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Integrating Vanpool Programs & Partnerships with Transportation Management Associations

Throughout the country, more and more transit agencies are focusing their energies on maximizing community mobility through a comprehensive array of transportation services and partnership programs. For many, this approach involves the integration of multiple travel modes—from high-capacity rail transit to flexible vanpool vehicles—in order to link the most efficient transit technology with the specific needs of the market. Additionally, more and more transit agencies are leveraging partnerships with groups like Transportation Management Associations (TMAs) to work closely with the business community in an effort to market transit services, sell transit passes and even develop customized shuttle services.

Vanpools: Maximizing Efficiency and Improving Mobility

While rail and bus transit continue to provide efficient service for the majority of transit trips along heavily traveled corridors, the growing demand to serve suburb-to-suburb trips, low-density office markets and outlying communities suggests the need for integration of more flexible transit services like vanpools.

  • Defining Vanpools:
    • Operate using 6-15 passenger vans
    • Vehicle driven by vanpool participant(s)
    • Typically serve trips over 15 miles
    • Provide passengers with door-to-door service
  • Vanpool Benefits for Transit Agencies:
    • High farebox recovery. While the average fare paid by bus passengers in 2001 was $0.74 per unlinked trip, vanpool passengers paid an average of $2.06. As an example of this dynamic, transit operators in the Puget Sound region achieve an 85% farebox recovery of capital and operating costs for their vanpool programs.

Vanpool Passengers in Franklin, TN

Vanpool Passengers in Franklin, TN

  • Service flexibility. With the growing demand for suburb-to-suburb travel, and the on-going challenges of providing transit service in suburban business parks, vanpools offer an innovative and flexible service alternative. Vanpools also provide an efficient choice for service to and between outlying communities within a transit district, and offer a prudent approach to increasing ridership along new or extended routes.
  • Low-cost operations. Vanpools offer an excellent opportunity to enhance regional mobility without significant operational cost.
  • Transit Agency Vanpool Programs – Success Stories:
    • The Puget Sound region. Six large, medium and small transit properties in the Puget Sound region include vanpool service as an integral part of their total service package. Currently, King County Metro operates 690 vans, Community Transit runs 239, Pierce Transit runs 148, Kitsap Transit runs 92, Intercity Transit runs 51, and Island Transit runs 30. In the Puget Sound area, vanpooling has achieved a 2% market share of the overall commuter market.  Among commuters who travel 20+ miles each way, vanpooling has reached a 7% market share.  The agencies specifically look to vanpooling to meet demand in hard-to-serve suburban markets.  The Puget Sound region leads the nation in the number of vanpools per capita (4.5 vans/10,000).

      For more information on vanpooling in the Puget Sound region, contact William Roach at 206.684.1620 or

    • Volusia County. The Volusia County Council created VOTRAN in 1975 to provide fixed-route bus service in the greater Daytona Beach, Florida, area. According to census data, approximately 25,000 (16%) of Volusia County residents commute daily to jobs outside Volusia County. In keeping with their mission as comprehensive mobility managers, VOTRAN developed a vanpool program in 1998, launched with two demonstration vans provided by the Florida Department of Transportation. Due to the strong demand for these services, the program now includes 11 vanpools and a waiting list for participation. Vanpooling provided a cost effective way to serve out-of-county commuters as well as expand intra-county services. For more information, contact Ken Fischer at 386.756.7496 or

Transportation Management Associations: Leveraging Partnerships for Success

Transit agencies across the country are recognizing the benefits of working closely with Transportation Management Associations (TMAs) to forge productive partnerships with the business community and local organizations. TMAs emerged in the 1980s in an effort to form public-private partnerships to address traffic congestion and air quality challenges. TMAs are often private, non-profit organizations, with members typically including groups like employers, developers, building managers, government organizations, and community groups. There are 150 TMAs in operation throughout the United States. Many of these organizations are working closely with local transit agencies to develop marketing campaigns, sell transit passes, recommend route and schedule improvements, and facilitate planning projects. Some TMAs have even designed and implemented local shuttle services to augment the existing transit network.

Exploring TMA Success:
Cumberland Transportation Network

The Cumberland Transportation Network (CTN) is a TMA located in Atlanta, Georgia. CTN works with businesses, commuters and public agencies to improve mobility and accessibility to and within the Cumberland area. Over the past five years, CTN has partnered with local transit providers to encourage and support alternative transportation solutions. CTN discounts bus and rail passes, provides route information and promotes special programs, including paratransit services. CTN supports a vanpool initiative where 42 vanpools supplement the local bus service. CTN also works closely

TMA Shuttle in Denver, CO

TMA Shuttle in Denver, CO

with the transit agency to arrange for new and enhanced bus services for area employers. The partnership with CTN provides transit agencies with increased visibility, additional outreach support, improved ridership, corporate involvement and enhanced transportation options. For more information, contact Malaika Rivers at 770.859.2331 or

Additional Resources

The integration of vanpool programs and the formation of partnerships with TMAs are two key ways in which transit agencies are providing comprehensive mobility services. For more information on these and other concepts, or to find a TMA in your area, contact:

Association for Commuter Transportation logo

Association for Commuter Transportation
Stuart Anderson
, Executive Director
Kevin Luten
, Assistant Director
P.O. Box 15542
Washington, DC 20003-0542
Commitment to Accessibility: DOT is committed to ensuring that information is available in appropriate alternative formats to meet the requirements of persons who have a disability. If you require an alternative version of files provided on this page, please contact