INCEPTION TO PRESENT
TCRP Users’ Survey: In 1999, TCRP conducted its first user survey to obtain feedback on the program from individuals that have requested TCRP materials. Over 2,800 individuals were contacted by telephone and direct mail, with a 17% response rate. Fifty-four percent of respondents stated that they have used TCRP products in their organizations, and 78% stated that they will probably use TCRP products in the future. Two-thirds of those who requested TCRP products worked for public transit agencies. The survey also revealed that 83% of respondents have internet access in the organization, but only one-third of those have the internet available at their desk. Thirty-three percent of respondents preferred electronic delivery of TCRP products. This first survey indicated positive user response to the program.
A second TCRP survey was completed in late 2002. This survey obtained information on program awareness and benefit. The survey overwhelmingly indicated that the TCRP was considered valuable to the transit industry, with roughly 85% of respondents strongly or somewhat agreeing with the statement “ The TCRP program is valuable to the industry.” Respondents indicated that they have saved a total of $12,845,000 as a result of the use of TCRP products. Extrapolated to the full survey sample (approximately 20% of respondents answered this particular question of the survey), this translates to $64,225,000. Additional extrapolation to the full transit industry would increase these savings further. The survey also asked an open-ended question on the use of TCRP products. Some of the comments received are provided below.
- “...A-16 interim report is used as a reference of the current project bus signal priority project.”
- “We keep a library of TCRP literature and use it as reference tools.”
- “A lot of it is used in developing policy papers for our regional transportation plan.”
- “Used to supplement training.”
- “Training aids for professional staff members. Source material for white paper presentations to board members.”
- “TCRP-19, Bus Stop Locations are used on a daily basis...as are many reports and research.”
- “TCRP Report 58 - used it to help focus our management approach to system planning in a more business-oriented environment.”
- “TCRP A-15 was used to analyze our service. TCRP 19 was used to help establish bus stop standards. Other research has been used for policy discussions.”
- “To increase efficiency and effectiveness.”
- “TCRP offers many products that aid the small urban and rural transit manager in the performance of his/her job. We have made extensive use of Reports #6, 24, 47, 54, 64.”
- “Legal analysis in reference to van pools, 13(c) and right-of-way acquisition.”
- “Because I am a transportation planner, I use reports consistently to back up decision-making and in analyzing alternatives.”
During 2005, a survey was conducted at APTA technical conferences and annual meeting to obtain additional information on the usage of TCRP products. More information will be provided as the results of this survey are compiled.
During this survey, one respondent indicated that TCRP reports are used extensively to support agency decision-making, as curricula in training classes, and for personal development. The respondent indicated that the use of TCRP publications reduces resources needed to conduct background work on issues, providing a good baseline that allows the staff to focus resources on the unique and specific needs of the agency. It was noted that the agency has easily saved several hundred thousand dollars, as well as staff time due to the availability of TCRP publications. Specific TCRP products cited included the use of Reports 85 and 104 (transit boards) for board member orientation; TCRP new paradigms material—Reports 53, 58, and 97—for use in agency strategic planning (agency savings estimated at $100,000); and Report 88 (performance measures) for use in agency strategic planning and annual business planning (estimated agency savings of $50,000).
Transit Capacity and Quality of Service Manual: TCRP Project A-15, produced a First Edition, Transit Capacity and Quality of Service Manual, that was initially available as a CD-ROM and on the TRB website as TCRP Web Document 6. In late 2003, TCRP Report 100, Transit Capacity and Quality of Service Manual: Second Edition was issued, updating and adding to the material provided in the first edition. Report 100 is a fundamental reference document for public transportation practitioners that contains quantitative techniques for calculating the capacity of bus, rail, and ferry services, and transit stops, stations, and terminals. It also provides a framework for measuring transit availability and quality from the passenger point of view. TRB has established a Task Force on Transit Capacity and Quality of Service that will manage the transit manual much as a TRB standing committee has long overseen revisions and expansions of the Highway Capacity Manual. The University of Arizona, University of Idaho, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Portland State University, and the Queensland University of Technology all report incorporating the manual into transportation education programs. In addition, all Metropolitan Planning Organizations in Florida, at the request of the Florida Department of Transportation, are assessing their transit systems using the quality of service concepts outlined in the manual. Transit agencies in Atlanta, Birmingham, Broward County (FL), DuPage County (IL), San Antonio, New Orleans, Seattle, Washington (DC), San Francisco, MTA New York City Transit, Adelaide (Australia), and Dublin (Ireland) also report using the manual for transit planning processes and quality of service evaluations. AC Transit in Oakland reports that its Board of Directors is currently reviewing the quality of their services as they relate to the quality of service parameters in TCRP Report 100.The National Transit Institute offers a course on the material in the manual.
The Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) reports that it is using material from TCRP Report 100 in a new textbook they are developing, titled Professional Transportation Planner (PTP) Certification Program Refresher Course Handbook.
LACMTA indicated that they have incorporated material from Report 100 into their “Transit Service Performance Standards”.
The Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute at North Dakota State University indicated that they are incorporating material from TCRP Report 165, Transit Capacity and Quality of Service Manual, Third Edition in the development of a “Public Transportation II” course that will be offered starting in the Spring 2015.
Transit Vehicles and Maintenance: TCRP Report 29, Closing the Knowledge Gap for Transit Maintenance Employees: a Systems Approach, addresses the maintenance skill supply, the skill needs and effective training methods. It is very popular with maintenance personnel, because it is “down to earth” and squarely addresses the technology, diagnostic, and skill development issues mechanics are facing. The Transit Authority of River City in Louisville, Kentucky, has given copies to all of its maintenance personnel, and uses the report as a basis for staff meetings and maintenance services delivery. Pierce Transit in Tacoma, Washington, also used the report as part of their maintenance team concept. It provides ideas for skills utilization and performance measurement that are being incorporated, with union support, into skills-based career ladders. The National Transit Institute selected Report 29 for a very successful teleconference seminar that featured prominent maintenance managers in a call–in radio format.
TCRP Report 43, Understanding and Applying Advanced On-Board Bus Electronics, is being used by Pierce Transit in Tacoma, Washington, and other transit agencies to give staff a better understanding of multiplex wiring and intelligent fleet systems. A comment received on the APTA TCRP website states,” this is a great report; a terrific help to understanding what is going on, written at the level of the intelligent layman/engineer.” This report has become a basic primer for bus on-board electronics.
Pierce Transit also reports that TCRP Report 25, Bus Operator Workstation Evaluation and Design Guidelines, was used to change the specifications for new coaches. Specifically, they ordered smaller steering wheels and air-ride seats to reduce driver fatigue. Also, a major North American bus manufacturer advertises that its new driver workstation “is ergonomically designed to meet TCRP recommendations,” indicating that Report 25 and its comprehensive companion, Web Document 1, were used in the redesign of the bus.
TCRP Synthesis 2, “Low-Floor Transit Buses,” described the technology and issues associated with low-floor transit buses as of January 1994. TCRP Report 41 updates information on the current market for low-floor buses, and provides a summary of operating experiences on the basis of discussions with transit agencies and low-floor bus manufacturers. Many transit systems have used this material in their evaluations of low-floor vehicles for bus purchasing decisions.
