2002 Research Reports

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The following page contains currently relevant FTA-funded and supported research reports published in the year 2002.

Copies of these research publications can be located via the Transportation Research Information Services (TRIS), a searchable database of publications, reports and articles maintained by the Transportation Research Board and supported by state and federal agencies.

 

A Ride Through SaFIRES . Lessons Learned from SaFIRES, an APTS Operational Test in Prince William County, Virginia
Volpe National Transportation Systems Center
, Robert Casey and Judy Schwenk; and Castle Rock Consultants, Inc, Michael Harris and Matthew Hardy. Prepared for the FTA Advanced Public Transportation Systems (APTS) Program, June 2002, 24pp.

This interim report documents the lessons learned from the planning and deployment of the Smart Flex-Route Integrated Real-Time Enhancement System (SaFIRES) operational test in Prince William County, Virginia. SaFIRES was designed to test, implement and demonstrate the feasibility of route deviation bus service in a low density area; provide mobility for the transit dependent persons, and through technology improve operational control, decrease response time, and integrate new services into an existing transit mode (OmniLink). This report includes the views and opinions of the key stakeholders, and should be useful to other transit agencies. The report presents the results of operational tests conducted on intelligent transportation systems (ITS) to determine the effects of the new ITS technology on the operations of transportation services in Prince William County. SaFIRES ITS components were added to the existing flexible-route deviation transit service, OmniLink, to demonstrate how ITS technology can improve the efficiency of transit service in suburban areas of the county. Overall, this route deviation service has proven to be popular with county residents. Although system ridership exceeds 1,000 passengers per weekday, there are difficulties with integrated-deployment of ITS technologies--automatic vehicle locator, mobile data terminals, and automated scheduling and dispatching software—in OmniLink. Future years will determine whether the SaFIRES ITS components can be successfully integrated. 2002-1296
Available From:
National Technical Information Service/NTIS, Springfield, VA 22161.
Report Order Number: FTA-MA-26-7007-02.2

 

Center for Composite Manufacturing Final Report
Southern Research Institute, Birmingham, Alabama 35211, Klaus F. Gleich and Thomas E. Jackson. Prepared for FTA Technology Office (Quon Kwan, TRI), June 2002, 94pp. Project Report Number FTA-AL-26-7001.1

The Center for Composites Manufacturing project resulted in the following three separate reports: Final Project Report, Fabrication Guide for Compression Molding of Long-Fiber Thermoplastic Composites, and Component Report for Composite Bus Seat. The objective of this project was to develop thermoplastic composite materials and product forms, including the development and demonstration of fabrication methods for molding these materials into components for use in buses and other mass transit applications. The primary goal was to demonstrate technologies that can provide lower cost, lighter weight, improved performance structures for mass transit applications. Investigations into several candidate transit bus components were made to replace heavier conventional components with long-fiber thermoplastic composites in transit bus applications, while simultaneously maintaining safety and reducing fabrication costs. Test panels were made with flame retardants and successfully tested for both flame spread and smoke density. Based upon cost and weight analysis, a bus seat was selected as a component for fabrication and testing. An all-composite, 2-person bus seat was designed and compression molded as a demonstration of the technology. The final report states that the weight of the composite seat was 50 percent less than the conventional component and could be manufactured in commercial quantities with a 40 percent reduction in cost. The successful molding of the bus seat was accomplished resulting in the production of 20 full-scale bus seats to be used for testing and validation of design criteria. Overall, this final report documents and describes the following six project tasks and results: Task 0 Project Management, Task I Materials and Product Forms, Task II Processing Technology, Task III Tooling Technology, Task IV Component Selection, Task V Component Fabrication, and Task VI Component Evaluation. It also includes information on future work and technology transfer, as well as a Glossary.

