Small Urban and Rural Center on Mobility

Posts categorized under "Publications"

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.

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.

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.

2017 Rural Transit Fact Book Published

SURTC has published its 2017 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 2017 edition is an expanded version that includes a section on county-level demographic information, presenting county-level population data for older adults, people with disabilities, and those living below the poverty line. This edition also provides more detailed information on the geographic coverage of rural transit services across the country.

The Rural Transit Fact Book presents agency level data from the Rural 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 SURTC website. For more information, or if you're interested in receiving a hard copy, contact Jeremy Mattson (jeremy.w.mattson@ndsu.edu).

Research Report – Aging in Place in Small Urban and Rural Communities

A new study published by SURTC investigated the current state of aging in place in small urban and rural settings throughout the country and quantified the costs for residents to live at home and ride public transportation versus moving to an assisted living facility. Overall, simulation results showed that the cost of assisted living was almost always higher compared to other alternatives. Homeowners without mortgages had the lowest costs followed by apartment dwellers and homeowners with mortgages. Policy makers should consider the potential cost savings from aging in place found in this study. Seniors and their families can potentially save thousands of dollars annually by remaining at home and utilizing home health and public transportation services.

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

Aging in Place in Small Urban and Rural Communities

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

Research Report – Estimating Demand for Intercity Bus Services in a Rural Environment

A new report that developed a method for estimating demand for intercity bus services in rural areas has been posted to the SURTC website. The general objective of this research was to develop an intercity mode choice model that can be incorporated into a statewide travel demand model to estimate demand for rural intercity bus services. Data for the study were collected through a survey of North Dakota residents. Gender, age, income, disability, trip purpose, party size, travel time, travel cost, and access distance were all found to have significant impacts on mode choice, and traveler attitudes were also found to be important. The study demonstrated how the mode choice model can be incorporated into a statewide travel demand model, and intercity bus mode shares were estimated for origin-destination pairs within the state. Alternative scenarios were analyzed to show how mode shares would change under different conditions or service characteristics. This study was conducted in the largely rural state of North Dakota, but results could be transferable to other areas with similar geographic characteristics.

The link below provides access to the full report and executive summary, as well as a summary of the survey results:

Innovative Approach to Estimating Demand for Intercity Bus Services in a Rural Environment

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