TCRP Project C-9, Paratransit Vehicle Specifications and Related Special Maintenance Requirements, produced software that prepares specifications for paratransit vehicles based on an interactive process with the user. The CD-ROM based software provides information on the various options available for each system on the vehicle, and based on decisions made by the user, develops specific specification language. At the conclusion of the specification-development process, a complete technical specification is provided for use in procurement documents. This software, called ParaSPEC—The Paratransit Vehicle Specification Generator, develops specifications for a variety of paratransit vehicles, ranging from vans to small buses less than 30-feet in length.
TCRP Projects C-12, Configuration Options Supplement to Standard Purchase Specifications for Transit Buses, and C-13, 30-Foot, Heavy Duty Bus Technical Specifications developed standard bus specifications for different types of heavy-duty transit buses using an industry consensus process administered by the American Public Transportation Administration (APTA). Specifications were prepared for the following buses: (1) 35/40-foot, heavy-duty, diesel, low-floor; (2) 35/40-foot, heavy-duty, compressed natural gas, low-floor; and (3) 30-foot, heavy-duty, diesel, low-floor. In addition, generic specifications for the bus operator workstation and on-board bus electronics have been completed, and incorporated in the bus specifications described above. These specifications are available through APTA. Many transit systems are incorporating the standard specifications in their bus procurement processes.
TCRP Report 59, Hybrid-Electric Transit Buses: Status, Issues, and Benefits provides an up-to-date description of emerging hybrid-electric drive technology for transit buses in the United States. The technology and its status, benefits, life-cycle costs, and deployment issues are discussed. This report has been useful for transit agencies considering the procurement of buses using this new technology.
TCRP Report 61, Analyzing the Costs of Operating Small Transit Vehicles, provides a User’s Guide that explains an accompanying Small Transit Vehicle Economics (STVe) computer-based model. STVe is a tool designed for transit planners and others making decisions about the purchase of small transit vehicles for different services and operating environments. The STVe is based on the principles of engineering economics and allows the user to assess whether it makes economic sense to invest in a particular type of vehicle, based on user-defined inputs. The User’s Guide describes how to run the model and interpret the results. It also explores non-financial aspects that may influence the vehicle purchasing decision. A number of transit systems have indicated the use of the report and its tool in their bus purchasing decisions.
TCRP Web Document 13, Costs of Meeting Accessibility Requirements for Over-the-Road Buses, provides objective information for deliberations regarding the costs of meeting accessibility requirements in light of federal funding under the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), which assists private operators with the costs of ADA compliance for over-the-road buses. The report provides a range of estimates for capital, training, and maintenance costs—within the broader context of other costs and revenue issues.
LYNX in Orlando, Florida reports that its maintenance training staff has incorporated material from a number of TCRP publications in their training material.
TCRP Project E-6, Transit Bus Mechanics: Building for Success—The ASE Transit Bus Maintenance Certification Test Series, developed Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) tests to certify transit bus mechanics. The tests are similar to those for the automotive, medium- and heavy-duty truck, and school bus industries. The project developed tests in the following areas:
H1: CNG Engines
H2: Diesel Engines
OVERALL (Thru September 2015):
3191 technicians have passed one or more of the ASE Transit Bus tests to date
11,074 ASE Transit Bus tests passed to date
663 technicians have attained ASE Transit Bus Master Technician designation
TCRP Project E-7, Establishing a National Transit Industry Rail Vehicle Technician Certification Program: Building for Success, investigated the feasibility of initiating a rail vehicle technician certification program, and developed the program. The project also developed an apprenticeship program approved by the U.S. Department of Labor. The final report for this project was published as TCRP Report 170.
Miami-Dade Transit reports that it has used material developed during the first year of Project E-7 to assist in their development of an apprenticeship program and to upgrade their employee training.
The Greater Cleveland RTA and ATU Local 268 developed a two-year apprenticeship program using the framework and modules developed in this TCRP project.
Bus Stop Location/Design: TCRP Report 19, Guidelines for the Location and Design of Bus Stops, provides guidelines for locating and designing bus stops in various operating environments. The Central Contra Costa Transit Authority reports that it uses this report to assist them in making recommendations for the location of bus stops to their member jurisdictions.
LACMTA indicates that it relies heavily on Report 19 and has incorporated sections of it into their “Transit Service Policy”. A complete streets manual sponsored by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health also cites material from this report.
The results from joint TCRP/NCHRP Report 112/562, Improving Pedestrian Safety at Unsignalized Crossings, were introduced to, and approved by, the National Committee of the MUTCD. As a result, the next version of the MUTCD will include changes in the area of Pedestrian Beacon and Pedestrian Signal Warrant.
The New York State DOT indicated that it has used TCRP Report 112, Improving Pedestrian Safety at Unsignalized Crossings (co-funded with NCHRP) to determine treatments for unsignalized pedestrian crossings, including those associated with transit bus stops.
Public Transportation Emergency Service Standards: The results of TCRP Web-Only Document 60, Command-Level Decision Making for Transit Emergency Managers, are being used in the development of an international standard for public transportation emergency service under ISO TC 204 WG8.
Standardized Railcar Systems: Transit rail operators could save as much as $120 million as a result of the development of uniform technical standards for rail vehicle systems and subsystems. Through TCRP Project G-4, an Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Rail Transit Vehicle Interface Standards Committee was formed as part of the standards-development process. The Committee formed 15 working groups to prepare standards for specific interfaces. In addition, an American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Committee was formed to develop mechanical standards for railcars. This ASME Committee focused on the structural strength and crashworthiness of light rail and rapid transit cars. The standards, which should lower the cost of transit railcars and replacement parts, reduce parts inventories, and simplify maintenance, evolved through a consensus-building process. The project involved significant in-kind contributions by the transit industry, leveraging the TCRP investment by a ratio of approximately 8 to 1. Under the TCRP project, nine standards were formally published by the IEEE, and a number of others were in various stages of production in 2002, when the process was transitioned to APTA sponsorship. It has been reported that SEPTA used a draft version of astandard outlining communications-based train control (CBTC) performance and functional requirements in its CBTC procurement document for its light rail tunnel. The MTA NYCT has indicated that the standards have helped them finalize technical specifications for the procurement of more than 2,000 new subway cars. In addition, New Jersey Transit reported that it would save approximately $420,000 per year as a result of the use of the IEEE standard for communications protocols aboard trains developed by this effort. To date, the standards have been cited in specifications issued by the Chicago Transit Authority, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, MTA Long Island Railroad, MTA New York City Transit, New Jersey Transit, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority. The Illinois Department of Transportation also cited the standards in their positive train control procurement project.
In December 2010, the IEEE Standards Association awarded an “IEEE-SA Emerging Technology Award” to Working Group #2 for their “leadership in developing universally adopted consensus standards for communications-based train control technology”.
The results from TCRP Web-Only Document 40, Development of Crash Energy Management Performance Requirements for Light-Rail Vehicles, has been used by the American Society of Mechanical Engineering (ASME) Rail Transit Committee to develop light-rail vehicle crashworthiness standards utilizing crash energy management principles.
