Small Urban and Rural Center on Mobility

Posts for "2012"

SURTC Participating at TRF

SURTC will be represented at the upcoming 53rd Annual Transportation Research Forum in Tampa, FL. Del Peterson will present his Ride or Relocate study which highlighted senior transportation and housing options in North Dakota.

Tribal Transit: Principles of Transit Management Course to be Held in Rapid City – Register Now

Registration is open for the Tribal Transit: Principles of Transit Management course to be held April 10-12, 2012 at the Ramkota Hotel in Rapid City, SD. The course will be held from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. each day. The cost is $325 per participant, and the deadline for registration is April 5. Class size is limited to 35 participants.

Training is being held in conjunction with the 2012 Tribal/BIA Transportation Conference. Continuing Education Credits are being provided by United Tribes Technical College at no charge.

The instructors for the course are Carol Wright and Keven Anderson of SURTC. Tribal Transit: Principles of Transit Management is an intensive three-day course developed by SURTC that covers virtually all aspects of transit and paratransit management for operators of tribal transit programs across the country. This course is based on our popular Principles of Transit Management course which has been taught across the country over the past three years, but it has been specifically modified to address the unique perspective of tribal transit operations. Particular attention has been placed on tribal governance, financial management, human resource management and procurement, since many of these issues vary even among various tribal entities. This course is directed toward experienced managers and those who are relatively new to their positions, as well as front-line supervisors and those who are in a position to assist transit managers. It also provides extensive take-home resource materials.

Webinar: Tribal Transit & Prospects for Future Funding

SURTC is sponsoring a free webinar March 28 on tribal transit and prospects for future funding. Pre-registration is required. Details are shown below.

Title: Tribal Transit and Prospects for Future Funding
Date and Time: Wed, March 28, 2012, 1:00 pm CT
Duration: 1 hour
Cost: Free


  • What is the status of the tribal transit industry?
  • How has it grown?
  • How has it performed?
  • What are its funding needs?
  • What are the prospects for future funding?


  • Kelly Shawn – Community Transportation Association of America
  • Jon Mielke – Small Urban and Rural Transit Center
  • Jim Glaze – Partner, Sonosky, Chambers, Sachse, Endreson & Perry, LLP


  • Small Urban and Rural Transit Center
  • Community Transportation Association of America
  • Northern Plains Tribal Technical Assistance Program

To register

Registration closed

The entire registration process takes less than a minute. You will receive an email confirmation once you have registered.

Participants will use their computer’s speakers to hear webinar presentations – there is not an access number to dial into. Questions may be asked through the chat feature of the webinar service.

Presentation Recordings Posted Online

Presentation recordings for three recent SURTC research projects are available online. The recordings summarize the research methods and major findings from each of the studies. These presentations were also given recently at the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Annual Meeting. Click on the links below to view the recordings.

Emergency Planning Workshop to be Held in Fargo

The research team for Boyd, Caton & Grant and Nusura, Inc. are conducting a free Emergency Planning Workshop Feb. 14-15 in Fargo, ND, co-sponsored by SURTC. This interactive workshop and tabletop exercise will explore industry-leading practices in emergency planning for people with disabilities and access and functional needs, with particular focus on the role of paratransit agencies in emergency response and recovery. Participant feedback will help shape the final form and content of the Paratransit Emergency Preparedness and Operations Handbook.

Transit Roundup: House Transportation Bill, TIGER, Veterans Transportation, and State Transportation Facts

  • The House Ways and Means Committee voted Friday to stop letting gasoline-tax revenue be used for mass-transit projects. Currently, 2.86 cents of the 18.4-cent gasoline tax paid by U.S. motorists is devoted to public transportation. Instead, under the House bill, the gasoline-tax revenue would be used entirely on road and bridge construction, and a one-time transfer of $40 billion from the general fund would be used to fund transit projects (Bloomberg Business Week). The move is opposed by many transportation organizations, including APTA, AASHTO, CTAA, Transportation for America, and others (Daily Yonder).
  • The U.S. DOT has announced a fourth round of funding for the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Discretionary Grant program. TIGER 2012 will provide $500 million of funding, including $120 million for rural transportation projects (DOT Press Release).
  • The DOT announced its intention to offer a second round of Veterans Transportation and Community Living Initiative grants (VTCLI). The anticipated funding amount is $25 million in Section 5309 Bus and Bus Facilities, and a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) is expected to be published in the coming weeks. Visit the VTCLI webpage for more information about the program.
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs is seeking comments on a proposed rule that would establish a grant program to help veterans in highly rural areas get transportation to VA medical centers. The proposed program would fund vehicle procurement and operation and allow for the establishment of car pool or ridesharing programs. Read the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for more information and to submit comments.
  • The DOT's Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) released State Transportation Facts and Figures, an interactive web transportation mapping application that allows customers to find state-by-state transportation data, comparisons and rankings as well as gives them the ability to download state transportation information.

