Pandemic: Recalibrating Public Transportation’s Response to New Realities: Lessons Learned, Best Practices
Need and Purpose: Throughout the
United States transit agencies of all sizes are curtailing services, changing
operating policies and practices and deferring capital projects to deal with
COVID-19 related ridership declines, health concerns and budgetary impacts.
This study will document and evaluate various implementation approaches from
around the country in order to catalogue best practices, lessons learned and
new ideas. The end products will provide useful guidance and information for
transit agencies and policy makers for on-going and prospective implementation
Background: In early 2020 many
transit agencies were experiencing sustained and dramatic ridership growth and
increasing public and elected official acceptance as a means to: reduce
dependency on single-occupant auto travel; shape community growth, development
and revitalization; serve the needs of a diverse population and labor force.
After March 2020, all of these positive indicators began to recede; in most
cases dramatically. Confronted with plummeting ridership, growing revenue
losses and public concerns that proximity on transit vehicles poses health
risks, transit agencies reluctantly but realistically began to pull back. A
variety of actions, both transit operations-related and health-related, were
implemented. Transit agency responses are continuing to evolve as the pandemic
shutdowns continue in some areas, and phase I,II, and III re-openings are
starting to occur around the country.
New approaches may emerge as hot spots of infections appear, even
though, in some areas, the initial wave of the virus’ impacts has receded.
Develop lessons learned, best
practices, and most importantly guidance for transit agency strategies and
action based upon phased levels of future pandemic and other major extended
events/disruptions in American lifestyles, economic activity and travel
This research is urgently needed
to capture agency policies, actions, and impacts to the Pandemic while they are
fresh in people’s minds, and data is still available. There will be re-lapses of Covid-19
outbreaks, and other events and the sooner lessons learned and best practices
are available that cover transit agencies of all sizes and environments across
the country and the services they provide the better.
Ongoing tracking of the COVID-19 impact on transit agencies by APTA and the FTA
Through a combination of surveys,
interviews and case studies, the re-searchers will develop a portrait of
existing practices by small, medium and large transit agencies on operating
procedures and public information practices related to the virus. Changes from
existing policies and practices will be defined, as well as reactions, both pro
and con, from policy makers and transit ridership. Lessons learned, and best
practices will be highlighted, including success stories of impacts on
ridership change and public acceptance. Review of progress on study tasks will
be coordinated with the study panel created at the study’s inception.
The end products of the study
will include a final report summarizing the surveys, interviews and case study
findings. An executive summary of lessons learned and best practices will also
be prepared, including a status re-port on implementation and outcomes. The
final products will be summarized in a PowerPoint, suitable for presentations
at conferences and similar meetings of practitioners and the public. The analysis
and end products from this study will be of benefit to transit agency
practitioners, management, elected officials and policy makers at various
levels of government, as they collectively continue to deal with COVID-19
impacts and the need for on-going monitoring and effective implementation
Continued policy and performance monitoring of select transit agencies.
The proposed research responds to the US DOT Strategic Goals of Safety and Accountability and meets the following TCRP Strategic Priorities:
—Place the Public Transportation Customer First
—Continuously Improve Public Transportation
—Flourish in the Multi-Modal Environment..
|Sponsoring Committee:||AP025, Public Transportation Planning and Development
|Research Period:||12 - 24 months|
|RNS Developer:||Richard G. Bickel, FAICP, Senior Advisor, Econsult Solutions, 610-649-9335; email@example.com FAX: 215-382-1895. on behalf of AP025 Public Transportation Planning and Development Committee|
|Source Info:||APTA and FTA websites|
|Index Terms:||Communicable diseases, COVID-19, Public transit, Transit operating agencies, Lessons learned, Best practices, Public health, Demand responsive transportation, |
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