The National Academies

TCRP B-22 [Completed]

New Paradigms for Rural and Small Urban Transit Service Delivery

  Project Data
Funds: $99,981
Research Agency: University of Arizona
Principal Investigator: Sandra Rosenbloom
Effective Date: 5/31/2000
Completion Date: 11/30/2001

For the past several years, the Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) has been engaged in an ongoing "New Paradigms for Public Transportation" process. The objective has been to identify forward-looking research topics to determine how best the transit industry may respond to the political, economic, social, technological, and cultural forces that are changing transportation needs.

Population migration patterns, new technology, and changes in welfare, training, employment, child care, and health care programs are affecting rural and small urban transit systems. These developments present challenges and opportunities for transit systems to operate in new ways to serve new markets.

Public transit providers in rural and small urban areas need to meet the very diverse mobility needs of individuals with few transportation alternatives. These transit providers are located in low-density service areas that may cover a large geographic area. Services typically operate with very constrained funds and often must coordinate with numerous other local organizations, including, among others: social service agencies; health care providers; recreational facilities; nutrition centers; education facilities; employment centers; and training facilities. The diversity of rural and small urban communities results in a wide variety of public transit responses.

A current TCRP research project (TCRP Project A-21, Innovations to Improve the Productivity, Efficiency, and Quality of Public Transportation in Rural and Small Urban Areas) is developing a Guidebook that identifies transferable, successful innovative initiatives that are being undertaken to improve the productivity, efficiency, and quality of such services. The Project A-21 effort is focusing on current initiatives, with the Guidebook providing a means of sharing successful experiences with others in the industry.

As distinguished from the Project A-21 work, the purpose of TCRP Project B-22 is to identify new and/or significantly improved service delivery concepts that could serve as models for future consideration--to define new paradigms that may be applicable for rural and small urban public transit options. These concepts may build on current innovations, may apply existing practices in a different context, or may be entirely new practices.

The objective of this project is to identify new and/or significantly improved service delivery concepts and methods for providing rural and small urban public transportation in the 21st Century. The project seeks visionary, creative, holistic approaches to providing mobility and access in rural and small urban areas.

Status: Completed. The revised interim report for the project was accepted by the project panel. Case studies by another research team were accepted by the panel under project B-22A.
Product Availability: The findings of project B-22A have been summarized in TCRP Report 99.

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