Rail Infrastructure Research: TCRP Report 57, Track Design Handbook for Light Rail Transit, provides guidelines for the design of various types of light rail transit track. Track structure types include ballasted, direct fixation (“ballastless”), and embedded track. The components of the various track types are discussed in detail. The handbook includes chapters on vehicles, alignment, track structures, track components, special trackwork, aerial structures/bridges, corrosion control, noise and vibration, signals, and traction power. These chapters provide insight into considerations that affect track design and require interface coordination. A consultant reported that he had used the handbook on LRT design projects in Baltimore and Tampa. In addition, the Charlotte Area Transit System reported that it used the report to review the design aspects of its planned light rail system as they were developed by the system’s consultants. The Denver RTD also reported that the handbook was used as the basis for designing its light rail extension. AREMA Committee 12 is currently updating Chapter 12 of the AREMA track standards for transit application. The committee is drawing heavily from TCRP Report 57.
It is reported that TCRP Report 155, Track Design Handbook for Light Rail Transit, Second Edition, was recently used in the design of Metro Line 3 in Monterrey, Mexico.
TCRP Project D-7, Joint Rail-Related Research With the Association of American Railroads/Transportation Technology Center, Inc. (TTCI), uses TCRP funds to supplement and leverage research already being performed at the TTCI to obtain benefit for the transit industry. Ten research topics have been authorized in the project to date, and include topics such as : (1) evaluation of broken rail detection concepts; (2) transit switch design evaluation; (3) field testing of rail welding techniques; and (4) control of wheel/rail friction and noise through the use of rail coatings. The TCRP’s initial $250,000 investment in the project built on approximately $3.8 million in funding for research performed at the TTCI on behalf of the Federal Railroad Administration and freight railroads.
The results from TCRP Synthesis 107, Rail Track Inspection Practices, was the subject of discussion at a recent AREMA Committee 12 meeting for use in their on-going activities. This synthesis is also being used by APTA’s Rail Transit Committee and Noise & Vibration Technical Forum.
Fare Structures, Systems, and Technologies: TCRP Report 80, A Toolkit for Self-Service, Barrier-Free Fare Collection, addresses the full range of issues and parameters that an agency must consider in determining the applicability of self-service fare collection systems, including those related to policy and enforcement issues, operational issues, and capital and equipment issues. The Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) reports that this TCRP publication served as the centerpiece for recommendations associated with establishing regulations to address fare evaders, and other safety/security matters associated with operating the barrier-free fare collection system proposed for their light rail system.
Track Sharing: TCRP Report 52, Joint Operation of Light Rail Transit or Diesel Multiple Unit Vehicles with Railroads, identifies and discusses issues associated with the joint operation of light rail transit (LRT) or lightweight diesel multiple unit (DMU) vehicles with freight and/or passenger railroads. For the purposes of this report, joint operation is defined as co-mingled, simultaneous train operation on shared track by railroad trains (freight and/or passenger) and rail transit vehicles that are not fully compliant with current Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) regulations. The report identifies and discusses issues associated with such joint operation, focusing on the current regulatory and institutional environment, railroad and rail transit operations, infrastructure, and rolling stock. In addition, substantial information concerning joint operation overseas is presented and discussed. This report has been a primary source of information to assist in the debate on the issue of track sharing in the United States.
TCRP Project A-17A, Update of Report 52, Joint Operation of Light Rail Transit or Diesel Multiple Unit Vehicles with Railroads, provides an update of TCRP Report 52 that acknowledges the FRA/FTA “Joint Statement of Agency Policy Concerning Shared Use of the Tracks of the General Railroad System by Conventional Railroads and Light Rail Transit Systems” that was issued in July of 2000.
Given the high level of interest in the issue of track sharing, two additional TCRP efforts were undertaken during 2000. First, TCRP Project J-3, International Transit Studies Program, sponsored a mission to Europe to observe joint operations. Fifteen representatives of the transit industry visited a number of cities, primarily in Germany, to observe and discuss track sharing with their European peers. Second, at the request of the FTA, documentation of an independent technical study tour featuring German shared track was prepared as part of TCRP Project J-6, Quick Response for Special Needs.
Livable Communities: The Florida Department of Transportation produced a CD-ROM to help educate developers, public officials, and consumers to create more livable communities through transit-oriented design and development. Included as resources on the CD-ROM were the following TCRP reports:
- TCRP Report 16: Transit and Urban Form (Volumes I and II) (1995)
- TCRP Report 22: The Role of Transit in Creating Livable Metropolitan Communities (1997)
- TCRP Report 28: Transit Markets of the Future: The Challenge of Change (1998)
- TCRP Report 33: Transit-Friendly Streets: Design and Traffic Management Strategies to Support Livable Communities (1998)
- TCRP Report 39: The Costs of Sprawl—Revisited (1998)
- TCRP Report 51: A Guidebook for Marketing Transit Services to Business (1999)
- TCRP Report 55: Guidelines for Enhancing Suburban Mobility Using Public Transportation (1999)
These documents enhanced the library of materials developed by the Florida Department of Transportation. This represents an additional way in which TCRP publications are being disseminated and used both within and outside the transit industry.
The University of Maryland is using material from TCRP Report 102, Transit Oriented Development in the United States: Experiences, Challenges, and Prospects, and Research Results Digest 52, Transit-Oriented Development and Joint Development in the United States: A Literature Review in a course.
An architectural and planning firm from Chicago is preparing a text book on sustainable urbanism and is using material from TCRP Report 74, Costs of Sprawl-2000.
Public Transportation to Airports: TCRP Report 62, Improving Public Transportation Access to Large Airports, presents available data on the use of public transportation at large U.S. airports and selected international airports, as well as related evolving trends. The report provides examples of successful airport access systems from around the world; presents key factors affecting the use of public transportation by airline passengers and employees; identifies new and emerging technologies that have the potential to improve public transportation services at airports; and describes the institutional environment and factors affecting public transportation at large U.S. airports, including airport structure, funding for airports, and agreements with airlines. This report has been useful to several transit agencies investigating potential rail links to airports in their service areas.
Massachusetts Port Authority (MassPort) indicated that it used Report 62, along with related Report 83, Strategies for Improving Public Transportation Access to Large Airports, to assist in their access planning for Logan International Airport in Boston.
New Paradigms in Public Transportation: TCRP Report 58, New Paradigms for Local Public Transportation Organizations: Opening the Door to Fundamental Change in Public Transportation, provides a set of insights and strategies that can be pursued to initiate fundamental change—or a paradigm shift—in how public transportation services can be designed and delivered, and how public transportation organizations may be managed in the decades to come. The report addresses three basic issues: (1) the reasons that fundamental change is needed in public transportation; (2) the scope and scale of change that might be sought; and (3) the methods by which fundamental change can be most effectively pursued and sustained. A number of transit systems have expressed interest in moving towards the type of organization outlined in the report.
