National Academies Press: OpenBook
Page i
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Provision of Alternative Services by Transit Agencies: The Intersection of Regulation and Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26860.
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TRANSIT COOPERATIVE RESEARCH PROGRAM


TCRP RESEARCH REPORT 239


Provision of Alternative Services by Transit Agencies

THE INTERSECTION OF REGULATION AND PROGRAM

Elizabeth “Buffy” Ellis
Sarah Lasky
Ridhima Mehrotra
KFH GROUP, INC.

Bethesda, MD

IN ASSOCIATION WITH

Will Rodman
Todd Hansen
TEXAS A&M TRANSPORTATION INSTITUTE

Dallas and Houston, TX

Subject Areas
Public Transportation • Operations and Traffic Management • Passenger Transportation


Research sponsored by the Federal Transit Administration in cooperation with the American Public Transportation Association


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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Provision of Alternative Services by Transit Agencies: The Intersection of Regulation and Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26860.
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TRANSIT COOPERATIVE RESEARCH PROGRAM

The nation’s growth and the need to meet mobility, environmental, and energy objectives place demands on public transit systems. Current systems, some of which are old and in need of upgrading, must expand service area, increase service frequency, and improve efficiency to serve these demands. Research is necessary to solve operating problems, adapt appropriate new technologies from other industries, and introduce innovations into the transit industry. The Transit Cooperative 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.

The need for TCRP was originally identified in TRB Special Report 213—Research for Public Transit: New Directions, published in 1987 and based on a study sponsored by the Urban Mass Transportation Administration—now the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). A report by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), Transportation 2000, also recognized the need for local, problem-solving research. TCRP, modeled after the successful National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP), undertakes research and other technical activities in response to the needs of transit service providers. The scope of TCRP includes various transit research fields including planning, service configuration, equipment, facilities, operations, human resources, maintenance, policy, and administrative practices.

TCRP was established under FTA sponsorship in July 1992. Proposed by the U.S. Department of Transportation, TCRP was authorized as part of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA). On May 13, 1992, a memorandum agreement outlining TCRP operating procedures was executed by the three cooperating organizations: FTA; the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, acting through the Transportation Research Board (TRB); and APTA. APTA is responsible for forming the independent governing board, designated as the TCRP Oversight and Project Selection (TOPS) Commission.

Research problem statements for TCRP are solicited periodically but may be submitted to TRB by anyone at any time. It is the responsibility of the TOPS Commission to formulate the research program by identifying the highest priority projects. As part of the evaluation, the TOPS Commission defines funding levels and expected products.

Once selected, each project is assigned to an expert panel appointed by TRB. The panels prepare project statements (requests for proposals), 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 disseminating TCRP results to the intended users of the research: transit agencies, 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, training aids, field visits, and other activities to ensure that results are implemented by urban and rural transit industry practitioners.

TCRP provides a forum where transit agencies can cooperatively address common operational problems. TCRP results support and complement other ongoing transit research and training programs.

TCRP RESEARCH REPORT 239

Project B-48
ISSN 2572-3782
ISBN 978-0-309-69854-2

© 2023 by the National Academy of Sciences. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and the graphical logo are trademarks of the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

COPYRIGHT INFORMATION

Authors herein are responsible for the authenticity of their materials and for obtaining written permissions from publishers or persons who own the copyright to any previously published or copyrighted material used herein.

Cooperative Research Programs (CRP) grants permission to reproduce material in this publication for classroom and not-for-profit purposes. Permission is given with the 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. It is expected that those reproducing the material in this document for educational and not-for-profit uses will give appropriate acknowledgment of the source of any reprinted or reproduced material. For other uses of the material, request permission from CRP.

NOTICE

The research report was reviewed by the technical panel and accepted for publication according to procedures established and overseen by the Transportation Research Board and approved by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

The opinions and conclusions expressed or implied in this report are those of the researchers who performed the research and are not necessarily those of the Transportation Research Board; the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; or the program sponsors.

The Transportation Research Board does not develop, issue, or publish standards or specifications. The Transportation Research Board manages applied research projects which provide the scientific foundation that may be used by Transportation Research Board sponsors, industry associations, or other organizations as the basis for revised practices, procedures, or specifications.

The Transportation Research Board; the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; and the sponsors of the Transit Cooperative Research Program do not endorse products or manufacturers. Trade or manufacturers’ names or logos appear herein solely because they are considered essential to the object of the report.

Published research reports of the

TRANSIT COOPERATIVE RESEARCH PROGRAM

are available from

Transportation Research Board
Business Office
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

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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Provision of Alternative Services by Transit Agencies: The Intersection of Regulation and Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26860.
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The National Academy of Sciences was established in 1863 by an Act of Congress, signed by President Lincoln, as a private, nongovernmental 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 Board’s 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.

