National Academies Press: OpenBook

Transit Service Evaluation Standards (2019)

Chapter: Appendix B - Transit Agency Survey

« Previous: Appendix A - List of Participating Transit Agencies
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix B - Transit Agency Survey." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Transit Service Evaluation Standards. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25446.
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix B - Transit Agency Survey." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Transit Service Evaluation Standards. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25446.
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix B - Transit Agency Survey." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Transit Service Evaluation Standards. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25446.
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix B - Transit Agency Survey." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Transit Service Evaluation Standards. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25446.
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix B - Transit Agency Survey." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Transit Service Evaluation Standards. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25446.
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix B - Transit Agency Survey." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Transit Service Evaluation Standards. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25446.
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix B - Transit Agency Survey." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Transit Service Evaluation Standards. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25446.
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix B - Transit Agency Survey." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Transit Service Evaluation Standards. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25446.
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix B - Transit Agency Survey." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Transit Service Evaluation Standards. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25446.
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70 A P P E N D I X B Transit Agency Survey TCRP Project J-7, Synthesis Topic SA-43 Transit Service Evaluation Standards PROJECT PURPOSE The goal of this study is to provide an overview of the purpose, use and application of performance measures, service evaluation standards and data collection methods at North American transit agencies. The report will explore common themes and common practices among agencies of different sizes, geographic locations and modes. Examples of these themes and practices may include reliability, passenger experience, efficiency, cost, and others identified by current or prior research. The study will examine how these metrics are used throughout all levels of the organization to determine service delivery. The scope of the review will include all transit modes, including demand-responsive transit, bus rapid transit and commuter rail. This survey is specifically designed to uncover the story behind the standards: data sources and collection techniques that feed into performance metrics, the process by which standards are established, and the role of standards in making service decisions. In an era of big data, how do agencies identify what information to collect and how to organize it? What body is responsible for deciding on standards? Does an agency need to build support throughout its organization for use of these standards in decision-making? If so, how is this done? The survey questions try to address as many situations as possible, but given the variety of circumstances and transit systems, not all questions may be appropriate for all agencies. We encourage you to obtain input from others in your agency as needed. If any question does not apply to your system, simply answer “N/A.” We also ask for recommendations for other agencies to be included in our sample and for your willingness to participate in a telephone interview if your agency is selected for a more detailed case example. The final report, to be published by the Transportation Research Board, will summarize best practices in Transit Service Evaluation Standards. This report will be extremely useful to all transit agencies in assessing current policies and identifying approaches that have been successful elsewhere. All survey responses will be confidential. Thank you for taking the time to participate. Instructions on returning the survey are included on the last page.

Transit Agency Survey 71 RESPONDENT INFORMATION 1. Date: 2. Name of Respondent: Agency Name: Title of Respondent: City/State: Respondent e-mail address: Respondent Telephone Number: 3. How many vehicles do you operate in maximum service? I. ESTABLISHING AND UPDATING TRANSIT SERVICE EVALUATION STANDARDS 4. Does your agency have service evaluation standards or guidelines? Yes, formal guidelines approved by our governing board Yes, formal guidelines approved internally but not by our governing board Yes, informal guidelines used by operations and/or planning departments Evaluation standards are being developed (Go to Question 43) No (Go to Question 43) 5. How long has your agency been using service evaluation standards? Over 10 years 5 to 10 years 2 to 4 years (Go to Question 8) Less than 2 years (Go to Question 8) 6. Has your agency updated its performance standards or measures within the past five years? Yes No (go to Question 8) Unsure (Go to Question 8) 7. Please describe what you changed in the update and how this was done. II. CHALLENGES 8. Please characterize the following elements as major challenges, minor challenges, or not an issue in the development and use of service evaluation standards.

72 Transit Service Evaluation Standards Major Challenge Minor Challenge Not an Issue Lack of data Disagreement between data sources Accuracy of data Limited staff time Lack of consensus on appropriate measures Too many measures/indicators Disagreement on Key Performance Indicators Lack of interest by Board/governing body Difficulty in obtaining approval for performance-based proposals Multiple reporting agencies and data requirements Other (please specify) 9. Please describe the primary challenge in the development and use of service evaluation standards and strategies or tactics used to overcome this challenge. III. ASSESSMENT/LESSONS LEARNED 10. How would you rate your agency’s efforts to design and apply service evaluation standards? Very successful Somewhat successful Neutral Somewhat unsuccessful Very unsuccessful 11. What have been the primary benefits of transit service evaluation standards? 12. What have been the primary drawbacks of transit service evaluation standards?

