Below is the uncorrected machine-read text of this chapter, intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text of each book. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.
TRANSIT COOPERATIVE RESEARCH PROGRAM TCRP RESEARCH REPORT 237 Fare-Free Transit Evaluation Framework Mariel Kirschen Amy Pettine Miranda Adams Nelson\Nygaard San Francisco, CA Heidy Persaud Center for Neighborhood Technology Chicago, IL Subject Areas Public Transportation â¢ Finance Research sponsored by the Federal Transit Administration in cooperation with the American Public Transportation Association 2023
TRANSIT COOPERATIVE RESEARCH PROGRAM TCRP RESEARCH REPORT 237 The nationâs growth and the need to meet mobility, environmental, Project J-11/Task 39 and energy objectives place demands on public transit systems. Cur- ISSN 2572-3782 rent systems, some of which are old and in need of upgrading, must ISBN 978-0-309-69831-3 expand service area, increase service frequency, and improve efficiency Â© 2023 by the National Academy of Sciences. National Academies of to serve these demands. Research is necessary to solve operating prob- Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and the graphical logo are trade- lems, adapt appropriate new technologies from other industries, and marks of the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. introduce innovations into the transit industry. The Transit Coopera- tive Research Program (TCRP) serves as one of the principal means by which the transit industry can develop innovative near-term solutions to meet demands placed on it. COPYRIGHT INFORMATION The need for TCRP was originally identified in TRB Special Report Authors herein are responsible for the authenticity of their materials and for obtaining 213âResearch for Public Transit: New Directions, published in 1987 written permissions from publishers or persons who own the copyright to any previously and based on a study sponsored by the Urban Mass Transportation published or copyrighted material used herein. Administrationânow the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). A Cooperative Research Programs (CRP) grants permission to reproduce material in this report by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), publication for classroom and not-for-profit purposes. Permission is given with the Transportation 2000, also recognized the need for local, problem- understanding that none of the material will be used to imply TRB, AASHTO, APTA, FAA, FHWA, FTA, GHSA, or NHTSA endorsement of a particular product, method, or practice. solving research. TCRP, modeled after the successful National Coop- It is expected that those reproducing the material in this document for educational and erative Highway Research Program (NCHRP), undertakes research not-for-profit uses will give appropriate acknowledgment of the source of any reprinted or and other technical activities in response to the needs of transit ser- reproduced material. For other uses of the material, request permission from CRP. vice providers. The scope of TCRP includes various transit research fields including planning, service configuration, equipment, facilities, Cover photo credit: Nelson\Nygaard operations, human resources, maintenance, policy, and administrative practices. TCRP was established under FTA sponsorship in July 1992. Pro- NOTICE posed by the U.S. Department of Transportation, TCRP was authorized The research report was reviewed by the technical panel and accepted for publication as part of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 according to procedures established and overseen by the Transportation Research Board (ISTEA). On May 13, 1992, a memorandum agreement outlining TCRP and approved by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. operating procedures was executed by the three cooperating organi- The opinions and conclusions expressed or implied in this report are those of the zations: FTA; the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and researchers who performed the research and are not necessarily those of the Transporta- Medicine, acting through the Transportation Research Board (TRB); tion Research Board; the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; or and APTA. APTA is responsible for forming the independent govern- the program sponsors. ing board, designated as the TCRP Oversight and Project Selection The Transportation Research Board does not develop, issue, or publish standards or speci- (TOPS) Commission. fications. The Transportation Research Board manages applied research projects which Research problem statements for TCRP are solicited periodically but provide the scientific foundation that may be used by Transportation Research Board sponsors, industry associations, or other organizations as the basis for revised practices, may be submitted to TRB by anyone at any time. It is the responsibility procedures, or specifications. of the TOPS Commission to formulate the research program by identi- The Transportation Research Board; the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and fying the highest priority projects. As part of the evaluation, the TOPS Medicine; and the sponsors of the