Small Urban and Rural Center on Mobility

Posts for "2020"

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.

Influence Research in Progress! Participate in an Interactive Data Collection Webinar on How Vehicle Automation Will Impact the Transit Workforce

Automated vehicle technology is already being used in public transit and could have a significant future role: from automated bus yard operations to automated shuttles to even automated bus rapid transit and local bus service. However, there are many uncertainties regarding how automation will be applied and how operational and workforce impacts will be handled. These uncertainties are largely influenced by choices that will be made by industry decision makers.

The Texas A&M Transportation Institute research team leading the Transit Cooperative Research Program study, The Effects of Vehicle Automation on the Public Transportation Workforce, is holding two interactive industry webinars to collect data from transportation representatives on the most likely choices that will be made by industry decision makers. (For example, will automated shuttles most likely expand transit service coverage or be used to replace unproductive service? Or both?)

Attendees will have the opportunity to:

  • learn about potential transit automation use cases,
  • hear about likely workforce impacts, and
  • respond to live polls that will influence what options get implemented by the research team when forecasting automation’s impacts on the public transportation workforce.

The webinars are scheduled for Tuesday, June 16, 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. CST and Thursday, June 18, 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. CST. Attend one of these webinars to have your voice heard and to influence this important research! We’re encouraging attendance of transportation industry representatives from all perspectives and backgrounds. To register, visit the webinar homepage and choose one of the scheduled events!

Questions about the research or webinars should be directed to Michael J. Walk, the study’s Principal Investigator, at m-walk@tti.tamu.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.

Transit Research Center at NDSU Adopts New Name, Broadens Mission

The Small Urban and Rural Transit Center (SURTC), a part of the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute at North Dakota State University, is changing its name to the Small Urban and Rural Center on Mobility (SURCOM).

The name change reflects the center's expanded focus which now includes all types of personal mobility. "Public transportation is still an important component of our research, education, training and outreach efforts," director Jill Hough noted. "But shared-use mobility modes such as carsharing, bikesharing, ridesharing, on-demand transit ride services and microtransit are increasingly making inroads into rural and small-urban areas. We've been expanding our work to include those modes as we examine the needs and opportunities for mobility of residents in those areas."

SURTC (now SURCOM) was established by the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute in 2002 to address the lack of research and outreach related to mobility needs in small urban and rural areas. Since then, the center has become a leader in that field, generating internationally-recognized research and providing training and outreach across the country. An advisory panel of industry and academic specialists in mobility was assembled in the Fall of 2019 as a part of a strategic planning effort and recommended the name change and assisted in writing the center's new mission statement: "To be an innovative research, education, and outreach center providing mobility solutions to small urban and rural communities." The changes became official Jan. 1, 2020.

"The name, Small Urban and Rural Center on Mobility, is a more accurate reflection of our current portfolio of activities and helps us to think more broadly about our future," Hough said. "Our vision is to be an internationally distinguished center for providing research and education for improving mobility in small urban and rural communities."