Small Urban and Rural Center on Mobility

Research Report – Risk Perception of Bicycle/Scooter Riders Risky Behaviors

SURCOM recently published a report that looks at the risky bicycle and scooter behaviors of adults in the United States. Two separate surveys were administered. Participants were asked to rate the severity and frequency of 20 risky behaviors of riders on five-point Likert scales. A risk matrix was built based on the magnitude and frequency of each risk, and ordered logistic regression was applied to identify significant factors. Age and income are significant factors shared between both survey groups. Education level and living in urban areas are two statistically significant factors explaining the different risky behaviors with bicycles or scooters. In general, the survey results show that participants perceive there is a low risk associated with reckless behaviors. The findings offer insight for developing new enforcement policies and safety education programs to enhance scooter/bicycle sharing programs and provide a safe environment for all road users.

The full report can be found at the link below:

Risk Perception of Bicycle/Scooter Riders Risky Behaviors

For more information, contact Jill Hough at jill.hough@ndsu.edu

Research Report – State of Good Repair Predictive Model for Small Urban and Rural Transit System's Rolling Stock Assets

In a newly published study, SURCOM has developed a model to predict the retirement years for small urban and rural transit vehicles. Achieving and maintaining public transportation rolling stock in a state of good repair is very crucial to providing safe and reliable services to riders. SURCOM developed an intelligent predictive model for analyzing the rolling stock for small urban and rural transit systems. The model determines current conditions, predicts when vehicles need to be replaced or rehabilitated, and estimates the funding needed to replace vehicles in future years to maintain a state of good repair. This simple predictive model could be a valuable resource for maintaining state of good repair and prioritizing capital needs for replacement and rehabilitation.

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

State of Good Repair Predictive Model for Small Urban and Rural Transit System's Rolling Stock Assets

For more information, contact Dilip Mistry at dilip.mistry@ndsu.edu.

Research Report – North Dakota State University Transit Study Report 2018-2019

A study published by SURCOM captured the NDSU student experience with Metro Area Transit (MATBUS) and students' travel behavior. The survey was administered to NDSU students, and it received 1,180 responses, capturing a significant amount of information regarding student travel behavior, transit use, and opinions about current MATBUS service. The survey obtained information on student transportation modes used to travel to campus, student access to vehicles, factors influencing mode choice, use of transit services, opinions on MATBUS service, thoughts on how to improve service, and willingness to pay for transit services. A second survey was administered to some universities; and feedback on the hourly operational costs of their transit systems, their payment methods, transit system asset ownership, and other characteristics of their campus transit environment was collected.

The full report can be found at the link below:

https://www.ugpti.org/resources/reports/details.php?id=1016&program=surcom

For more information, contact Kenechukwu Ezekwem at kenechukwu.ezekwem@ndsu.edu.

Research Report – Assessment of North Dakota Mobility Options, Transit Needs, and Characteristics of Users

SURCOM has published a study that identified and analyzed existing transit and other passenger mobility options in North Dakota. Information about population growth trends and demographics across the state were described and used to identify areas with the greatest needs for mobility services. Transit service levels across the state were analyzed based on an examination of existing data and information collected through surveys of transit agencies, stakeholders, and riders. Results from the rider surveys provided information about the demographics of transit users. Service gaps were identified by comparing service levels across the state to benchmarks, and the level of funding needed to fill these gaps was estimated.

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

Assessment of North Dakota Mobility Options, Transit Needs, and Characteristics of Users

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

2020 Rural Transit Fact Book Published

SURCOM has published an updated edition of the Rural Transit Fact Book. This publication is intended to serve as a national resource for statistics and information on rural transit in America. The Fact Book includes rural demographic and travel behavior data as well as financial, operating, and fleet statistics and performance measures for agencies receiving section 5311 funding. In addition to national level data, statistics are presented by state, FTA region, tribe, and mode, as well as other agency characteristics.

The Rural Transit Fact Book presents agency level data from the National Transit Database (NTD) and rural demographic and travel data from the American Community Survey and the National Household Travel Survey.

The publication can be downloaded at the SURCOM website. For more information, contact Jeremy Mattson at jeremy.w.mattson@ndsu.edu.

Research Report – ITS Technology Usage and Feasibility in Small Urban and Rural Transit

A study published by SURCOM examines the use of intelligent transportation systems (ITS) applications by small urban and rural transit agencies. The objectives of this study were to first, identify what technologies are currently used by small urban and rural transit agencies; second, investigate the influence of community, agency, and manager attributes on technology adoption; and finally, evaluate the changes in ITS adoption among small urban and rural transit agencies today as compared to 10 years ago.

The study found significant increases in the use of technologies during the past 10 years, particularly for automatic vehicle location (AVL) technologies, as well as traveler information systems and electronic fare payment. An analysis of survey responses showed that hiring managers with more education and encouraging them to attend conferences and interact with ITS vendors may influence adoption of technologies by transit agencies. 

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

ITS Technology Usage and Feasibility in Small Urban and Rural Transit

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

Research Report – Measuring the Economic Benefits of Rural and Small Urban Transit Service in Greater Minnesota

Public transit systems serving rural areas across Greater Minnesota will now be able to measure and demonstrate their value in actual dollars, thanks to new research conducted by SURCOM for the Minnesota Department of Transportation. This research identified and described the different types of benefits and impacts that these transit services provide and developed a method for calculating the benefits. In every case study reviewed, SURCOM researchers discovered that the benefits of public transit outweighed the cost of providing the service, with a cost-benefit ratio ranging from 1.5 to 4.2, indicating that for every $1 spent on public transit, the return to the community served is at least $1.50, and in some cases as much as $4.20. With hard evidence of their value in hand, these public transit agencies will be better-equipped to compete for and secure much-needed funding at the city and county levels. While the research was conducted specifically of transit systems in Minnesota, the results should also be useful for other rural and small urban transit providers across the country.

The full report, a series of summary documents, and a spreadsheet user tool can be found on the project web page at the link shown below.

Measuring the Economic Benefits of Rural and Small Urban Transit Service in Greater Minnesota

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

Influence Research in Progress! Participate in an Interactive Data Collection Webinar on How Vehicle Automation Will Impact the Transit Workforce

Automated vehicle technology is already being used in public transit and could have a significant future role: from automated bus yard operations to automated shuttles to even automated bus rapid transit and local bus service. However, there are many uncertainties regarding how automation will be applied and how operational and workforce impacts will be handled. These uncertainties are largely influenced by choices that will be made by industry decision makers.

The Texas A&M Transportation Institute research team leading the Transit Cooperative Research Program study, The Effects of Vehicle Automation on the Public Transportation Workforce, is holding two interactive industry webinars to collect data from transportation representatives on the most likely choices that will be made by industry decision makers. (For example, will automated shuttles most likely expand transit service coverage or be used to replace unproductive service? Or both?)

Attendees will have the opportunity to:

  • learn about potential transit automation use cases,
  • hear about likely workforce impacts, and
  • respond to live polls that will influence what options get implemented by the research team when forecasting automation’s impacts on the public transportation workforce.

The webinars are scheduled for Tuesday, June 16, 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. CST and Thursday, June 18, 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. CST. Attend one of these webinars to have your voice heard and to influence this important research! We’re encouraging attendance of transportation industry representatives from all perspectives and backgrounds. To register, visit the webinar homepage and choose one of the scheduled events!

Questions about the research or webinars should be directed to Michael J. Walk, the study’s Principal Investigator, at m-walk@tti.tamu.edu.

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.