Available From: National Technical Information Service/NTIS, Springfield, VA 22161.
Report Order Number: FTA-AL-26-7001.1

 

Center for Composite Manufacturing Fabrication Guide for Compression Molding of Long-Fiber Thermoplastic Composites
Southern Research Institute, Birmingham, Alabama 35211, Klaus F. Gleich and Thomas E. Jackson. Prepared for FTA Technology Office (Quon Kwan, TRI), June 2002, 26pp. Project Project Number FTA-AL-26-7001.2

This Fabrication Guide for Compression Molding of Long-Fiber Thermoplastic Composites describes the steps required to apply the technology of long-fiber thermoplastic composites in transit bus applications. The report describes thermoplastic composite materials and processes and demonstrates fabrication methods for molding these materials into passenger seating components or other large components for use in buses and other mass transit applications. The primary goal of this work was to demonstrate that these technologies could provide lower costs, lighter weight, improved performance structures for mass transit applications. This Fabrication Guide was written to outline the basic requirements involved in the design and fabrication of large, long-fiber thermoplastic composite parts by compression molding.

Available From: National Technical Information Service/NTIS, Springfield, VA 22161.
Report Order Number: FTA-AL-26-7001.2



Center for Composite Manufacturing Component Report for Composite Bus Seat
Southern Research Institute, Birmingham, Alabama 35211, Klaus F. Gleich and Thomas E. Jackson. Prepared for FTA Technology Office (Quon Kwan, TRI), June 2002, 34pp. Project Number FTA-AL-26-7001.3

The objective of this Component Report for Composite Bus Seat was to outline the design and fabrication of a long-fiber thermoplastic composite, two-person seat for use in buses and other transit applications. The component report includes the tooling design and construction methods as well as an economic analysis of the prototype bus seat components as a commercial product. This report presents the design, fabrication, tooling, flow simulation, and testing topics of a full-scale model bus seat. The study demonstrates that long-fiber thermoplastic technology can provide lower cost, lighter weight, improved performance structures for mass transit applications.

Available From: National Technical Information Service/NTIS, Springfield, VA 22161.
Report Order Number: FTA-AL-26-7001.3

 

Lessons Learned – Evaluation of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Implementation at Santee Weteree Regional Transportation Authority
Ted J. Rieck of Science Applications International Corporation, and Mark Carter of TransSystems Corporation. Prepared for FTA Office of Research, Demonstration and Innovation (William Wiggins, TRI-11), June 2002, 49pp.

The purpose of this "lessons learned" study is to document the experience with Intelligent transportation systems (ITS) implementation at the Santee Wateree Regional Transportation Authority (SWRTA)—a public transportation provider serving rural central South Carolina as well as the City of Sumter. This report documents the challenges faced by SWRTA in implementing ITS technologies, such as Geographic Information Systems, Computer Assisted Dispatching and Scheduling, and Automated Vehicle Location technologies. The report provides an analysis of the implementation issues addressed, as well as the key lessons learned and implications for the FTA. This case study is an attempt to provide useful lessons to other transit systems considering similar ventures. Among the lessons learned are the need for: comprehensive technology planning, strong and committed project management, employee "buy-in" and development, and budgeting sufficient implementation time.

Available From: National Technical Information Service/NTIS, Springfield, VA 22161.
Report Order Number: FTA-TRI-11-02.3

 

Fuel Cell Demonstration Project at SunLine Transit Agency
SunLine Transit Agency, Thousand Palms, California. Prepared for FTA Fule Cell Demonstration Program, Final Report, September 2001, 48pp. CD-ROM

This is the final report summarizing the Fuel Cell Demonstration Project activities of the XCELLSIS Zebus (zero emissions bus) performance at the SunLine Transit Agency in Thousand Palms, California. Under this demonstration project, SunLine participated with XCELLSIS in the fueling, training, operating, and testing of this prototype fuel cell bus. The report presents a summary of project activities, including the results of the 13-month test of the XCELLSIS Zebus performance at SunLine Transit. This final report includes data relating to Zebus performance, along with the successes achieved beyond the technical realm. The study concludes that the project was very useful in establishing operating parameters and environmental testing in extreme heat conditions and in transferring technology to a transit agency. At the end of the 13-month test period, the Zebus ran flawlessly in the Michelin Challenge Bibendum from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, a 275-mile trek. SunLine refueled the Zebus in transit in Baker, California, 150 miles from its home base. Overall, everyone who encountered or rode the Zebus were impressed with its smoothness, low engine noise, and absence of emissions. The study states that the future for the Zebus looks very bright. Fuel cell projects are anticipated to continue in California and Europe with the introduction of new buses equipped with Ballard P5 and other fuel cell engines as early as the first half of 2003.

