of personal mobility. "Public transportation is still an important component of our research, education, training and outreach efforts," director Jill Hough noted. "But shared-use mobility modes such as carsharing, bikesharing, ridesharing, on-demand transit ride services and microtransit are increasingly making inroads into rural and small-urban areas. We've been expanding our work to include those modes as we examine the needs and opportunities for mobility of residents in those areas."

SURTC (now SURCOM) was established by the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute in 2002 to address the lack of research and outreach related to mobility needs in small urban and rural areas. Since then, the center has become a leader in that field, generating internationally-recognized research and providing training and outreach across the country. An advisory panel of industry and academic specialists in mobility was assembled in the Fall of 2019 as a part of a strategic planning effort and recommended the name change and assisted in writing the center's new mission statement: "To be an innovative research, education, and outreach center providing mobility solutions to small urban and rural communities." The changes became official Jan. 1, 2020.

"The name, Small Urban and Rural Center on Mobility, is a more accurate reflection of our current portfolio of activities and helps us to think more broadly about our future," Hough said. "Our vision is to be an internationally distinguished center for providing research and education for improving mobility in small urban and rural communities."

Webinar – Impactful Transit Agency and University Collaborations

The West Region Transportation Workforce Center and the Western Transportation Institute at Montana State University are hosting a webinar that explores successful collaborations between transit agencies and university students and staff. See details below for more information.

Register Now

Date and Time: Tuesday, November 5, at 11 am PT/Noon MT/1 pm CT/2 pm ET

Overview: How can transit agencies develop the skillsets of the future workforce while improving day-to-day operations? This webinar highlights successful collaborations between transit agencies and university students and faculty that accomplish both goals. Speakers will showcase collaborations that engage students in diverse transit-focused projects, providing students the opportunity to develop and apply knowledge to authentic problems in a real context, while providing agencies with fresh new ideas and focused energy on a task or issue.

Speakers:

  • Shaping the Future Skills Needed to Overcome Challenges
    • Maria Dahmus, Director, University of St. Thomas Sustainable Communities Partnership
    • Kelly Morrell, Commuter Programs Specialist, Metro Transit
  • Building Partnerships that Work for Rural and Regional Transit Systems
    • Julia Castillo, Executive Director, Heart of Iowa Regional Transit Agency
  • Harnessing Student Capacity to Address Diverse Project Needs
    • Andrew Martin, Development Planner, Lane Transit District

Host:

  • West Region Transportation Workforce Center
  • Western Transportation Institute, Montana State University

Webinar – Opportunities for State DOTs (and others) to Encourage Shared-Use Mobility Practices in Rural Areas

Ranjit Godavarthy, SURTC researcher and assistant professor, will be conducting a webinar on shared-use mobility practices in rural areas for the Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) as part of the CUTR Transportation Webcast series.

Title: Opportunities for State DOTs (and others) to Encourage Shared-Use Mobility Practices in Rural Area

Date: September 26 at 11:00 am Central Time

Join: https://www.cutr.usf.edu/webcast/

Description: Shared-use mobility (SUM) practices are transportation services that are shared among users. SUM can include ‘traditional SUM’ practices such as public transit, taxis, limousines, etc., or ‘technology enabled SUM’ practices such as ridesourcing, carsharing, bikesharing, micortransit services, etc. While SUM practices exist in all size communities, their presence is less prominent in rural communities.

SUM practices have the potential to fill mobility gaps by offering fast, on-demand, and reliable transportation options. Many innovative SUM initiatives are being piloted and implemented in rural communities in conjunction with already-existing rural transit/transportation services and with business models tailored for rural communities. This study investigated various categories of SUM services such as ridesourcing, carsharing, bikesharing, and microtransit service’s applicability in rural communities and determined the potential to supplement and/or complement traditional rural transit/transportation services.

One of the outputs of the study is a five-task rural SUM toolkit for strategies such as ridesourcing, carsharing, bikesharing, microtransit, as well as rural mobility as a service (MaaS) platforms. The rural SUM toolkit can inform state DOTs, regional transportation agencies, rural transit agencies, local governments, human service agencies, and other state and local agencies about the various steps and tasks involved for strategically planning to pilot and implement relevant SUM strategies to meet the unique transportation needs in rural communities. This toolkit can be applicable for small urban communities as well.

Webinar – Transit and Livability

Jeremy Mattson, SURTC researcher and assistant professor, will be conducting a webinar on transit and livability for the Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) as part of the CUTR Transportation Webcast series.