Evaluating Fuel Options for Buses: TCRP Report 38, Guidebook for evaluating, Selecting and Implementing Fuel Choices for Transit Bus Operations (C-8), provides information on the perforrmance, cost, safety, and facility requirements of five transit bus fuels: diesel (baseline for comparison), compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas, methanol, ethanol and liquified petroleum gas. An accompanying cost model spreadsheet, FuelCost 1.0, enables users to estimate and compare the cost impacts of fuel choices. A representative of VIA Transit in San Antonio heard a presentation on the project at a conference and requested a copy of the report and FuelCost 1.0. VIA staff used the software to aid them in selecting an alternative fuel and in justifying the decision to their management and Board of Directors.
TCRP Report 132, Assessment of Hybrid-Electric Transit Bus Technology, provides decision-making guidelines coupled with a comprehensive life cycle cost model (LCC) to assist transit managers in evaluating, selecting, and implementing hybrid-electric technology options for transit buses. The Texas Transportation Institute reports that it used Report 132 and it’s LCC to provide technical assistance to Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Capital Metro) and the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO). The technical assistance evaluated and compared life cycle costs of owning and operating diesel, hybrid, and CNG buses. For these two systems, the analysis indicated a life cycle advantage to operating a CNG fleet versus diesel or hybrid.
Welfare to Work: TCRP Report 60, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for Welfare to Work Transportation Planning and Service Delivery, provides a handbook that facilitates the use of GIS as a tool for planning or providing transportation services in response to welfare reform. The handbook includes guidance on how agencies can either implement GIS or enhance their current GIS applications for this purpose. Accompanying the handbook is a CD-ROM providing case study descriptions and color illustrations of GIS applications for transit planning and welfare to work purposes. The material on the CD-ROM can also be found on the TCRP website as Web Document 14.
TCRP Report 64, Welfare to Work: Integration and Coordination of Transportation and Social Services, examines the role of public transportation in supporting welfare to work initiatives and identifies practical strategies to improve access to job opportunities for former welfare recipients making the transition to work. The report identifies traditional and innovative approaches to welfare-related transportation, including modifications to existing public transportation services, better coordination and integration of available transportation services, ride-sharing programs, automobile ownership programs, and subsidies for transportation costs. Of particular interest are new collaborations between social service and transportation providers, involvement of faith-based and community-based organizations, and creative use of public and private funding sources to support improvements in mobility.
Non-Emergency Medical Transportation: The Vermont Public Transportation Association reports that TCRP Research Results Digest 75, Executive Summary: Cost Benefit Analysis of Providing Non-Emergency Medical Transportation, was cited by a director of an Area Agency on Aging in testimony before the Vermont House Transportation Committee. At the committee’s request, a copy of the digest was provided to them, and legislators are now reviewing the potential to establish a separate fund (i.e., new money) to cover dialysis and chemotherapy trips statewide.
Rural Transit: TCRP Report 54, Management Toolkit for Rural and Small Urban Transportation Systems, identifies an array of management principles and techniques, for use by small urban and rural public transportation providers, to assist in managing their transportation services more effectively. The toolkit has two parts: a guidebook and a self-assessment tool. The guidebook introduces the idea of customer-driven transit service attributes and includes general management philosophies. Included in the guidebook are exemplary practices and “how to” instructions for some topics. Additional sections describing “rules of thumb” or “things to avoid” are included for some management processes. A self-assessment computer-based tool on disk accompanies the report. The tool is designed to give the user a baseline or current picture of the status of the transit system. The West Virginia Division of Public Transit distributed copies of this report to all of the rural operators in the state and also brought in the consultant who produced the report to give a training session. The Division of Public Transit indicates that the report, and its accompanying tool, have been very useful to the rural operators in West Virginia.
TCRP Report 56, Integrating School Bus and Public Transportation Services in Non-Urban Communities, identifies and discusses issues associated with the coordination or integration of school bus and public transportation services in non-urban areas. The report also provides 13 case studies of communities that have successfully coordinated or integrated some aspect of school and public transportation services. An implementation guide is provided that suggests “next steps” for non-urban communities seeking to give serious consideration to such coordination or integration.
TCRP Report 70, Change and Innovation at Rural and Small Urban Transit Systems, addresses the culture for change and innovation, and presents more than 40 initiatives and innovations implemented by an array of organizations including public and nonprofit transit systems, regional planning agencies, state transit associations, and state departments of transportation. The Southeast Missouri Transportation Service reports that the report “…has been a valuable resource in improving our service.” They have used the report to “….define our corporate culture, and focus on our values, attitudes and beliefs for the process of change.” Also, “…this report has challenged us to be the best we can be and view challenges as opportunities for new ways of doing things.”
The Utah Department of Transportation reports that it used material from TCRP Report 101, Toolkit for Rural Community Coordinated Transportation Services, in the development of the Utah Coordinated Human-Service Public Transportation Plan.
Bus Rapid Transit: TCRP Report 90, Bus Rapid Transit, a 2-volume set, identifies the potential range of bus rapid transit applications through 26 case studies, and provides planning and implementation guidelines for bus rapid transit. The Charlotte Area Transit System reports that they found the case studies in Report 90, Volume 1 very helpful as they were preparing information on bus rapid transit to share with their board. The Fairfax County (Virginia) Department of Transportation reports that it has used Report 90 extensively in the planning for a BRT system in the Richmond Highway corridor of the county.
TCRP Report 118, Bus Rapid Transit Practitioner’s Guide, provides information on the costs, impacts, and effectiveness of implementing selected bus rapid transit (BRT) components. It includes practical information that can be readily used by transit professionals and policy makers in planning and decision making related to implementing different components of BRT systems. This report updates some of the information presented in TCRP Report 90: Bus Rapid Transit and presents the latest developments and research results related to the costs and impacts of implementing various BRT components and their effectiveness. The California Department of Transportation (CALTRANS) indicated that they use TCRP Report 118 as the basis for a course for CALTRANS personnel, particularly highway/traffic engineers.
Purdue University notes that the material in Report 118 is used in a course covering bus rapid transit.
LACMTA indicates that Report 118 “is the best and probably only truly useful guide on doing BRT and bus lane planning”. They indicate that they have used it extensively for LACMTA BRT.
Transit Operator Fatigue: TCRP Report 81, Toolkit for Transit Operator Fatigue, documents principles, techniques, and strategies that can be used in the development of fatigue-mitigation plans. The Toolbox includes a “how to” component on the design, implementation, and evaluation of fatigue-mitigation plans. An accompanying CD-ROM provides specific tools, such as posters for operator rooms, that address fatigue issues. The National Transit Institute (NTI) prepared a one-day course on the report, and offered it at eight locations throughout the country in the first half of 2003. The Santa Clara Valley Regional Transportation Authority (VTA) in San Jose, California reports that it has implemented many of the tools in the report that were taught at the NTI training classes.
Greater Cleveland RTA reports that it is using TCRP Report 81 as the “cornerstone” for their newly developed Fatigue Awareness Training Program
Transit Operator Safety: TCRP Synthesis 93, Practices to Protect Bus Operators from Passenger Assault, documents practices used to improve bus-operator safety. WMATA reports that information from this synthesis was used in a report to the WMATA Board of Directors on this subject.
