Small Urban and Rural Center on Mobility

Posts for "2012"

Research Report – Travel Behavior and Mobility of Transportation-Disadvantaged Populations: Evidence from the National Household Travel Survey

A new report published by SURTC examines travel behavior and mobility of older adults, people with disabilities, individuals from low-income households, and rural residents by analyzing data from the National Household Travel Survey (NHTS). NHTS is a nation-wide survey last conducted in 2009.

The study, conducted by researcher Jeremy Mattson, highlights data on driving, trip frequency, staying in the same place all day or week, miles driven per year, mode choice, use of public transportation, trip purpose, trip distance, and issues and concerns regarding transportation. Changes over the last decade were also examined to identify trends in travel behavior.

Findings show how use of transit increases the number of trips taken and provides rides to individuals who would otherwise not make the trip. The study also shows the differences in mobility between different population groups. Half of those 85 or older were found to have a disability or medical condition affecting their ability to travel, and for many of them, it results in reduced day-to-day travel. A strong desire to get out more often was found by those not making a trip within the last week, which shows the importance of mobility on quality of life. People with disabilities or medical conditions were shown to make significantly fewer trips than others, while expressing a desire to get out more often.

Trends from 2001 to 2009 show increased use of transit. Older women are driving more and making more trips than they were a decade ago, slowly closing the gap between older men and women. These trends may continue as the active baby boom generation retires and expects to maintain their mobility.

For more information about the study, contact Jeremy Mattson at The full report can be downloaded at the following link: Travel Behavior and Mobility of Transportation-Disadvantaged Populations: Evidence from the National Household Travel Survey.

Mattson had previously presented findings from this study at the International Conference on Aging, Mobility and Quality of Life. That presentation is also available on the SURTC website.


FTA Online Dialogue on Transit Asset Management

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is inviting public transportation stakeholders to participate in a national online dialogue on transit asset management (TAM), from December 12, 2012 to January 4, 2013. This dialogue will provide participants the opportunity to discuss and provide suggestions on some of the key questions surrounding TAM. The dialogue is free and open to the public. States, MPOs, local governments, transit agencies, and transit advocacy groups are especially encouraged to participate.

For more details, download the informational flyer here (pdf)  or go to the following link to register and participate: National Online Dialogue on Transit Asset Management

Journal of Public Transportation Special Edition: Rural and Intercity Bus

SURTC director Jill Hough  was guest editor of the latest issue of the Journal of Public Transportation – a special edition focusing on rural and intercity bus. The Journal of Public Transportation is published by the National Center for Transit Research at the University of South Florida. This issue commemorated the 20th National Conference for Rural Public & Intercity Bus Transportation. It also celebrated the partnership between the University of South Florida and North Dakota State University as one of the University Transportation Centers focusing on public transportation in the United States. Included in this edition is an article by SURTC researcher Jeremy Mattson on the use of alternative fuels and hybrid vehicles by small urban and rural transit systems. The articles in this special edition can be viewed at the following link: Journal of Public Transportation – Vol. 15, No. 3 (2012)

Staff Presentations from Rural & Intercity Bus Conference Online

The following presentations given by SURTC researchers Jeremy Mattson and Del Peterson at the 20th National Conference for Rural Public & Intercity Bus Transportation are available to view or download on the SURTC website:

These and other presentations are available in the Staff Presentation section of the SURTC website.

Updated Training Information Posted

An updated list and description of training courses being offered by SURTC has been posted online. SURTC has been developing new training courses and broadening the types of training offered. Among the recently developed classes include "Environmental Justice and Public Participation" and "Safety, Security, and Emergency Management." Both of these classes will be available for booking in early 2013. "Capital Asset Management" is another new class that is now available. Visit the Training on Demand section of the SURTC website to view the list of training courses currently being offered.

SURTC develops and provides training for transit operators, transit associations, and state Departments of Transportation as needs are identified. If you would like to host a training session, please email

SURTC Fall 2012 Newsletter

The Fall 2012 issue of the Transit Lane Brief has been published and is available online. This issue has articles on three new research projects that are underway, two reports that were recently published, and SURTC's numerous ongoing training activities. The current and previous issues can be downloaded from the SURTC website.