Title: Transit and Livability: Results from the National Community Livability Survey

Date: September 12 at 11:00 am Central Time

Join: https://www.cutr.usf.edu/webcast/

Description: This webinar will present results from a national survey that was conducted to understand factors important to livability in both urban and rural areas across the country and to study the role of transportation and public transit. While many factors influence a community’s livability, affordable transportation options, such as transit services, can be an important contributor in both large and small communities. The study team conducted a survey, called the National Community Livability Survey, where respondents ranked the importance of livability factors and the quality of those factors in their communities, as well as perceived community quality of life. The survey provides information about what factors individuals in both urban and rural areas believe are important for community livability, as well as how they rate the quality of those factors in their communities. This information provides insight on how livability could be improved. An analysis of the survey data shows that livability improves as travel becomes easier, and community livability ultimately has a positive impact on overall life satisfaction. The presentation will describe the data that was collected, summarize the results, compare the results to previous case studies conducted in rural communities, and discuss the implications for improving livability and quality of life.

This webinar is based on a published SURTC report that can be downloaded here: https://www.ugpti.org/resources/reports/details.php?id=927&program=surtc

Transit II Training Course Offered in Oregon

Transit II – The Pillars, a two-day training course developed by SURTC and taught by SURTC training coordinator Rob Lynch, is being offered by the Oregon Department of Transportation and is open nationally for enrollment. Details are below.

TRANSIT II – The Pillars

This course is designed to build upon a transit administrator's or supervisor's existing base of knowledge and is designed to help them further develop their managerial skills. The material will be presented through a combination of lecture and activities, requiring individual critical thinking and significant group participation. This course is broken into individual modules which cover: Advanced Human Resources; Funding and Finance; Intelligent Transportation Systems for Transit; Strategic Planning; Emergency Management and Continuity Planning; Ethics, Leadership and Organizational Culture. Prerequisite for this course: SURTC's TRANSIT I or Principles of Transit Management course

2 Open Enrollment Opportunities!

TRANSIT II – The Pillars

Monday/Tuesday – July 8/9

Oregon State University

725 SW 26th St

Corvallis, OR 97331

TRANSIT II – The Pillars

Thursday/Friday – July 11/12

Shilo Inn

3223 Bret Clodfelter Way

The Dalles, OR 97058

Cost is $295.00 per person. For more information or to register, contact Rob Lynch at rob.lynch@ndsu.edu.

Research Report – Transit and Livability: Results from the National Community Livability Survey

SURTC partnered with the Texas A&M Transportation Institute to conduct a National Community Livability Survey that analyzes the role of transportation and public transit in influencing community quality of life. A new SURTC report details the findings of the survey and shows the positive impact of transportation. The survey was conducted in both urban and rural areas, and results are useful for understanding factors important to livability, how livability could be improved, and how transportation contributes to livability. An analysis of the survey data shows that livability improves as travel becomes easier, which is affected by transit quality as well as the quality of roads, congestion, and traffic safety, and community livability ultimately has a positive impact on overall life satisfaction. Other important livability factors were also examined.

The full report and executive summary can be found at the link below:

Transit and Livability: Results from the National Community Livability Survey

For more details, contact Ranjit Godavarthy at ranjit.godavarthy@ndsu.edu.

Research Report – The Impact of Oil Boom and Bust Cycles on Western North Dakota

A new study published by SURTC examines the impacts of the boom and bust cycles on transit ridership and community livability in western North Dakota by calculating transit livability index measures. These measures were calculated based on six core livability principles. A major finding of this research shows that although the recent oil bust has caused considerable concern in western North Dakota, the population and transit ridership are considerably larger today than they were in 2008. The study also develops a system dynamics model to show the potential impacts from increasing transit’s mode share.

The full report and executive summary can be found at the link below:

The Impact of Oil Boom and Bust Cycles on Western North Dakota

For more details, contact Del Peterson at Del.Peterson@ndsu.edu.

New Research Project: Measuring the Economic Benefits of Rural and Small Urban Transit Service in Greater Minnesota

SURTC is starting a new project for the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) that will measure the benefits of rural and small urban transit service throughout Minnesota. The scope of the project includes all public transportation agencies outside of the Twin Cities metro area. The study team will develop a framework and tool that can be used by transit agencies and planners for identifying and measuring the benefits of transit services. A series of case studies will be conducted across the state to measure the benefits of specific transit services. The project, which is scheduled to be completed by April 2020, will produce a detailed report as well as educational material that can be used by transit agencies, planners, and stakeholders. This research will provide the necessary information to objectively assess the benefits of public spending on rural and small urban transit services, which would give decision-makers the data needed to allocate resources to programs that would provide the greatest benefit. The research will provide information to local leaders and MnDOT about the benefits of transit in Greater Minnesota. For more information, contact Jeremy Mattson at jeremy.w.mattson@ndsu.edu.