Small Urban and Rural Center on Mobility

Posts for "2012"

SURTC's 2010-2011 Annual Report Published

SURTC's 2010-2011 Annual Report has been published and is available online. The report covers SURTC's activities for the July 1, 2010 to December 31, 2011 period. Current and previous annual reports are available on the SURTC website.

Report Published: Use of Alternative Fuels and Hybrid Vehicles by Small Urban and Rural Transit Systems

A new report published by SURTC studies the use of alternative fuels and hybrid vehicles by transit systems in small urban and rural areas. Transit agencies of all sizes across the country have been or are considering using alternative fuels or hybrid-electric vehicles. Smaller agencies may face greater difficulties in transitioning to alternative fuels or hybrids due to infrastructure costs, reliability and maintenance issues, or other concerns.

To better understand the problems and benefits with using biodiesel, E85, propane, natural gas, and hybrid vehicles in smaller communities, a survey of 115 small urban and rural transit agencies was conducted. This study described the use of alternative fuels and hybrids by these transit providers; identified motivating factors and deterrents for adoption; described the experience of transit agencies that have adopted these alternatives, including costs, fuel economy, maintenance, reliability, and overall satisfaction; and examined differences between those agencies that use these alternatives and those that do not, as well as difference between rural and small urban areas.

Larger agencies and those operating in urban areas tend to be more likely to adopt alternatives than smaller, rural providers. Improving public perception, reducing emissions, and reducing operating costs tend to be the greatest motivating factors for adoption, while concerns about infrastructure and vehicle costs, maintenance, and fuel supply are the greatest deterrents. Those agencies that have adopted alternative fuels or hybrids have been mostly satisfied, but some problems were identified. Findings provide useful information to policy makers as well as transit operators considering adoption of alternative fuels and hybrids.

For more information, contact Jeremy Mattson at The publication can be downloaded at the following link: Use of Alternative Fuels and Hybrid Vehicles by Small Urban and Rural Transit Systems

Webinar Recording: Transit, Technology & Public Participation

The Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) has posted a recording online of a webinar conducted by SURTC researchers Del Peterson and Jeremy Mattson on using technologies, such as smartphones, webcasts, online surveys, and social media, for increasing public participation in transportation planning. The presentation was conducted as part of CUTR's webcast series. The webinar can be viewed at the link below, using the required recording ID. Visit the CUTR Webcast page to view other recordings as well as upcoming webinars.

Webinar recording: Transit, Technology & Public Participation

Recording ID: Transit-Tech

Webinar Recording Posted Online: Tribal Transit & Prospects for Future Funding

On March 28, 2012, SURTC partnered with CTAA and the Northern Plains Tribal Technical Assistance program to present a webinar on Tribal Transit & Prospects for Future Funding.

SURTC researcher Jon Mielke presented the findings of a recent study regarding the impacts of the 5311(c) tribal transit program that was created in 2005 by the SAFETEA-LU federal highway and transit funding bill. The study also identified future funding requirements based on varying levels of tribal participation and the availability of funding from other sources.

Jim Glaze, a tribal transit attorney and partner with the Sonosky, Chambers, Sachse, Endreson, & Perry, LLP, law firm briefed participants on the status of various versions of pending federal reauthorization. The timing of Mr. Glaze’s presentation was especially timely given legislation that is currently pending before Congress.

Register Now for the APTA Public Transportation & Universities Conference in Fargo

Registration is open for the 2012 Public Transportation & Universities Conference. This conference, hosted by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), is scheduled for June 16-19, 2012 (Saturday-Tuesday), at the Ramada Plaza & Suites in Fargo, ND. North Dakota State University and Metro Area Transit (MATBUS) are co-hosting the event. The early fee deadline for registration is May 11.

The preliminary program has been posted. Visit the conference website for more information. The biennial Public Transportation & Universities Conference focuses on the unique needs of university communities and the population they serve.

Call for Papers: Special Rural and Intercity Bus Edition of the Journal of Public Transportation

Papers offering contributions in the area of rural and intercity bus are being solicited for submission for a special issue of the Journal of Public Transportation, with support from the USF Center for Urban Transportation and NDSU Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute’s (UGPTI) Small Urban and Rural Transit Center (SURTC). This special edition of JPT will be made available at the 20th National Conference on Rural Public and Intercity Bus Transportation in Salt Lake City, Utah, October 14-17, 2012.

The deadline for submission is April 27, 2012. See the Call for Papers for more details.

SURTC to Conduct Webcast of Metro COG Public Input Meeting

SURTC will conduct a webcast of a public input meeting hosted by the Fargo-Moorhead Metropolitan Council of Governments (Metro COG) on March 27. The meeting is regarding a current study of the Trunk Highway 75/Trunk Highway 10/Center Avenue corridor in Moorhead and Dilworth. The meeting and the webcast will run from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm. Click here to attend the live webcast.

SURTC is conducting the webcast as part of a project to test the use of technologies such as webcasts, smartphones, online surveys, and social media for increasing public participation in transportation planning.

CUTR Webcast Series: SURTC Presenting Transit, Technology & Public Participation

SURTC researchers Jeremy Mattson and Del Peterson will be presenting findings from their Transit, Technology & Public Participation Study during a webcast Thursday April 5 at 11am CDT.

The Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) will be hosting the presentation as part of their online webcast series.

The objective of this project was to evaluate the benefits of employing an integrated system of technologies and practices to improve public participation in the public transportation planning process. A demonstration project was developed in the Fargo-Moorhead metropolitan area addressing the issues of limited agency resources, individual participation barriers, and the technology divide, among others. A combination of on-vehicle rider surveys, transit-oriented social networks, electronic transportation surveys, and public meeting webcasts were designed to mitigate these issues. For more information, view the project posts.

Transit Roundup: Funding Opportunities, Transportation Legislation, and Ridership Increases

  • The U.S. DOT announced the availability of $15 million under the FTA's Tribal Transit Program. Proposals must be submitted by May 10, 2012. (FTA Press Release)
  • U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood wrote in his blog Fast Lane about the importance of FTA grants to transit systems in small communities.
  • The U.S. Senate, last week, passed its version of surface transportation legislation (see reactions from APTA and AASHTO), but the House's bill is not expected to reach the floor until after the current legislation expires on March 31 (Politico, The Hill), so Congress will now focus on extending SAFETEA-LU (Transportation Issues Daily). Transportation for America conducted some detailed analysis comparing the Senate and House bills.
  • APTA released its ridership report last week for 2011, showing a 2.3% increase from 2010. The largest growth was in rural and small urban communities. Ridership increased 5.4% in communities with population under 100,000. (APTA Press Release)

Dr. Hough Quoted in NPR Story on Gas Prices and Rural Transit

SURTC Director Dr. Jill Hough was quoted in this story from National Public Radio on the impact of higher gas prices on rural transit: Gas Prices Force More People To Take Rural Transit.