Transit Agency Survey 73 13. What was the most successful action based on service evaluation standards, and why? 14. If you could change ONE aspect in the development and use of service evaluation standards by your agency, what would you change? 15. Please describe any “lessons learned” with regard to service evaluation standards that would benefit other transit agencies. IV. DATA SOURCES AND COLLECTION PROTOCOLS 16. How does your agency collect data for performance measures? Automated data collection Manual data collection (GO TO Question 19) Both automated and manual data collection 17. What automated data collection methods are used to collect data for performance measures? Check all that apply. Automated passenger counters (APCs) Automated vehicle location system (AVL) Automated fare collection system (AFC) None Other (please specify) 18. What percentage of your agency’s fleet is equipped with the devices selected in the previous question (APCs, AVL, or other)? 19. What manual data collection methods are used to collect data for performance measures? Check all that apply. Traffic checkers Bus operators via the farebox On-board surveys None Other (please specify)

74 Transit Service Evaluation Standards 20. At what level are performance data collected? Check all that apply. Systemwide Route level Day type level (e.g., weekday-Saturday-Sunday) Time-of-day level Stop level Trip level Vehicle level Operator level Other (please specify) 21. For performance measures included in your agency’s service evaluation standards, how often are data collected, summarized, and reported? 22. Is time of year considered in the data collection process for performance metrics? Yes No (Go to Question 24) Unsure (Go to Question 24) 23. Please describe how time of year is considered in the data collection process. 24. Please describe any sampling techniques your agency uses to collect data if you do not use a 100 percent sample. 25. Who is primarily responsible for or oversees data collection regarding performance measures at your agency? Operations Planning Department Planning Department Operations Department Finance Department Department dedicated to performance analysis Contractor Other (please specify below)

Transit Agency Survey 75 V. DEFINING STANDARDS 26. How would you describe your agency’s initial development of performance standards? Check all that apply. Board/governing body initiative Senior management initiative Department-level initiative Inspired by other agencies’ standards Inspired by media attention Other (please specify below) 27. Who has primary responsibility for development and application of performance standards at your agency? Senior management Operations Planning Department Planning Department Operations Department Finance Department Department dedicated to performance analysis Contractor Other (please specify below) 28. Check all the modes for which your agency has a mode-specific performance evaluation standard? Local bus Paratransit service Express bus Bus Rapid Transit Light rail Heavy rail Single standard for light and heavy rail Commuter rail We only operate one mode A single standard across all modes that we operate Other (please specify) VI. PRIORITIES AMONG PERFORMANCE MEASURES 29. Does your agency or governing board view certain performance standards as more important than others? Yes No (Go to Question 32) Unsure (Go to Question 32)

76 Transit Service Evaluation Standards 30. Which standards are considered most important? 31. What happens to standards that are not considered the most important? Check all that apply We continue to report them to the governing body and/or to the general public We continue to use them internally – they are valuable to specific departments Other (please specify) 32. Has your agency discontinued use of any performance standards in the past five years? No Yes (please specify) VII. HOW STANDARDS ARE USED IN MAKING SERVICE DECISIONS 33. A typical process in the application of performance standards is: Data are collected and analyzed Issues are identified Corrective action (which may be specified in the standards) is taken Has your agency made service changes as a direct result of the service evaluation process? Yes No (Go to Question 41) 34. How long does your agency monitor a trending metric before taking action? Less than 12 months 12 to 18 months Eighteen to 24 months Two years or more Other (please specify) 35. What types of changes has your agency made as a direct result of the service evaluation process? Check all that apply. Route discontinuation Addition of new routes Route truncation or shortening Route extension or lengthening

Transit Agency Survey 77 Rerouting or combining routes Decreased frequency of service Increased frequency of service Decreased span of service Increased span of service Changes to schedules to improve on-time performance Changes to schedules to reduce overcrowding Changes to agency assets Organizational changes Other (please specify) 36. Has your agency’s governing body ever withheld approval of a proposed service change arising from the service evaluation process? Yes, this happens frequently (at least once a year) Yes, this happens rarely (less than once a year) No 37. Has your agency’s governing body changed its level of support for the service evaluation process as a result of public controversy over proposed service changes? Yes, its support has decreased Yes, its support has increased Not really – it has always taken public input into account in making decisions No Other (please specify) 38. Has your agency’s governing body directed staff to change performance evaluation standards as a result of a controversial recommendation? Yes No Not sure 39. How are decisions based on performance standards transmitted throughout the agency, especially to front-line personnel (bus operators, street supervisors)? 40. Are agency employees ever surveyed to obtain their input on improving agency performance? Yes No Not sure

78 Transit Service Evaluation Standards VIII. UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES 41. Has your agency ever experienced unintended consequences of attempts to meet a specific performance standard? Yes No (Go to Question 43) 42. Please describe the unintended consequences. IX. SUMMARY 43. Is there any other information you would like to share that could benefit other transit systems as they develop, revise and/or apply performance evaluation standards? 44. Would you be willing to participate further as a case example, involving a telephone interview going into further detail on your agency’s experience, if selected by the TCRP panel for this project? Yes No 45. Is there another transit system that you suggest we include in this synthesis project? Please provide the agency name and a contact (if known). END: Thank you for participating in this survey. If possible, please provide a copy of your current performance evaluation standards for analysis in this study.

Next: Appendix C - Transit Agency Survey Results »
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TRB’s Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) Synthesis 139: Transit Service Evaluation Standards provides an overview of the purpose, use, and application of performance measures, service evaluation standards, and data collection methods at North American transit agencies.

The report addresses the service evaluation process, from the selection of appropriate metrics through development of service evaluation standards and data collection and analysis to the identification of actions to improve service and implementation.

The report also documents effective practices in the development and use of service evaluation standards. The report includes an analysis of the state of the practice of the service evaluation process in agencies of different sizes, geographic locations, and modes.

Appendix D contains performance evaluation standards and guidelines provided by 23 agencies.

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