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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Provision of Alternative Services by Transit Agencies: The Intersection of Regulation and Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26860.
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COOPERATIVE RESEARCH PROGRAMS

CRP STAFF FOR TCRP RESEARCH REPORT 239

Christopher J. Hedges, Director, Cooperative Research Programs

Waseem Dekelbab, Deputy Director, Cooperative Research Programs

Gwen Chisholm Smith, Manager, Transit Cooperative Research Program

Mariela Garcia-Colberg, Senior Program Officer

Emily Griswold, Program Coordinator

Natalie Barnes, Director of Publications

Heather DiAngelis, Associate Director of Publications

Claire Aelion-Moss, Editor

TCRP PROJECT B-48 PANEL

Field of Service Configuration

Jameson Auten, Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (formerly), Kansas City, MO (Chair)

Timothy Barham, GRTC Transit System, Richmond, VA

Ron L. Brooks II, Accessible Avenue, LLC, Phoenix, AZ

Bonnie Epstein, Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority, Saint Petersburg, FL

Jon Gaffney, Golden Gate Transit, San Rafael, CA

Tammy Haenftling, Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART), Dallas, TX

Carol L. Ketcherside, Valley Metro, Phoenix, AZ

Bonnie Graves, FTA Liaison

Thomas Scotton, FTA Liaison

AUTHOR ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

The research for this report was performed by the KFH Group, Inc., in association with Texas Transportation Institute (TTI). Elizabeth “Buffy” Ellis was the principal investigator and a primary author of the guide, and Will Rodman was the deputy principal investigator and also a key author. Sarah Lasky managed administration and reporting of the project’s survey. Ridhima Mehrotra provided graphic support. Todd Hansen developed the data tool in Chapter 6.

The authors acknowledge and give many thanks to the public transit agencies that responded to the survey and in particular to the five transit agencies that shared their experiences and lessons learned as case studies.

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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Provision of Alternative Services by Transit Agencies: The Intersection of Regulation and Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26860.
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FOREWORD

By Mariela Garcia-Colberg

Staff Officer

Transportation Research Board

TCRP Research Report 239: Provision of Alternative Services by Transit Agencies: The Intersection of Regulation and Program describes how taxis, ridesourcing services, and other nondedicated service providers are being used by transit agencies to provide alternative services for individuals with disabilities. The guide and estimation tool will give transit agencies implementation strategies and will be of immediate use to agencies as they deploy or refine their alternative service programs.


Successful alternative services that provide on-demand service have long been favored by many individuals with disabilities. Transit agencies have instituted such services in part because of the opportunities to reduce overall paratransit costs. If the savings from individuals with disabilities using a lower-subsidy alternative service for trip(s) instead of the ADA paratransit service are greater than the additional subsidies the transit agency pays for new travel demand on the alternative service(s), then the transit agency can reduce costs. However, this was a challenge to prove as there was not much data about how transit agencies were calculating the savings.

The goal of this research was to understand how transit agencies use taxis, ridesourcing services, and other nondedicated service providers to provide alternative services to individuals with disabilities. The research had six key objectives: (1) to analyze the interpretation and application of pertinent federal regulations, statutes, and guidelines; (2) to review the mobility benefits and challenges of alternative services for the riders; (3) to examine the impacts these services have on customer travel patterns; (4) to understand the costs of both on-demand and traditional paratransit services to the transit agencies and the riders; (5) to report on what data transit agencies collect from providers and the uses for these data; and (6) to document best-practice design models for alternative services that have resulted in transit agencies achieving their goals, namely service equivalency and cost reduction, while increasing mobility.

Under TCRP Project B-48, the research team conducted research activities to produce a guide and Excel tool. The guide is organized into three parts: Part 1 discusses planning, implementing, and evaluating an alternative service; Part 2 documents and synthesizes the findings of the research project; and Part 3 contains the appendices with the full case studies conducted for the project, sample materials for planning and deploying an alternative service, and the full survey results.

Appendix B, the Excel estimation tool, a workshop curriculum, and the Implementation of Research Findings and Products can be found on the National Academies Press website (nap.nationalacademies.org) by searching for TCRP Research Report 239: Provision of Alternative Services by Transit Agencies: The Intersection of Regulation and Program.

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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Provision of Alternative Services by Transit Agencies: The Intersection of Regulation and Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26860.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Provision of Alternative Services by Transit Agencies: The Intersection of Regulation and Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26860.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Provision of Alternative Services by Transit Agencies: The Intersection of Regulation and Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26860.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Provision of Alternative Services by Transit Agencies: The Intersection of Regulation and Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26860.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Provision of Alternative Services by Transit Agencies: The Intersection of Regulation and Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26860.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Provision of Alternative Services by Transit Agencies: The Intersection of Regulation and Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26860.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Provision of Alternative Services by Transit Agencies: The Intersection of Regulation and Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26860.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Provision of Alternative Services by Transit Agencies: The Intersection of Regulation and Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26860.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Provision of Alternative Services by Transit Agencies: The Intersection of Regulation and Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26860.
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Transit agencies are increasingly offering an alternative service for their Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) paratransit riders. This service is typically an on-demand or same-day transportation option subsidized by a transit agency and is an alternative to the next-day service of ADA paratransit.

The TRB Transit Cooperative Research Program's TCRP Research Report 239: Provision of Alternative Services by Transit Agencies: The Intersection of Regulation and Program details how alternative services provide at least some cost savings and also meet more spontaneous travel needs of ADA paratransit riders based on cost per subsidized trip versus cost per ADA paratransit trip. The report also identifies and documents legal and regulatory matters that transit agencies should address for their alternative services.

Supplemental to the report are an Alternative Services Estimation Tool, Appendix B: Sample Materials for Planning and Deploying an Alternative Service, a Workshop Curriculum, and Implementation of Research Findings and Products.

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