Available From:
National Technical Information Service/NTIS, Springfield, VA 22161.
Report Order Number: FTA-CA-26-7002.01.2

 

Final Report For Second Train Warning Sign Demonstration Project on the Los Angeles Metro Blue Line
PB Farradyne, Division of Parsons Brinckerhoff Quade & Douglas, Inc. Prepared for FTA Office of Research, Demonstration and Innovation, January 2002, 77pp.
Report Number:
FTA-CA-26-7017.01

The objective of this demonstration project was to investigate and demonstrate use of a train activated warning sign that would increase pedestrian awareness at times when there are two trains in a highway- railroad intersection at the same time. The demonstration included measurement of pedestrian behavior before and after the installation of the active second train warning sign to determine the effectiveness of the warning sign and its potential for reducing collisions between trains and pedestrians at highway-railroad intersections. This project was conducted at one of the most hazardous highway-railroad intersections on the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority's Metro Blue Line (MB Line) —the south sidewalk at Vernon Avenue intersection with the MB Line and Union Pacific Railroad (UPR) tracks. From the analysis of before and after video data, the demonstration project found that the warning sign was effective in reducing risky behavior by pedestrians. Overall, the number of pedestrians crossing the light rail transit (LRT) tracks at less than 15 seconds in front of an approaching LRT train was reduced by 14 percent after the warning sign was installed. Based on the results of this project, the LACMTA will determine whether to implement the use of this warning sign at other crossings and will evaluate other innovative approaches to increase the level of warning for pedestrians at highway-railroad intersections.

Available From:
National Technical Information Service/NTIS, Springfield, VA 22161.
Report Order Number: FTA-CA-26-7002.01.2

 

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Engines and Related Technologies
College of the Desert, Energy Technology Training Center, Palm Desert, CA 92260. Prepared for FTA Office of Research, Demonstration and Technology (Shang Hsiung, TRI20), December 2001. Report Project Number FTA-CA-26-7022.01.1

The Hydrogen Fuel Cell Engines and Related Technologies report documents the first training course ever developed and made available to the transportation community and general public on the use of hydrogen fuel cells in transportation. The course is designed to train a generation of fuel cell technicians, providing them with a more complete understanding of the concepts, procedures, and technologies involved with hydrogen fuel cell use in transportation. This manual is one of the primary reference books for the study of renewable energies and the use of hydrogen as a fuel for transportation purposes. The training manual contains 11 modules (chapters). The first eight modules cover hydrogen properties use and safety, fuel cell technology and systems, fuel cell engine design and safety, and design and maintenance of a heavy duty fuel cell bus engine. The different types of fuel cells and hybrid electric vehicles are presented. System descriptions and maintenance procedures focus on proton-exchange-membrane (PEM) fuel cells for heavy duty transit applications. The PEM fuel cell engine was chosen because its transit application is currently the most advanced. Modules 9 and 10 provide information about government acts, codes, regulations and guidelines concerning the use of hydrogen, as well as the safety guidelines for both hydrogen maintenance and fueling facilities. Module 11 presents a glossary. Specific fuel cell system descriptions and maintenance are based on Phases 3 and 4 fuel cell buses (XCELLSIS), representing the most complete description of fuel cell bus maintenance currently available. This course is part of an emerging curriculum under development by the College of the Desert in support of a "Tech Prep Associate Degree" in Advanced Transportation Technologies. The program starts at the high school level and progresses through a rigorous program that includes instructions in electronics, engine performance, alternative fuels, and advanced power train technologies.