The Image of Transit: TCRP Report 63, Enhancing the Image and Visibility of Transit in the United States and Canada, assists professionals at the local, regional, and national levels interested in improving the visibility and image of transit in the United States and Canada through the implementation of image campaigns. The report documents and presents how the image of transit can be strengthened by building on existing positive perceptions. The research provides a communications strategy to guide national, regional, and local efforts to enhance the image and visibility of transit in order to create a more positive and supportive environment. The results of this effort are being used in APTA’s Public Transportation Partnership for Tomorrow (PT)2 program. It has also been reported that the results were used in the development of marketing campaigns in Arizona and Pennsylvania. Funding assistance for the Canadian element of the research was provided, in part, by Transport Canada through the Canadian Urban Transit Association.
Professional Capacity Building: Universities and state departments of transportation have requested TCRP materials, and sometimes the author, in support of training courses. The New York State Department of Transportation requested copies of TCRP Synthesis 22, Monitoring of Bus Maintenance Performance, for use in state-level training. The Pennsylvania Transportation Institute used copies of Measuring Customer Satisfaction and Service Quality: A Handbook for the Transit Industry in a course on customer service. The tools from that report were utilized in Pennsylvania. Minnesota DOT reported that Synthesis 30, ADA Paratransit Eligibility Practices, was beneficial to the DOT staff and was frequently requested by transit agencies in Minnesota. The author of TCRP Synthesis 8, Retrofit of Buses to Meet Clean Air Regulations, conducted six workshops on the subject at the request of agencies striving to comply with the complex regulations. He also conducted workshops for Florida DOT based on Synthesis 12, Transit Bus Service Line Cleaning Functions.
The Civil Engineering Department at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas developed a graduate course in transportation using TCRP Reports 16, 27, 30, 33, 35, 36, and the CD-ROM on Transit Capacity and Quality of Service as source materials.
Rutgers University is using TCRP Report 30, Transit Scheduling: Basic and Advanced Manuals, and TCRP Report 100, Transit Capacity and Quality of Service Manual: Second Edition in a course entitled Transit Management and Planning. The course is part of the Master’s program at Rutgers University Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy.
A series of reports on transit marketing also adds to the professional capacity of the industry.
-- Report 50, A Handbook of Proven Marketing Strategies for Public Transit, describes low-cost and cost-effective transit marketing success stories. It is a “how-to” handbook for selecting and implementing proven marketing strategies.
-- Report 47, A Handbook for Measuring Customer Satisfaction and Service Quality, presents a survey-based method of measuring customer satisfaction and tracking changes in satisfaction over time. The report describes how to develop meaningful categories of satisfaction and how customize the process for any transit agency.
-- Report 40, Strategies to Attract Auto Users to Public Transportation, examines the role of parking in consumer travel choice and methods to use parking strategies to reduce auto travel and increase transit use. The report examines parking availability, parking pricing, and transit service in the context of achieving livable communities.
-- Report 37, A Handbook: Integrating Market Research Into Transit Management, provides a toolbox for analyzing current and prospective customers. The report describes how to conduct a self- assessment on the degree to which a transit agency is customer oriented, how to use market information, and methods -- customer satisfaction research, interviews, focus groups, surveys, sample-size, statistical error, and presentation techniques. Twelve case studies show practical applications.
-- Report 36, A Handbook: Using Market Segmentation Strategies to Increase Transit Ridership, describes the principles of market segmentation and how they can be used by transit agencies. The handbook covers product-related consumer attitudes, psychographics, implementation, and real-life examples.
-- Synthesis 32, Transit Advertising Revenues: New Sources and Structures, examines creative advertising programs and techniques that both enhance ridership and non-farebox revenues.
--Synthesis 43, Effective Use of Transit Websites, explores current practices and recent experiences concerning website design, marketing, and administration. The Utah Transit Authority reports extensively using this synthesis in the design of their UTA website.
Two products are especially useful to travel demand forecasters:
-- TCRP Report 95, Traveler Response to Transportation Systems Changes: Third Edition was published as a 19-volume report, updating a handbook last published in 1981. This handbook equips members of the transportation profession with a comprehensive, readily accessible, interpretive documentation of results and experience observed across the United States and elsewhere of traveler responses to different types of transportation system changes. Sixteen of the published 19 volumes of this report include—Chapter 1, Introduction; Chapter 2, HOV Facilities; Chapter 3, Park-and-Ride/Pool;Chapter 5, Vanpools and Buspools; Chapter 6, Demand Responsive/ADA; Chapter 9, Transit Scheduling and Frequency; Chapter 10, Bus Routing and Coverage; Chapter 11, Transit Information and Promotion; Chapter 12, Transit Pricing and Fares;Chapter 13, Parking Pricing and Fees; Chapter 14, Road Value Pricing; Chapter 15, Land Use and Site Design; Chapter 16, Pedestrian and Bicycle Facilities; Chapter 17, Transit Oriented Development; Chapter 18, Parking Management and Supply; and Chapter 19, Employer and Institutional TDM Strategies. Chapter 4, Busways, BRT and Express Bus; Chapter 7, Light Rail Transit; and Chapter 8, Commuter Rail will be developed in the future. The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority reports that it used Chapter 11 in the development of its 2005 Marketing Action Plan. Bloomington (IN) Transit reports using Chapter 3 in discussing commuter parking lot impacts with adjacent community groups. The University of Florida reports that Chapter 15, Land Use and Site Design, has been incorporated in a course being offered.
-- TCRP Report 73, Characteristics of Urban Transportation Demand, examines macro transportation characteristics such as daily trips per capita, daily trips by mode, average trip length, vehicle miles of travel per household, trip chaining, and parking ratios by type of work site. The final report provides a compendium of multimodal information for transportation planners, provided in both printed and electronic form.
The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) human resources department indicates that they use the following TCRP publications, among others, in their on-going training programs:
- TCRP Report 27, Building Transit Ridership: An Exploration of Transit’s Market Share and the Public Policies That Influence It
- TCRP Report 28, Transit Markets of the Future: The Challenge of Change
- TCRP Report 77, Managing Transit’s Workforce in the New Millennium
- TCRP Report 88, A Guidebook for Developing a Transit Performance Measurement System
- TRB Special Report 257, Making Transit Work: Insight from Western Europe, Canada, and the United States (funded through TCRP)
- TCRP Synthesis 16, Changing Roles and Practices of Bus Field Supervisors
- TCRP Synthesis 40, A Challenging Employment System: Hiring, Training, Performance Evaluation, and Retention of Bus Operators
- TCRP Synthesis 45, Customer Focused Transit
- TCRP Synthesis 47, Corporate Culture as the Driver of Transit Leadership
The American Planning Association is incorporating material from several chapters of TCRP Report 102, Transit Oriented Development in the United States: Experiences, Challenges, and Prospects in their Transit Oriented Development Planners Training Service course.
The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Highway and Transportation Authority, Department of Public Works, Oversight Systems Safety Manager, incorporates TCRP publications for training at Tren Urbano.