Transit Cooperative Research Program do not endorse Commission defines funding levels and expected products. products or manufacturers. Trade or manufacturersâ names or logos appear herein solely Once selected, each project is assigned to an expert panel appointed because they are considered essential to the object of the report. by TRB. The panels prepare project statements (requests for propos- als), select contractors, and provide technical guidance and counsel throughout the life of the project. The process for developing research problem statements and selecting research agencies has been used by TRB in managing cooperative research programs since 1962. As in other TRB activities, TCRP project panels serve voluntarily without compensation. Because research cannot have the desired effect if products fail to reach the intended audience, special emphasis is placed on disseminat- ing TCRP results to the intended users of the research: transit agen- cies, service providers, and suppliers. TRB provides a series of research reports, syntheses of transit practice, and other supporting material developed by TCRP research. APTA will arrange for workshops, train- Published research reports of the ing aids, field visits, and other activities to ensure that results are imple- TRANSIT COOPERATIVE RESEARCH PROGRAM mented by urban and rural transit industry practitioners. are available from TCRP provides a forum where transit agencies can cooperatively address common operational problems. TCRP results support and Transportation Research Board Business Office complement other ongoing transit research and training programs. 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001 and can be ordered through the Internet by going to https://www.mytrb.org/MyTRB/Store/default.aspx Printed in the United States of America
The National Academy of Sciences was established in 1863 by an Act of Congress, signed by President Lincoln, as a private, non- governmental institution to advise the nation on issues related to science and technology. Members are elected by their peers for outstanding contributions to research. Dr. Marcia McNutt is president. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences to bring the practices of engineering to advising the nation. Members are elected by their peers for extraordinary contributions to engineering. Dr. John L. Anderson is president. The National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) was established in 1970 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences to advise the nation on medical and health issues. Members are elected by their peers for distinguished contributions to medicine and health. Dr. Victor J. Dzau is president. The three Academies work together as the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation and conduct other activities to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions. The National Academies also encourage education and research, recognize outstanding contributions to knowledge, and increase public understanding in matters of science, engineering, and medicine. Learn more about the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine at www.nationalacademies.org. The Transportation Research Board is one of seven major programs of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The mission of the Transportation Research Board is to provide leadership in transportation improvements and innovation through trusted, timely, impartial, and evidence-based information exchange, research, and advice regarding all modes of transportation. The Boardâs varied activities annually engage about 8,000 engineers, scientists, and other transportation researchers and practitioners from the public and private sectors and academia, all of whom contribute their expertise in the public interest. The program is supported by state transportation departments, federal agencies including the component administrations of the U.S. Department of Transportation, and other organizations and individuals interested in the development of transportation. Learn more about the Transportation Research Board at www.TRB.org.
COOPERATIVE RESEARCH PROGRAMS CRP STAFF FOR TCRP RESEARCH REPORT 237 Christopher J. Hedges, Director, Cooperative Research Programs Waseem Dekelbab, Deputy Director, Cooperative Research Programs Gwen Chisholm Smith, Manager, Transit Cooperative Research Program Dianne S. Schwager, Senior Program Officer Dajaih Bias-Johnson, Senior Program Assistant Natalie Barnes, Director of Publications Heather DiAngelis, Associate Director of Publications Ellen M. Chafee, Senior Editor TCRP PROJECT J-11/TASK 39 PANEL Field of Special Projects Joana M. Conklin, Montgomery County Department of Transportation, Rockville, MD (Chair) Walter E. Allen, Acumen Building Enterprise, Inc., Oakland, CA Jeff Bernstein, InfraTrends, LLC, Teaneck, NJ Julie Karen Fernandez, Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, Houston, TX Andrea Hamre, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT Xavier Joshua Harmony, Northern Virginia Transportation Commission, Woodbridge, VA Djuana Harvell, Stapleton Foundation for Sustainable Urban Communities, Denver, CO Rich J. Lee, King