NDSU is partner in U.S. Department of Transportation grant to study transit

North Dakota State University is one of four universities that will cooperatively conduct research and provide training and outreach related to public transit under a $3.5 million grant awarded this week by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

NDSU is a partner with the University of Illinois at Chicago and Florida International University in Miami.  The University of South Florida in Tampa will lead the effort.  The Small Urban & Rural Transit Center, a part of the Upper Great Plains Transportation Research Institute at NDSU, will provide expertise in rural and small urban transportation.  NDSU will receive about $500,000 from the grant.

The grant was one of 22 awarded in the University Transportation Centers Program administered by the DOT’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration and was one of two grants specifically targeted to consortiums that will study public transportation.

“NDSU has developed expertise in transit management and coordination, among other areas specifically related to transit providers in rural and small urban areas,” notes Jill Hough, director of the Small Urban & Rural Transit Center. “Our participation in this effort brings added knowledge and awareness to assure that the issues faced by rural and small urban transit providers are addressed.”

Overall, the partnership will focus on the following topic areas:

  • Enhancing transit safety
  • Developing procedures and approaches to help agencies better care for their fleets and facilities
  • Exploring how transit can enhance economic competitiveness of business, regions or communities
  • Enhancing the livability of regions or communities through transit
  • Improving environmental sustainability of transportation systems and transit operations.

“In each of these areas we will bring a rural or small community focus,” Hough noted.  “We will also gain ideas from our partners that may be transferable to the smaller transit providers that we serve. Each of the four partner universities brings unique strengths and accomplishments to this consortium, but by working together we will enhance our overall collective contribution to the transit industry.” Hough said.

SURTC to Participate at TRB

SURTC will be active in the upcoming Transportation Research Board's 91st Annual Meeting, January 22-26 in Washington, DC. Director Jill Hough will be involved in the Rural and Intercity Bus Public Transportation Committee and the Rural and Intercity Bus Conference Planning Subcommittee, and researcher Jeremy Mattson will be giving three presentations at the conference, as shown here:

Presentation Title Session Date
Marginal Cost Pricing and Subsidy of Small Urban Transit Explorations in Transit Management, Performance, and Funding Jan 23 7:30PM- 9:30PM
Transportation and Health Care Use for Older Adults in Small Communities Future of Transportation for Older Adults in Small Communities Jan 24  8:00AM- 9:45AM
Application of Attitudinal Structural Equation Modeling to Intercity Transportation Market Segmentation Intercity Passenger Rail: Tailored Solutions and Market Penetration Jan 24 1:30PM- 3:15PM

Effortless Passenger Identification System to be Studied

A new SURTC study will evaluate the use of radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to track transit passengers. The technology is referred to as the Effortless Passenger Identification System (EPIS).

The RFID tags used by EPIS can be read at longer distances than the contactless or proximity cards currently used in the industry. This characteristic allows passengers to be identified and counted as they board and alight vehicles without requiring them to physically present their card within a short distance of an on-vehicle reader. Use of the technology, which has already found a market in pupil transportation, will improve the accuracy of ridership data collection while making it easier and less time consuming for riders to pay the fare. Many transit agencies, applications, and rider segments are expected to benefit from deployment of EPIS.

The technical feasibility of the system will be tested in Southern California and North Dakota where EPIS will be evaluated under real-world and controlled conditions for different transit rider segments. A full-scale field test will be conducted with university students. Controlled testing will be done to investigate EPIS effectiveness when used by different transit rider segments. The economic feasibility of EPIS will also be evaluated by conducting a thorough cost-benefit analysis for various agency and ridership scenarios.

For more details, contact Del Peterson at

SURTC Winter Newsletter Published

The Winter 2012 issue of the Transit Lane Brief has been published and is available online. This issue features articles on a new advanced transit management course being developed by SURTC, coordination pilot projects in North Dakota recently launched by SURTC, a new study on effortless passenger identification systems, a completed study on the importance of vehicle supplier attributes, a recently completed workshop on diversity, and an upcoming SURTC webinar on tribal transit funding. The current and previous issues can be downloaded from the SURTC website.