Available From:
National Technical Information Service/NTIS, Springfield, VA 22161.
Report Order Number: FTA-CA-26-7022-01.1

 

Trip Planning State of the Practice
Volpe National Transportation Systems Center
, Economic Analysis Division. Sari Radin, David Jackson, David Rosner, and Sean Pierce. Prepared for the FTA Office of Research, Demonstration and Innovation (Brian Cronin, TRI-11), and the Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office, June 2002, 60 pp. Report Number FTA-TRI-11-02.6

Automated trip planning, one of the easiest ways for transit users to identify their best choice of routes using the Internet, is the heart of this study. Trip planners use an input form to obtain information on desired trip characteristics then automatically generate an itinerary for the user. Currently, there are 30 transit web-based trip planners in the United States; 22 serving single agencies, and 8 serving multiple agencies. The objective of this research was to identify opportunities to facilitate development of transit trip planners. The report is based on information obtained from (1) interviews with transit agencies and other organizations with and without web-based trip planners; (2) review of existing web-based trip planner features; and (3) a literature review and Internet search. This report summarizes the current state-of-the-practice in web-based single and multi-agency transit trip planning, identifies trip planner development issues, groups transit agencies by capability and interest in developing trip planners, and recommends federal assistance for each group and research to overcome barriers. The main text summarizes the current status of trip planner deployment, expectations, benefits, development issues, standards, costs and staffing. The study found that most agencies without a trip planner are mainly those lacking the knowledge and skills related to trip planner terminology and technology such as Intelligent Transportation Systems. The study also found that trip planners currently available are good services.

Available From: National Technical Information Service/NTIS, Springfield, VA 22161.
Report Order Number: FTA-TRI-11-02.6

 

Low Speed Maglev Technology Development Program
General Atomics, Husan Gurol, Robert Baldi, Phillip Jeter, et al. Prepared for the FTA Office of Technology (Venkat Pindiprolu, TRI20), March 2002, 59pp.
Project Number
FTA-CA-26-7025-02.1

This is the first research project report to be published under the FTA Low Speed Urban Magnetic Levitation Technology Development Program (Urban Maglev Program). The overall objective of the Urban Maglev Program is to develop magnetic levitation technology that will be a cost-effective, reliable, energy-efficient, and environmentally sound option for urban mass transportation. This final report provides an overview of the progress made during the 18 months of the program. The principal subsystems investigated include: levitation, propulsion, power supply, communication and controls, guideway, and vehicle. The report provides a summary assessment of the status of Maglev technology developments in the U.S. and abroad, and provides the results of a number of trade studies performed by the General Atomics team. It also includes a summary of urban Maglev design requirements and a description of a Maglev system meeting these requirements. An engineering and construction schedule for the selected system is also provided. The General Atomics Urban Maglev system represents refinements that evolved from the Maglev technologies developed by the United States, Germany, Japan, and Korea over the last three decades. Development of magnetic levitation technology is intended to demonstrate energy efficiency, congestion mitigation, and safety benefits.

Available From:
National Technical Information Service/NTIS, Springfield, VA 22161.
Report Number: FTA-CA-26-7025-02.1

 

Federal Lands Alternative Transportation Systems Study – Congressional Report
Cambridge Systematics, Inc. Cassandra Ecker, Daniel Krechmer, Lewis Grimm, et al. Prepared for Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration, August 2001

This report documents a comprehensive study undertaken to identify and assess the alternative transportation systems needs on federally managed lands, including national parks. The results of this Federal Lands Alternative Transportation Systems Study identified significant transit needs at sites managed by the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Bureau of Land Management. In this study, alternative transportation systems refer to transit services. Two hundred seven sites (207) were evaluated in the study. Transit needs were identified at 118 of 169 National Park Service sites, 6 of 15 at Bureau of Land Management, and 13 of 23 at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The study identified transit needs for three types of transportation—bus, rail/guided transit, and waterborne transit. This document includes a summary of alternative transportation needs and estimated costs between 2001 and 2020—needs are categorized by agency, state, transit mode, system status, and type of expenditure. The report describes issues that can be addressed through transit implementation, along with the potential economic impacts of these transit systems. Barriers to successful implementation of transit systems are also discussed, as well as several federal program options that could provide the federal land management agencies with a source of funding to assist in implementing transit systems on federal lands. 


