Marlene Connor Associates was selected by CityBus to review and evaluate the operational criteria and reporting processes used to submit data for potential funding under the Federal Transit Administration Small Transit Intensive Cities program that provides additional funding for agencies in areas with populations over 50,000 and less than 250,000 that exceed the national average for six operational criteria. Historically, CityBus had been successful in attaining funding under four of the criteria, the purpose of the study was to determine whether additional planning or policy decisions could influence the opportunity to meet the remaining two criteria.
The initial phase of the work was focused on fully understanding all attributes of the system, including the impact of the riders associated with Purdue University and the overall route structure and system framework within the service area. Since the STIC evaluation process is directly connected to National Transit Database reporting, MCA also interviewed CityBus staff responsible for sampling ridership and discussed potential options and modifications with respect to sampling alternatives and techniques.
The second phase of the study included developing a short survey to be discussed with a sample of peer agencies. Survey questions included comparative demographic data, understanding of system structure, influences of college and university populations and an overview of sampling processes used, including any addition of ancillary services.
The results of the first phases were then discussed with CityBus staff at a planning meeting, which included a number of issues as well as the STIC related evaluation. In general, the short distance of most system trips, made by persons proximate to the Purdue campus, limits the ability to compete with other locales that have a number of longer distance trips, especially those associated with colleges and universities. There does appear, however, to be some potential through minor system redesign to exceed the fifth criteria. But CityBus must ensure that modifications do not affect the existing criteria.
The final results were presented to the Board and discussed with senior staff. There was consensus that the STIC process was more than an external funding opportunity, but rather should be incorporated into the activities of the agency, including operational, funding, policy and planning.
The revised processes were used in the most recent NTD submittal which contributed to CityBus achieving an additional STIC factor for increased funding.
Martin B. Sennett
msennett [at] gocitybus.com
PO Box 588