Small Urban and Rural Center on Mobility

Posts for "2015"

Research Report – Developing a Method for Assessing National Demand-Response Transit Level of Service

A new SURTC study has developed a method for assessing the level of demand-response transit being provided throughout a state or nationwide and prioritizing areas for needed service improvements.

Demand-response transit is a major source of mobility for older adults, people with disabilities, and low-income households in urban and rural areas, but the data needed to assess the level of service being provided across the country is lacking. Key variables for identifying the level of service include geographic coverage, days of service per week, hours of service per day, advance reservation requirements, and service eligibility. These data are largely missing from the National Transit Database or other sources.

Given that currently available data sources are inadequate, SURTC researchers developed and conducted online surveys of demand-response transit agencies in North Dakota and Florida to gather service details. The goal was to collect as much useful and detailed data as possible while minimizing the burden to transit agencies. Based on the results from these surveys, recommendations were made for deploying the survey nationwide. SURTC researchers also developed a method for combining the service data collected from the survey with population and demographic data to identify areas with greater needs for service improvements. The report shows how the data collected from this new survey tool can help state DOTs and transit planners evaluate current service levels and make investment decisions.

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

Developing a Method for Assessing National Demand-Response Transit Level of Service

For more details, contact Ranjit Godavarthy at or Jeremy Mattson at

Webinar – The Digitally Connected Commuter: How Personal Technology is Affecting the Rider Experience on Public Transit

The Transportation Research Forum (TRF) is hosting a free webinar on the implications of personal electronic devices on the demand for transit and the quality of the traveler experience. To register, send a message to

TITLE: "The Digitally Connected Commuter:  How Personal Technology is Affecting the Rider Experience on Public Transit"

TIME: Wednesday, September 30.  Noon-1 PM Central Time (1 PM Eastern, 10 AM Pacific).  Webinar ends promptly at 1 PM.

SPEAKERS: Sean J. Barbeau, Ph.D., University of South Florida; Matt Michel, Research Associate and Joe Schwieterman, Ph.D., Professor, DePaul University Chicago.

DESCRIPTION:  Barbeau will describe ongoing research at the University of South Florida to create and evaluate location-aware mobile technology and its effect on transit riders.  Michel and Schwieterman will present data from 10,000 Chicago commuter rail riders showing a dramatic rise in "digital activity" among passengers since 2010.  They posit that the associated benefits of using devices while traveling are stimulating the demand for transit.  The presentation will together last 40 minutes, allowing 20 minutes for discussion and Q&A.

MODERATOR: David Boaté, P.E., Gannett Fleming, and President, TRF Public and High Speed Ground Transportation Chapter | Executive Vice President, TRF New York Chapter

RSVP: Free and open to all professionals, students, and guests.  To register, call (312) 362-5731 or email

Research Report – The Impact of North Dakota's Oil Boom on Transit Livability

SURTC has published a report highlighting the changes affecting public transportation in North Dakota's oil producing region. Population growth in western North Dakota from those seeking employment in the oil industry has led to substantial increases in personal income and transit ridership. Local survey findings noted that population growth has impacted the quality of life by increasing pressure on infrastructure and increasing feelings of insecurity that stem from demographic shifts and not knowing who is living in local communities. The housing market has also struggled to keep pace.

Transit livability index measures showed an increase in recent years. The combinations of increased ridership and household income have been the two main catalysts for this change. More workers utilizing transit has also led to fewer workers commuting alone to work. However, an increasing mobility needs index and a lack of transit vehicles to meet demand are becoming evident as many of the transit livability indexes are showing smaller increases during the past one to three years compared to earlier gains.

For more details contact

2015 Rural Transit Fact Book Published

SURTC has published its 2015 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 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 are interested in receiving a hard copy, contact Jeremy Mattson (

Research Report – Identifying and Satisfying the Mobility Needs of North Dakota's Transit System

SURTC has published a new report that identifies the needs of transit agencies in North Dakota, gaps in transit service in the state, and additional services and funding needed to meet current demand as well as projected future demand. Surveys of transit agencies and human service agencies were conducted to gather information about existing transit services, how well those services are meeting the needs of the state’s residents, and the issues and challenges facing transit providers. Target levels of transit service and the funding needed to reach those targets were identified. Projections were also made based on expected population growth. Findings show a need for expansion of services across the state, especially in areas experiencing population growth, as well as needs for improvements in staffing and additional vehicles. The full report and an executive summary can be found at the link below:

Identifying and Satisfying the Mobility Needs of North Dakota's Transit System

For more details, contact Jeremy Mattson at or Jill Hough at

John Maxwell Leadership Training Being Conducted

Several of the John Maxwell leadership courses are now being offered by SURTC. Dr. John Maxwell is a highly acclaimed leadership speaker and author, having written nearly 80 books, and Dr. Jill Hough, SURTC director, is now a certified John Maxwell speaker, trainer, and coach. Dr. Hough is offering seven of his leadership courses, including "The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership," "15 Invaluable Laws of Growth," and others. More information about these courses and other training opportunities currently being offered by SURTC are available on the SURTC website.

Send Us Your Transit Pictures

SURTC is looking for rural or small urban transit pictures to use in our upcoming publications. We would greatly appreciate it if any transit providers have pictures they would be willing to share and allow us to use in publications such as the Rural Transit Fact Book. We will give proper credit for any pictures that we use. If you have any pictures that you can share, please send them to Jeremy Mattson (

Stand Up for Transportation Day is April 9

SURTC and the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute are partnering with MATBUS, Great Rides Bike Share, and Metro COG to celebrate Stand Up for Transportation Day on April 9 in the Fargo-Moorhead community. Stand Up for Transportation Day, celebrated nationwide and organized by the American Public Transportation Association, is meant to promote awareness and knowledge of the importance of transportation as a vital link in our communities. Whether it’s roads, bridges, infrastructure projects, public transportation or bike share programs, the transportation sector is helping to power the American economy and getting the job done for our citizens.

To commemorate the day, NDSU President Dean Bresciani will welcome the Mayors from Fargo, Moorhead, West Fargo and Dilworth when they gather at noon at the NDSU Memorial Union Transit Hub. Each will talk briefly about the importance of transportation in our metro area, followed by the signing of a joint proclamation.

Area residents and visitors can play an active role in this event by posting transportation-related selfies or photos on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram on April 9. By using the hashtag #SU4TFM, participants will be eligible to win prizes. There will be large informational posters with transportation-related facts placed around the metro to further promote the event.

Transit ITS Seminar in Pasadena

The National Transit Institute (NTI) is hosting a Transit ITS Seminar on April 14-15 in Pasadena, California. This introductory-level seminar is geared for transit professionals, which include planners, engineers, operators, and individuals employed by MPOs, DOTs, and transportation agencies that will be involved in the planning, implementation, and ongoing management of transit data. The goal of the workshop is to discuss and discover best practices in data management for transit ridership and for open source data, for internal agency consumption and external partner usage. Rob Lynch, SURTC training coordinator, and Mohammad Smadi, associate research fellow with the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute, will be teaching the class. To register or find more information, go to the NTI website.

Webinar: Ethics in Transit Decision-Making

Jill Hough, SURTC director, will be conducting a webinar titled "Ethics in Transit Decision-Making" on March 18 at 2:00 p.m. central time. The webinar, which is being hosted by the National Rural Transit Assistance Program (RTAP), will examine various decision-making tests for ethics, while exploring this hot topic in transit. Register for the webinar at the following link: 101 Webinar: Ethics in Transit Decision-Making.