Available Online From
National Technical Information Service/NTIS, Springfield, VA 22161.
Report Number: FTA-TPl10-2000.1 and FHWA-EP-00-024

 

Bus Rapid Transit Vehicle Characteristics
Mitertek Systems, Matthew Hardy, William Stevens, and Donald Roberts. Prepared for FTA Office of Technology (Christina Gikakis, TRI20), June 2001, 91pp. Project Number: FTA-DC-26-7075-2001.1

The goal of the FTA Bus Rapid Transit Demonstration Program is to increase the level and quality of bus service through the integration of vehicles, facilities, services, and intelligent transportation systems. This Bus Rapid Transit Vehicle Characteristics report focuses on vehicle issues related to Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) systems. It is intended to provide a better understanding of the unique vehicle-related issues and challenges of implementing BRT systems. The characteristics of BRT systems described in this report are developed based on existing or planned BRT systems. Information on the vendors’ offerings is based on information from the existing BRT transit agencies; industry publications including the year 2000 edition of Jane’s Transit Systems; and follow-up interviews with vendors offering products that appear to be aligned with BRT needs. The report will be updated as needed to reflect emerging BRT vehicle concepts. Based on broad BRT system goals, this report first identifies those goals and desirable characteristics of the FTA BRT Demonstration Program. Second, the report summarizes and compares those desirable characteristics against the backdrop of transit agencies, which are either proposing or have operational BRT systems intact. The study also examines the availability of those desirable characteristics from vendors. Conclusions are drawn that will affect and determine BRT vehicle attributes and features, as well as near-term BRT system design and approaches for procuring BRT vehicles. The results are based on interview with nine transit agencies (Appendix A) and four potential BRT vehicle vendors. Appendix B contains a copy of the survey questionnaire, and Appendix C contains the results of the meetings with selected and potential BRT vehicle vendors.

Available From: National Technical Information Service/NTIS, Springfield, VA 22161.
Report Number: FTA-DC-26-7075-2001.1

 

Electronic Redistribution Center Feasibility Study
SCRA, Street Smarts, and Carter Goble Associates. Prepared for the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA), and FTA Office of Research, Demonstration and Innovation (Stewart McKeown, TRI), February 2001, 168 pp.  Project Number: FTA-GA-26-7002-01.01

The objective of this project was to evaluate and determine the feasibility of establishing a national electronic redistribution center (ERC) for surplus transit spare parts in support of city and regional transit agencies nationwide. The ERC would be an online marketplace for buyers and sellers of transit equipment. The study was designed to affirm or disprove the ERC Feasibility Study Hypothesis—All city and regional transit agencies have excess and obsolete materials on hand. The continued retention of this material drains dollars… If this material were made available through a user-friendly ERC, such material could be purchased and used by other transit agencies. An ERC can enable Transit Properties to 1) reduce excess/obsolete materials by selling them, and 2) provide a low-cost alternative to buying needed repair parts on the open market. This report documents the feasibility study results, including the methodology and analysis, and web-based survey instruments used to conduct all six surveys (questionnaires and findings). On-site bus property survey questionnaire and findings are included in this report, along with the rail survey findings. The report also provides an overview of the basic scenario that enables the ERC Operational Concept, including requirements, processes, and other features; describes the information technology supporting the ERC concept; and an ERC Benefit/Cost Analysis. Based on the findings of this study, the research team was convinced that the ERC hypothesis was proven and would benefit transit agencies.

Available From: National Technical Information Service/NTIS, Springfield, VA 22161.
Report Number: FTA-GA-26-7002-01.01

 

Value Pricing – Hot Lanes in South Florida.
Center for Urban Transportation Research, University of South Florida, Patricia A. Turner, Xuehao Chu, et al. Prepared for Florida Department of Transportation., October 2000, 158pp.

This report presents the results of a survey conducted to evaluate commuter acceptance and equity impacts of programs to convert High-Occupancy-Vehicle (HOV) lanes into High-Occupancy Toll (HOT) Lanes. The project in question is the HOV lane on I-95 in Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade Counties. The study is based on information obtained from a literature review of HOT Lanes, equity analysis, and a general public attitude survey and analysis. Commuter acceptance of the concept was tested via telephone survey among residents of the three-county area. Findings from this project indicate that implanting a HOT Lane along the I-95 corridor would generate strong opposition from local residents, and require strategic public relations to minimize some of the negative feelings revealed in the survey.

Available from: Center for Urban Transportation Research, University of South Florida, College of Engineering, 4202 E. Fowler Avenue, CUT 100, Tampa, Florida 33620-5350.

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