The National Academies

TCRP A-19 [Completed]

Integrating School Bus and Public Transportation Services in Nonurban Communities

  Project Data
Funds: $199,751
Research Agency: Multisystems, Inc.
Principal Investigator: Wil Rodman
Effective Date: 12/1/1996
Completion Date: 4/30/1999

The costs of providing transportation services have risen, and funding sources have not kept pace with the increases. To continue to provide mobility to the public, it is essential to more fully use the transportation assets and resources available within the community. This need is even more critical in nonurban areas where public transportation is limited or nonexistent. The school bus has been identified as having potential for linkage with public transportation, because in most nonurban areas, school bus transportation is available where public transportation is limited or nonexistent. The majority of school bus transportation falls during 4 to 5 hours on week-days, during the school year. The remainder of the time, most of these fleets sit idle.

Opportunities exist to improve efficiency in transportation services by using school buses to provide public transportation, during the periods in which they would other wise sit idle. Conversely, school districts may look to existing public transportation systems to increase efficiencies in their student transportation programs.

Each transportation service (school bus and public transportation) has different operating characteristics, scheduling techniques, funding sources, policies, and a variety of barriers to integrating services. However, some communities have effectively used various combinations of school bus and public transportation assets and resources to improve efficiencies and the mobility to the general public. Integrating maintenance, fueling, and storage facilities; altering transportation routes to accommodate both students and the general public; and combining both fleets for joint uses are such examples. Although there are successful stories of integration, there are serious barriers, which may range from the physical characteristics of the vehicles to the regulations governing school bus transportation.

There is a need to identify practices in integrating school bus and public transportation services. Integration of services may be able to produce a number of benefits to the system operators and improve the mobility of the general public or specific market segments.

The objectives of this project were: (1) to identify nonurban communities that have integrated school bus and public transportation assets and resources to provide efficiencies in service and improve mobility; (2) to conduct case studies of selected sites that will provide other communities with information to consider when integrating these services; (3) to identify the key issues associated with the integration of school bus and public transportation services; and (4) to develop an implementation guide to assist communities interested in evaluating potential service integration.

Status: The final report has been published as TCRP Report 56, "Integrating School Bus and Public Transportation Services in Non-Urban Communities". The "Implementation Guide," contained in TCRP Report 56, is also available as TCRP Web Document 11. This Guide is available in portable document format (PDF). Double-click on the files below to access the Guide. (A free copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader is available at www.adobe.com.) PLEASE NOTE: Due to the very large size of some of these files, it may take awhile--possibly more than 1 hour collectively--to download. We regret the inconvenience.

TCRP Report 56 is also available in portable document format (PDF). (A free copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader is available at https://www.adobe.com.) Double-click on the links below to access the report.

TCRP Report 56
Part A (Front Matter, Chapter 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, End Notes, Appendix A)

Part B (Appendix B, C, D)

TCRP Web Document 11

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