Benefit

Coordinating human service transportation across funding sources can increase passengers per revenue hour by 10 percent.

Simulation of two rural paratransit service providers in North and South Carolina.


August 1, 2013


Summary Information

Over 80 federal programs fund human services transportation for the "transportation disadvantaged", which includes the aging population, persons with disabilities, low-income individuals, and military veterans. These programs have different eligibility rules and individuals can be eligible for multiple programs. The US DOT launched the Mobility Services for All Americans (MSAA) in response to a 2004 Executive Order to encourage better coordination of human services transportation (HST) at the federal level.

Methodology
This study sought to quantify the potential benefits of coordinating HST in rural areas because there was a lack of literature with quantified benefits of service coordination. The goal of the research was to define a reasonable expectation of coordination impacts by a few key performance indicators, including: vehicle miles traveled, vehicle hours traveled, passenger load, and passenger trip times. The objective was to simulate and compare potential system performance impacts of program-level trip coordination on transportation providers.

The authors chose two multi-county study areas in North Carolina (KARTS) and South Carolina (SWRTA) and used actual trip request data to simulate different levels of coordination based on the funding sources for the trips. Using the funding sources for each trip, each trip was categorized as Medicaid, Aging, or Other. Medicaid trips were any trips that were funded by the local Medicaid office. Aging trips were any trips funded by the local Councils on Aging and FTA 5310 grants. Other trips were all other requested trips with funding sources that did not fall into the Medicaid or Aging categories.

Two days of actual trip request data were processed and simulated using 3 scenarios: Some Coordination, More Coordination, and Full Coordination. Some Coordination distributed the vehicle fleet proportionally to the three groups based on the number of trips requested for each of the funding categories. The trips within each category were all assigned to vehicles designated for that group and passengers from different funding groups were not commingled. The More Coordination scenario pooled the vehicle fleets and trips for the Aging and Other funding categories and the same process was repeated. Lastly, the Full Coordination scenario utilized the full fleet of vehicles and trips and optimized trips regardless of funding source to represent the ideal coordination scenario.

Findings
The agency in South Carolina (SWRTA) saw 10 to 13 percent improvements in operating efficiency when comparing the Full Coordination scenario to the Some Coordination scenario (Table 1). KARTS, in North Carolina, saw 7 to 9 percent improvements in operating efficiency when comparing the Full Coordination scenario to the Some Coordination scenario (Table 2).

Table 1: SWRTA Aggregate Performance Measures - September 18-19, 2013
Performance MeasuresScenario #1
Some Coordination
Scenario #2
More Coordination
Scenario #3
Full Coordination
% Difference (Scenario 1 and 3)% Difference (Scenario 2 and 3)
Total Vehicle Hours (hrs.)
1,141
1,105
1,024
-10%
-7%
Total Revenue Hours (hrs.)
1,024
1,000
925
-10%
-7%
Total Vehicle Distance (mi.)
21,634
20,525
18,826
-13%
-8%
Total Revenue Distance (mi.)
17,126
16,519
15,424
-10%
-7%
Passengers per Revenue Hour
1.53
1.57
1.69
11%
8%
# of Vehicles Used
Day 1:  51 vehicles - Day 2: 65 vehicles

Table 2: KARTS Aggregate Performance Measures - September 18-19, 2013
Performance MeasuresScenario #1
Some Coordination
Scenario #2
More Coordination
Scenario #3
Full Coordination
% Difference (Scenario 1 and 3)% Difference (Scenario 2 and 3)
Total Vehicle Hours (hrs.)
730
700
672
-8%
-4%
Total Revenue Hours (hrs.)
660
630
604
-9%
-4%
Total Vehicle Distance (mi.)
14,989
14,714
13,946
-7%
-5%
Total Revenue Distance (mi.)
12,429
12,173
11,514
-7%
-5%
Passenger per Revenue Hour
1.65
1.73
1.81
9%
4%
# of Vehicles Used
Day 1:  37 vehicles - Day 2: 32 vehicles

Overall, passengers only experienced minimal increases in individual trip times as a result of increased coordination, and in some cases, saw decreases in trip time (Table 3).


Scenario
Average Trip Time (minutes)
Some Coordination
More Coordination
Full Coordination
SWRTA
Medicaid Only (45%)
57.8
57.8
54.8
Aging (19%)
48.6
50.6
 53.2*
Others (36%)
53.9
51.8
52.9
Total
54.3
53.8
53.6
KARTS
Medicaid Only (33%)
45.2
45.2
   51.4*+
Aging (33%)
47.8
52.2
53.3
Others (34%)
50.0
53.9
52.9
Total
47.7
50.5
 52.5*
*Statistically significant at 95% level of confidence between Some and Full
+ Statistically significant at 95% level of confidence between More and Full

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Source

Uncover the Impacts of Coordinating Human Service Transportation - One Study, Two Locations and Three What-if Coordination Scenarios

Author: Carolina Burnier, Amy Jacobi, Gwo-Wei Torng, and Yehuda Gross

Published By: Transportation Research Board

This paper was presented at the 2014 TRB Conference.

Source Date: August 1, 2013

URL: http://assets.conferencespot.org/fileserver/file/65082/filename/14-3940.pdf

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Goal Areas

Efficiency

Typical Deployment Locations

Rural Areas

Keywords

human service transportation, paratransit, automated scheduling, coordination

Benefit ID: 2013-00888