Initial work on estimating demand for rural passenger transportation was published in 1995 in TCRP Report 3. In the intervening years, the nature of rural public transit and human services transportation has changed.
With increased emphasis on coordination and increased investment in rural public transit by SAFETEA-LU, investigations are being conducted into rural transit need and the demand for human services transportation in rural areas. Many of these plans are relying on TCRP Report 3 methods of demand projection that may no longer be relevant or valid. Limitations of the TCRP Report 3 methodology include a sample of 39 counties, the exclusion of needs estimates for service planning and future funding purposes, and limited applicability to sub-county areas.
An accurate and reliable estimation tool for rural public transit and human services transportation demand is needed for the development of coordination plans for rural localities throughout the United States as required by SAFETEA-LU. Such an updated estimation tool will give local decision makers better information to allocate and coordinate scarce transportation resources to address local passenger transportation mobility needs.
The objectives of this research are to (1) provide improved methods for forecasting rural passenger-transportation demand and (2) develop methods for quantifying passenger transportation needs. The recommended methods will include determination of data needs, data-collection techniques, demand-forecasting methods, and any other components needed for an effective process for forecasting rural passenger-transportation demand and quantifying passenger-transportation needs. The results will be summarized and presented in a format that rural passenger-transportation providers and planners can easily understand and use.
Status: An expanded scope was funded and approved to workshop and refine the methodology in 2010 and 2011. An interim meeting with the panel by conference call was held in June 2011. Workshops have been completed. An interim meeting with the panel was held in January 2012. Draft final deliverables were received in May 2012. Revised final deliverables were received in July 2012 and published in April 2013.