County (WA) Metro Transit, Seattle, WA Doreen Morrissey, California Department of Transportation (CALTRANS), Sacramento, CA Jitender S. Ramchandani, Commonwealth of Virginia, Henrico, VA Judis Santos, Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), San Francisco, CA Jeremy Furrer, FTA Liaison Terence Plaskon, FTA Liaison Matthew Dickens, APTA Liaison AUTHOR ACKNOWLEDGMENTS The authors would like to thank the many transit agencies that provided information about their programs, as well as the individuals and organizations who agreed to participate in interviews for this research: â¢ David Bragdon, TransitCenter â¢ Wyatt Gordon, Virginia Conservation Network â¢ Reginald Johnson, Willowbrook Inclusion Network â¢ Kate Lowe, University of Illinois at Chicago â¢ Grace Perdomo, Transit Alliance Miami â¢ Oboi Olantuji Reed, Equiticity â¢ Laura Saltzman, Access Living â¢ Audrey Wennink, Metropolitan Planning Council
FOREWORD By Dianne S. Schwager Staff Officer Transportation Research Board This report presents a framework to evaluate the potential benefits, costs, and trade-offs of implementing fare-free transit. The framework will be of immediate use to public transit prac- titioners and community partners, including staff from related organizations (e.g., municipal departments, metropolitan planning organizations, or neighboring transit agencies). Because public transportation benefits non-riders and enhances community development, its funding has long relied on a wide range of local sources, typically inclusive of sales, gas, and property taxes. During the past decade, and in particular during the COVID-19 pandemic, many communities have considered eliminating fare payments, in whole or in part, to engender broader societal benefits. Communities are exploring the merits of providing public transit without charging fares and identifying strategies for replacing passenger fare revenues. The economic, social, and environmental costs and benefits of fare-free public transit are being weighed against the costs and benefits of current fare payment systems and the available capacity for increased ridership. Under TCRP Project J-11/Task 39, âEvaluation Framework for Fare-free Public Transporta- tion,â Nelson\Nygaard was asked to develop a framework to evaluate fare-free public trans- portation. The framework addresses the benefits, costs, and trade-offs that must be considered by public transit providers, policy-makers, and other stakeholders as they consider eliminating fares, in whole or in part, for public transit. There are two primary time periods in which fare-free transit can be evaluated: before and after implementation. This report focuses on the first of the two time periods: feasibility evalu- ation. TCRP Research Report 237: Fare-Free Transit Evaluation Framework provides practical guidance for public transit agencies and a 10-step evaluation framework. The steps are grouped into three phases: â¢ Get organized. Set the context, assess existing conditions, review peer transit agencies, identify opportunities and challenges. â¢ Make a plan. Set evaluation goals and objectives, determine performance measures, estab- lish selection criteria, and select fare-free transit alternatives. â¢ Evaluate. Estimate impacts and select preferred alternative. The research approach for this project included a literature review, industry survey, inter- views with transit agencies and stakeholders, and 23 case studies. This timely report provides examples of public transit agencies throughout the United States that have evaluated fare-free transit to demonstrate how the framework works in practice and identifies opportunities to engage relevant stakeholders and the public in the process. The report is accompanied by an infographic that can be found on the National Academies Press website (nap.nationalacademies.org) by searching on TCRP Research Report 237: Fare- Free Transit Evaluation Framework.
CONTENTS 1 Summary 5 Chapter 1 Introduction 5 What Is Fare-Free Transit? 6 Why Do Most Transit Agencies Collect Fares? 6 Why Are Some Transit Agencies Looking at Fare-Free Transit? 8 How Can Transit Agencies Evaluate Whether Fare-Free Transit Is Right for Their Community? 8 What Is an Evaluation Framework? 10 Chapter 2 Using the Fare-Free Transit Evaluation Framework 12 Get Organized 22 Make a Plan 29 Evaluate 33 Implement and Monitor Program 34 Chapter 3 Fare-Free Transit Evaluation in Practice 34 What Research Has Been Conducted on Fare-Free Transit Evaluation? 34 What Is the Basis of the Evaluation Framework Developed in This Research? 36 What Is the State of the Practice? 46 Fare-Free Transit Evaluations 50 Chapter 4 Transit Agency Case Studies 50 Purpose of Case Studies 50 Transit Agency Categorization 53 Full Fare-Free Transit Agencies 65 Partial Fare-Free Transit Agencies 77 Not Fare-Free Transit Agencies 81 Chapter 5 Opportunities for Future Research 81 Impacts of Fare-Free Transit 81 Funding for Fare-Free Transit 82 Fare Collection Cost and Revenue Reporting 83 Appendix A Transit Agency Survey Methodology and Findings 98 Appendix B Transit Agency Survey Instruments 118 Appendix C Community Representative Interview Methodology and Findings 121 References