The University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee reports that it has incorporated material from the following TCRP publications in its “Fundamentals of Public Transit” course:
- TCRP Report 100, Transit Capacity and Quality of Service Manual
- TCRP Report 20, Measuring and Valuing Transit Benefits and Disbenefits
- TCRP Report 49, Using Public Transportation to Reduce Economic, Social and Human Costs of Personal Immobility
- TCRP Synthesis 53, Operational Experiences with Flexible Services
- TCRP Report 90, Bus Rapid Transit Volume 1: Case Studies; References, Appendix A
- TCRP Report 90, Bus Rapid Transit Volume 2: Implementation Guidelines
- TCRP Report 118, Bus Rapid Transit: Practitioner’s Guide
- TCRP Report 54, Management Toolkit Rural and Small Urban Transportation Systems
- TCRP Legal Research Digest 24, Transit Bus Stops: Ownership, Liability and Access
- TCRP Report 50, A Handbook of Proven Marketing Strategies for Public Transit
- TCRP Synthesis Report 30, ADA Paratransit Eligibility Certification Practices
- TCRP Synthesis Report 31, Paratransit Contracting and Service Delivery Methods
- TCRP Synthesis Report 37, Communicating with Persons with Disabilities in a Multi-Modal Transit Environment
- TCRP Synthesis Report 50, Use of Rear-Facing Position for Common Wheelchairs on Transit Buses
- TCRP Synthesis Report 60, Practices in No-Show and Late Cancellation Policies for ADA Paratransit
George Mason University reports that a Public Transportation Policy course offered used two TCRP publications—Report 85, Public Transit Board Governance Guidebook, and Synthesis 59, Strategic Planning and Management in Transit Agencies.
Workforce Development Initiative. Two TCRP reports have served as key inputs to APTA’s Workforce Development Initiative. TCRP Research Results Digest 45, “Identification of the Critical Workforce Development Issues in the Transit Industry”, provides a scoping study that identifies: the most important challenges that the transit industry faces in workforce development; current innovative approaches to workforce development on the part of both transit agencies and external “benchmarks”; the most useful potential products of the Workforce Development Initiative; and the next steps that should be taken to help the transit industry address workforce development on an effective, ongoing basis.
TCRP Report 77, “Managing Transit’s Workforce in the New Millennium,” assesses the transit industry’s workforce needs and prospects for the coming decades. Further, the report provides guidelines to enable employers to assess the their own workforce needs, describes best practices for recruiting and retaining employees, and identifies ways to enhance or establish partnerships between management and labor for attracting, training, and maintaining a qualified workforce.
Transit Scheduling: Scheduling is one of the basic skills in the transit industry. TCRP Report 30, Transit Scheduling: Basic and Advanced Manuals, updates a 50 year-old predecessor, providing step-by-step instructions in trip building, blocking, runcutting, and rostering. The report is written in the form of a training manual, and has proved very popular. The Metropolitan Transit Development Board in San Diego requested copies for the scheduling staff. University and state DOT staff have also requested multiple copies for use in graduate level courses and for training staff: Institute for Transportation Research and Education, North Carolina State University; the National Center for Advanced Transportation Technology, the University of Idaho; and the Oregon Department of Transportation. SunTran (Ocala, FL) reports using Report 30 to train their schedulers.
TCRP Report 135, Controlling System Costs: Basic and Advanced Scheduling Manuals and Contemporary Issues in Transit Scheduling, is an update to TCRP Report 30 and addresses contemporary issues in transit scheduling. The report provides information on available scheduling tools and techniques and their capabilities. It also provides guidance to transit agencies on a variety of scheduling issues typically faced in a transit operating environment. The report updates the basic and advanced sections of TCRP Report 30, and includes a glossary that defines terminology and identifies common synonyms. It addresses scheduling issues related to: (a) service running times, (b) service recovery, (c) meal and rest breaks, (d) optimization of transfers, (e) clockface or memory headways, (f) through routing, (g) interlining, (h) headway-interval scheduling, (i) skip stop and limited stop operations; (j) long-route operating assessment; (k) part time operators, (l) alternative work week structure, (m) application of service level standards, (n) data integration, and (o) operator relief techniques and relative costs. Finally, the report discusses computerized scheduling system implementation issues.
MTA New York City Transit obtained 100 copies of this report to provide to each of their schedulers and operations planning staff.
Metro Transit, Minneapolis, has also indicated that they are making Report 135 required reading for all staff in their service development department.
Capital Area Transportation Authority, Lansing, MI, reports that they have used Report 135 to train their new schedulers, who have indicated that the report is a very useful reference document.
San Francisco MUNI has also requested copies of Report 135 to use in training schedulers and operations planning staff.
Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) reports that it uses Report 135 extensively as a text book for training their schedulers.
LACMTA indicates that it has used Report 135 extensively. They noted that this report “is the most comprehensive manual for doing transit scheduling.”
Software for Transit Risk Managers: Identification of risk exposure is the cornerstone of the risk-management process, because the other elements of risk management rest on the accuracy and completeness of this process. TCRP project G-3 developed risk management software and a User’s Guide tailored to the needs of transit risk managers. The software was demonstrated at the 1996 APTA Risk Management Seminar and at the 1996 APTA Annual Meeting. Copies were also distributed by the usual J-1 distribution method. Through the TCRP J-1 project, APTA prepared the product for distribution, professionally packaged like commercial software. Two companion Research Results Digests cover identification of risk exposure, risk assessment, loss control programs, and guidelines for consistent collection of loss data. The Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority reported that they have used the software extensively to help identify potential risks.
TCRP Project J-3, International Transit Studies Program: The International Transit Studies Program is a leadership development program intended to foster a multimodal-mobility-manager approach to urban transportation. Participants in the program bring innovative ideas from overseas to transportation agencies in the United States. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority reported three major operational changes as a result of staff exposure to new ideas from abroad. The Blue Line was converted to single-person train operation, saving over $1 million per year. Opponents of the change were won over by the extensive documentation of European cities that made successful conversions to single-person train operation, by installing CCTV cameras on platforms as observed in Vienna, and by engaging in a public outreach campaign. The MBTA also introduced low-floor light rail cars and accelerated the change to a new station management system supported by the integration of automated fare collection equipment and security systems based, in part, on the observations of the modernization of older European transport systems to much safer, more secure, customer friendly station environments. NJ Transit reported that information gathered by staff who participated in a study mission greatly increased NJ Transit’s confidence in low-floor light rail cars and helped support the decision to purchase low-floor cars. Also information on transit’s contribution to livable communities in Europe was used as part of a transit-friendly land use initiative in New Jersey. NJ Transit also reported that information obtained in Europe about contactless smart cards was evaluated for possible application in New Jersey. At that time, European applications had gone beyond testing to implementation. Riverside Transit reported that information about integrated school and public transportation in Europe assisted them with an initiative in the Los Angeles area to demonstrate the feasibility of such integrated service. She also reported that information about corridor preservation, the use of art in transit, and strategies to improve livability of cities were applicable to issues she was facing at home. The London Docklands LRT is using moving block signal technology, and American transit agencies that are considering this technology found it reassuring to see that it works in practice as well as in theory. Participants were also impressed with improved transportation efficiencies achieved in Britain through increased use of private contractors and increased competition.
