Title

CURRENT PRACTICES IN THE USE OF SERVICE EVALUATION STANDARDS AT PUBLIC TRANSIT AGENCIES

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

1998

Subject Area

planning - surveys, planning - standards, economics - appraisal/evaluation, place - north america, mode - mass transit

Keywords

Transit services, Transit operating agencies, Transit lines, Transit, Surveys, Standards, Public transit lines, Public transit, Public hearings, North America, Miami-Dade Transit, Measures of effectiveness, Mass transit lines, Mass transit, Local transit, Implementation, Guidelines, Evaluation and assessment, Effectiveness, Decision making, Data collection, Data acquisition

Abstract

Service standards provide a transit agency with a mechanism to evaluate its service in an objective, consistent, and equitable manner. During these times of shrinking operating budgets, service standards can provide the means by which limited resources are best allocated. Another major objective of service standards is the design and implementation of new service. This project was completed for the Miami-Dade Transit Agency (MDTA) in Southeast Florida. Its purpose was to review the current MDTA service planning guidelines to determine if more formal guidelines or standards should be adopted, develop an updated set of guidelines, and recommend a final set of guidelines and an implementation process. An early step in the development of the service guidelines was to conduct a survey of peer transit systems across North America. The survey identified the existing levels of standards use, including whether the standards are formally adopted, the process of implementing the standards, and their effectiveness in meeting the agency's goals. The survey results uncovered passionate feelings for and against the use of strict standards among the agencies. Also, those surveyed shared their strategies for persuading their governing bodies to adopt staff recommendations for service adjustments. Public hearing and decision-making processes were also addressed in the survey. It was important to explore the relationships among transit planning staff, the agency's governing body, and the public.