SURTC to Participate in National Conference on Rural Public and Intercity Bus Transportation

SURTC staff will be heavily involved in the 20th National Conference on Rural Public and Intercity Bus Transportation, held October 14-17 in Salt Lake City, UT. This conference, held every two years, focuses on the latest in best practice and current research in rural public and intercity bus transportation.

Director Jill Hough is serving on the conference planning committee and will moderate and participate in a session on transit workforce development. Keven Anderson, training coordinator, will also participate in that session. Hough’s presentation is titled “Mentoring the Next Generation of Public Transit Workers” and Anderson’s is “Succession Planning and Mentorship.”

Carol Wright, associate director of training and outreach, will present “Addressing Language Barriers for Passengers, Drivers, and Dispatchers” in a session on effective communications for rural transportation, and she will present “Development and Assessment of Agency Policies and Practices for Civil Rights” in a session on civil rights. Wright and Anderson will also team to make a presentation on tribal transit.

Researchers Jeremy Mattson and Del Peterson will be participating in a session on how technology is improving operations. Mattson will present results from a study on the use of alternative fuels and hybrid vehicles by small urban and rural transit systems, and Peterson will present research on the use of effortless passenger identification systems.

Peterson and Mattson will also give a presentation, titled “Transit, Technology & Public Participation,” that will present findings from research on the use of new technologies to improve public participation in transit planning. This session focuses on how technology is facilitating dialogue between providers and the community.

Visit the conference website for more information.

New Study to Research Demand for Intercity Transit Services and Optimal Service Levels

SURTC researcher Jeremy Mattson is launching a new study to estimate demand for intercity transit services in rural areas and determine optimal service levels.

The study will examine how gas prices, fare levels, travel speed, and service frequency influence demand for intercity bus and rail and how demand differs based on individual characteristics such as age and income. The study will also estimate how far travelers are willing to drive to a bus or rail station to use those services. The cost and time associated with traveling to and from transit stations will be factored into the study.

Results from the study of mode choice will be used to estimate intercity bus and rail demand along different corridors. The research will be conducted in North Dakota, but the methodologies developed could be applied to other areas. Different scenarios with different travel times, service frequencies, stop locations, fare levels, and gas prices will be considered, as will the impacts of changing demographics.

Optimal service levels will be identified based on cost of providing service, costs associated with automobile travel, ridership levels, number of new trips that are created, and costs associated with impacts on the environment and traveler safety.

For more details, contact Jeremy Mattson at

New Project to Study Veteran Mobility in Small Urban and Rural Areas

A new SURTC research project will study the mobility needs of veterans living in rural North Dakota, South Dakota, and Montana and investigate the most feasible transportation options to meet their needs.

The need for veteran transportation is growing rapidly, especially in rural areas where 40 percent of veterans live. Many rural area veterans must travel long distances to receive medical care, and many wounded veterans require assistance to access jobs and engage in other essential activities.

SURTC researcher Del Peterson is the lead investigator for this project. Peterson will be recruiting veterans and transportation providers to participate in surveys and focus group meetings to learn more about veteran mobility services and gaps that exist. Peterson will also quantify the cost of providing different transportation options in relation to meeting the needs of veterans. Results will allow policy makers to make better informed decisions regarding veteran mobility issues in rural and small urban settings.

For more details about the project, contact Del Peterson at

Research to Investigate Mobility Management and Transportation Coordination Programs

A new SURTC study will investigate the impacts of mobility management and coordination programs. To improve the cost effectiveness and quality of human service transportation programs, efforts have been made at the federal, state, and local levels to implement coordination and mobility management programs. These include coordinated transportation planning processes, mobility management coordination practices, one call/one click transportation management centers, and state leadership activities. This research will evaluate the effectiveness of these programs through the perspective of end users and other stakeholders.

A series of surveys will be conducted across the country of human service transportation users, transit providers, human service agencies, and others. The effectiveness of these programs will ultimately be evaluated based on the economic and quality of life impacts they have on their users.

The research will attempt to determine the impacts of mobility management and coordination programs in meeting the goals of efficiency, ease of access, and quality of service in the places studied, and it will assess the effectiveness of these programs in meeting the needs of transportation-disadvantaged populations. It will also provide a model that any community could use to assess the effectiveness of their programs.

SURTC is collaborating on this project with researchers from the University of South Florida and the University of Illinois, Chicago. SURTC researcher Jeremy Mattson is the lead investigator for the project. For more information, contact Jeremy Mattson at