A participant on a recent ITPS international mission was recently promoted to Operations Officer for her transit agency. She indicated that her participation on the mission and the knowledge gained on it contributed to her promotion.
Low-Floor Light Rail Vehicles: A number of transit systems, e.g., NJ Transit, SEPTA, and Santa Clara County, have used a TCRP database on available low-floor light rail vehicle (LFLRV) technologies and their characteristics as input into the development of potential LFLRV specifications. The project demonstrated, according to reports from Santa Clara County, that LRVs with 70 percent of the floor area in low-floor configuration minimize the risks associated with new rail car design, because they use traditional trucks, but still provide the advantages of a low floor for ADA compliance. This influenced their decision to plan for low floor LRVs. Santa Clara County staff estimated savings on the order of $20 million, attributable to not building expensive ramps for access by the disabled. Low-floor vehicles accommodate disabled persons, please the general public because the ramps would have detracted from the architectural aesthetics of a downtown transit mall, and save money. This was a win-win decision. The TCRP research project was completed in January 1995 and published as TCRP Report 2.
Alternative Fuel Safety: NJ Transit and several bus manufacturers reported that they used TCRP Synthesis No. 1, Safe Operating Procedures for Alternative Fuel Buses, as a planning tool. One bus manufacturer reported that it made copies available to staff to inform them of safe handling procedures. At two conferences in Pennsylvania on alternative fuel buses, sponsored by the Rural Transportation Assistance Program (RTAP), most of the 35 to 40 attendees reportedly had this document with them or had read it. The majority of knowledge that these operations personnel had about alternative fuels at this point reportedly came from TCRP Synthesis No. 1. Fuels like methanol, compressed natural gas, and liquefied natural gas have characteristics very different from diesel fuel or gasoline and are dangerous if handled incorrectly. This synthesis provided information on safe procedures for handling alternative fuels.
In addition, TCRP CRP-CD-4, Hazard Assessment and Mitigation of Alternative-Fuel-Related Systems in Transit Bus Operations, provides a computer model that estimates the potential consequences (injuries and property damage) and losses (in dollars) from alternative-fuel-related hazards on transit buses. This model compares hazards, expected losses, consequences, and mitigation measures within and across fuel types. Detailed analysis is available for buses and facilities using compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquified natural gas (LNG). CNG and LNG cases may be compared to a fixed case for diesel operations. In addition to a CD-ROM, Research Results Digest 39 provides findings from the model for a generalized 200-bus fleet. The model can also be found on the TRB website.
Operational Savings: TCRP Report 4, Aids for Rail Car Side-Door Operation, provides guidance on the safest ways for the operator to observe door operation, thereby making it possible to eliminate conductors in some circumstances. This report was a key information resource for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) during the conversion of the Blue Line to a single-person train operation in 1996, saving $1 million annually. The report was submitted to the Massachusetts State Legislature and the state regulatory agency during public hearings concerning the initiative.
Proposed User Fees/Auctioning of Radio Frequencies: In June 1995, the Federal Communications Commission issued a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM) that proposed the possible institution of user fees or the auctioning of radio frequencies to encourage radio spectrum efficiency. Through TCRP Project J-6, Quick Response for Special Needs, assistance was provided to APTA to summarize the FNPRM; identify issues; outline feasible alternative’s for APTA response; and, through a transit system survey process, assist APTA in developing transit-industry consensus comments to be provided by APTA to the FCC.
Standardized Light Rail Signing for Improved Safety: A draft version of a new light rail chapter for the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) was prepared as part of TCRP Project A-5, Integration of Light Rail Transit into City Streets. The TCRP contractor worked closely with the LRT Subcommittee of the MUTCD Committee on Railroad-Highway Grade Crossings to incorporate a new LRT chapter into the Millennium version of the MUTCD. The MUTCD is the document that contains nationally accepted standards for roadway signing and signaling, a critical element of traffic safety.
Track Maintenance Safety: A National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) report that was released in January 2008 referred to track-worker alert technology in its report on how to prevent future track-worker incidents. That track worker alert technology that NTSB referred to was developed and tested in TCRP IDEA Project 55, “Warning Device for Rail Rapid Transit Personnel for Approaching Trains”, andNTSB demonstrated that technology at their public board meeting. The IDEA project included testing of the technology at MTA New York City Transit and the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority.
Reduced Visual Impact of Overhead Wire: The Greater Cleveland RTA used the results of TCRP Project D-4, Visual Impact of Overhead Contact Systems for Electric Transit Vehicles, in planning an RTA extension. The findings of this project were particularly significant, because citizen opposition to overhead wire is one of the primary roadblocks to LRT acceptance.
TQM in Transit: TCRP Project F-3 investigated what it would take to apply TQM principals to transit. There was sufficient demand for the findings that a Research Digest (RRD No. 3) was prepared, summarizing the results of the first phase of the project. More than 3,000 copies of this document were distributed. Numerous copies of the interim report were requested by public transportation agencies that received the Research Digest, and a total quality management guidebook was been published as TCRP Report 8. Pilot TQM initiatives at four transit agencies were part of the project; the research agency provided technical assistance to advance TQM activities at these sites. The Pee Dee Regional Transportation Authority, for example, reported that with the assistance of the TCRP researchers, an “Employee Customer Code” was developed, that focuses attention on improving performance, increasing quality, reducing cost and fostering a customer-focused culture. The Spokane Transit Authority, another pilot site, reported that early results and successes were becoming apparent, and that Spokane Transit envisions a long-term commitment to TQM. The project coincided in Chicago with the implementation of the Committee on Shared Interests, a joint union-management initiative to become more customer-focused at the Chicago Transit Authority. All four pilot agencies found the technical assistance and study findings beneficial.
Transit Performance Measures: The Wisconsin DOT reported that two TCRP publications were very useful in reviewing transit performance measures and their use in allocation formulas: TCRP Synthesis No. 6, The Role of Performance-Based Measures in Allocating Funding for Transit Operations, and The Quality Journey: A TQM Roadmap for Public Transportation. The experiences of other states were found to be particularly helpful. TRB documents were reported to be of value in developing a long-range statewide transportation plan and in providing guidance to the Metropolitan Planning Organizations in the state.
The Greater Cleveland RTA reported that it used TCRP Report 88, A Guidebook for Developing a Transit Performance-Measurement System, to assist in a review of their performance-measurement system. In addition, LYNX in Orlando, Florida indicated that it used TCRP Report 88 during its 2004 strategic planning process.
Public Transportation Boards: TCRP Report 104, Public Transportation Board Effectiveness: A Self-Assessment Handbook, provides a self-assessment process and tools to measure public transportation board effectiveness and provides references on how board characteristics can be changed to improve board effectiveness in various areas. The handbook also identifies the characteristics of public transportation boards that influence transit system performance. A number of transit agencies, including the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART), indicated that they implemented the board self-assessment process developed in the report.
The Small Urban & Rural Transit Center reports that it is using Report 104 as part of a 2.5 hour presentation on the roles and responsibilities of transit board members at the 2007 Dakota Transit Association Conference.
