The National Academies

TCRP B-21 [Completed]

Effective Approaches to Meeting Rural Intercity Bus Transportation Needs

  Project Data
Funds: $99,957
Research Agency: KFH Group, Inc.
Principal Investigator: Fred Fravel
Effective Date: 9/27/1999
Completion Date: 11/16/2001

During the decade of the 1980s, many rural intercity bus routes were abandoned by national carriers, severely reducing rural mobility. In response to the rural transportation needs that resulted, the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) of 1991 included a requirement [Section 5311(f)] that each state spend 15 percent of its annual apportionment of funds from the Federal Transit Administration for public transportation in nonurbanized areas to support rural intercity bus service. This requirement was continued, unchanged under the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) that was enacted in 1998. Several states provided financial assistance for intercity bus service using state or federal funds even before the passage of ISTEA, and some currently use state funds instead of, or in addition to, the Section 5311(f) set-aside.

Section 5311(f) included a provision allowing the states not to spend the required percentage of funds for intercity bus services if the governor certified that the intercity bus needs of the state were being adequately met. About half of the states have submitted governor's certifications for one or more years since the program began, allowing them to use the available funds for other rural public transportation purposes.

Other states have struggled to find effective ways to support and improve rural intercity bus transportation using Section 5311(f) funds, state funds, or a combination of both. These states have initiated new rural intercity bus services, acquired accessible vehicles, improved or constructed facilities, subsidized existing routes, established feeder service, marketed services, and created alternatives for previously abandoned intercity bus service. These improvements support a lifeline to essential goods and services for many people living and traveling in rural America.

Little information is available about recently funded projects to maintain and improve rural intercity bus transportation. This project will provide much needed information to people throughout the United States who plan, administer, fund, and operate rural transportation, in particular, intercity bus services.

The objective of this project is to identify strategies for initiating, preserving, and enhancing effective rural intercity bus transportation in order to assist local communities, transportation providers, planners, and state program administrators to plan, fund, market, and operate these services more effectively.

Status: The research is completed and has been published as TCRP Report 79: Effective Approaches to Meeting Rural Intercity Bus Transportation Needs.

To create a link to this page, use this URL: http://apps.trb.org/cmsfeed/TRBNetProjectDisplay.asp?ProjectID=1044