Collecting information on transit services and programs that support those services is an integral part of the data gathering process. Information should be collected on all transportation services operating in and around the study area including regular route, shuttle, demand-response, paratransit, shared-ride taxi, regular taxi, vanpools, rideshares and other commuter services. Additional information should include hours of operation, service area boundaries, travel time standards, fares, program costs and other operating characteristics. Obtaining this information enables the planning committee to identify underserved areas based on employment center locations and/or individual residence location data.
Programs that support transit services such as transit hubs, park-and-ride facilities and other transfer locations may have on-site childcare, training, and other services nearby that might be used for overall employment plan. These facilities do not provide a transportation service; however, they are directly linked to the service network.
Specialized Transportation Programs
A number of transportation programs provide transportation services to a variety of populations. Schools, churches, civic and elderly organizations operate vanpool or shuttle services specifically for seniors, children or the disabled community.
These nontraditional transportation providers are an important part of a network of job access services, but they may be difficult to identify and to engage in the process. Once they have been identified as potential participants, they may have reservations about making changes to their service. The potential benefits are worth exploring. In some cases, pooling resources can free up administrative time and reduce overall program costs.
Transportation initiatives should be designed to maximize existing resources whenever possible. One way to accomplish this is to determine "who is doing what." Doing so reduces the potential of duplicating services and planning efforts can focus on new or improved programs.
Investments are typically in the form of capital or operational/maintenance expenditures. Capital costs include purchase of vehicles, facilities and other equipment. They are a one-time cost that is usually financed over a long period of time. Operational/maintenance investments are intangible costs such as wages and are incremental, often in terms of "per mile" or "per hour." Operating and maintenance costs are normally derived through a cost allocation process.