TCRP Report 85, Public Transit Board Governance Guidebook, is a reference tool that provides information on the organization and composition of transit boards. The guidebook describes the structure and practices of transit boards and includes information on Board-selection methods, board size, board length of service, and board composition. The guidebook also includes a section on the primary role and activities of the transit board and the role of the transit board chair. There are guidelines for determining the roles and responsibilities of board members and a description of the characteristics of an effective board. APTA referenced this report in testimony provided to the U.S. House of Representatives Government Reform Committee on the effective oversight of public transportation agencies, and asked that the report, in its entirety, be made part of the record for the hearing.
Application of Artificial Intelligence to Railcar Maintenance: A potentially cost-effective use of artificial intelligence technology was identified to assist railcar maintenance personnel in their diagnosis of railcar propulsion system maintenance problems. TCRP Report 1, Artificial Intelligence For Transit Railcar Diagnostics, recommended testing the technology on the propulsion system, because the potential for savings is the greatest. The project was continued in order to conduct an operational test of the concept. A successful demonstration was completed at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. The results of the demonstration are summarized in TCRP Report 44.
Implementing Public Transportation Technology: TCRP Report 84, Volume 8, Improving Public Transportation Technology Implementations and Anticipating Emerging Technologies, summarizes the value of current technologies used in public transportation, describes methods for improving the success of technology implementation, and identifies five promising emerging technologies with application for transit agencies.
MTA New York City Transit’s Office of Technology and Innovation indicated that it has used Report 84, Volume 8 extensively, particularly for implementing new technology.
Transit Management Information Systems: TCRP Synthesis Number 5 describes the state of automation in public transit agencies, and discusses successful attempts at integration of MIS systems. This synthesis provides good examples of applying a systems approach to resolving interface problems between information systems. New Jersey reported that the synthesis was useful.
Transit Ridership: Research Results Digest 4 of the same name was prepared in support of APTA’s 1994 Transit Ridership Initiative through TCRP Project J-6, Quick Response for Special Needs. The report documents ridership success stories in smaller transit systems that are masked by nationwide statistics. The document formed the basis for the TCRP workshop held in November 1994, Identification of Research Needs to Increase US Transit Ridership. The information was updated in Research Results Digest 29.
TCRP Report 111, Elements Needed to Create High Ridership Transit Systems, describes the strategies used by transit agencies to create high ridership and includes case studies of successful examples of increased or high ridership. The case studies focus on the internal and external elements that contributed to successful ridership increases, and describe how the transit agencies influenced or overcame internal and external challenges to increase ridership. This report includes a companion interactive CD-ROM that contains a database of individual transit agency ridership strategies linked to the strategies and examples presented in the report. The CD-ROM also contains a brochure that outlines the key elements identified in this report for increasing and sustaining ridership. These materials have been designed to assist transit managers and staff, as well as policymakers and other regional stakeholders, by identifying strategies that can be used to increase ridership.
The Iowa Department of Transportation reports that it plans on incorporating material from Report 111 into an action plan for transit agencies within the state.
Commuter Benefits Programs: TCRP Reports 87, Strategies for Increasing the Effectiveness of Commuter Benefits Programs, and 107, Assessing the Costs and Benefits of Commuter Benefits Programs, provide significant information and guidance regarding the implementation of commuter benefits programs. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has indicated that information from these publications are being used to document some of the impacts that might result from the EPA’s Best Workplaces for Commuters Program. In addition, the contractors for Report 107 were presented with the 2005 Transportation Demand Management Institute Research Excellence Award. This award is presented annually to the research project noted for its substantial contribution to the field of transportation demand management.
Transit Security: The Cambria County Transit Authority (CamTran) in Johnstown, Pennsylvania reports that it used the revised final report for Project J-10D, Security Planning Tools for Rural, Small Urban, and Community-Based Public Transportation Operations (to be published as Report 86/Volume 10 in early 2006) to assist them in the development of an Emergency and Security Plan that was required from the Department of Homeland Security to receive security funds for their Johnstown Inclined Plane. CamTran reported “…the TCRP document has been invaluable to us in providing structure and direction in what we need to get it done properly…….We have looked at many other agency plans and we have looked at what FTA and FEMA has to offer and it is just overwhelming. This TCRP document kept us on track and focused on what we needed.”
SEPTA in Philadelphia reports extensively using TCRP Report 86, Volume 8, Continuity of Operations (COOP) Planning Guidelines for Transportation Agencies, as a valuable resource in developing their internal continuity of operations plan. The City of College Station, Texas, is using material from this report to develop its COOP plan.
Florida DOT reports that it hired the principal investigator of TCRP Report 86, Volume 10, Hazard and Security Plan Workshop: Instructor Guide, to offer the workshop in several locations statewide. Mississippi DOT has also made the course available for its transit systems, both pre- and post-Hurricane Katrina. The Texas DOT is conducting four workshops around the state that are based on this TCRP report and its CD-ROM. At one of the workshops, a participant indicated “….the things addressed were instantly applicable to our operation at Citibus and for the first time since I got the responsibility of our security plan, I felt like I learned strategies that I could suggest for implementation.”
The Coast Guard reports that it is incorporating material from TCRP Report 86, Volume 11,Security Measures for Ferry Systems, in its training for new terminal pilots. The general security measures (GSM) evaluation and selection tool included in the report will also be included in a Coast Guard Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular (NVIC).Material from the revised final report was also incorporated into internal Coast Guard documents for its operational commanders.
The California Office of Homeland Security used material from the TCRP Report 86 public transportation security series (Volumes 1-12) in developing its internal policies and procedures.
The Chicago Transit Authority reports that it has frequently turned to reports from TCRP when analyzing security issues and policies. They indicate that TRB is the first source turned to when looking for reports on useful transportation security practices.
Rail Train Control: The FTA reports that it used the final report from TCRP Project J-6/Task 77, Support for APTA/FTA Transit Train Control Assessment, to address an NTSB finding related to rail safety.
The results of this project were used in the development of APTA Standard #009, Standard for Audio Frequency Track Circuit Inspection and Maintenance Rev 1, December 2014.
Track Worker Protection: Kinki Sharyo reports that it has awarded a multimillion dollar contract to Protran Technology LLC to outfit over 500 railcars with the Protracker Roadway Worker Protection System. The system gives advance warning to track workers of approaching trains and gives advance warning to train operators of workers ahead. TCRP participated in the development of this technology through TCRP Project J-4/IDEA 55, Warning Device for Rail Rapid Transit Personnel for Approaching Trains. The technology has been reference by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) as a potential way of reducing track worker injuries/fatalities.
General: TRB Technical Activities Division staff recently completed their annual visit to the Ohio DOT. As part of that visit, they also met with COTA. During the visit, COTA staff talked about how often they use TCRP reports, how the program has improved their services, and how as an agency they could never hope to conduct the breadth of research TCRP has completed for them. The Vice President of Operations mentioned many, many report titles that the agency uses in their day to day business. He mentioned a report that he uses to train all their new supervisors so that they know how to approach their new responsibilities. Each of the four of the leadership staff spoken with had at least one example of a TCRP report that they use.