1 NEW ORLEANS REGION TRANSIT COMPREHENSIVE OPERATIONS ANALYSIS SCOPE OF SERVICES RPC Project LA90X361 Overview Summary The purpose of the Comprehensive Operations Analysis (COA) is to provide detailed review of the existing transit system to enhance service quality for existing and new customers, and increase the value of the system for the community it serves. The study will include extensive data collection and analysis that will paint a picture of regional commuting patterns, latent demand, financial planning needs, operational deficiencies, and how best to close those deficiencies given existing resources. Using data collected in this analysis, the COA will present recommendations with the aim of increasing ridership and productivity throughout the region, more efficient utilization of limited financial resources, and generally improving connectivity both within and between adjacent service areas. The COA will integrate recommendations consistent with RPC s Congestion Management Planning Process as mandated by FHWA. Project Goals The key outcome of the COA will be the collection and analysis of transit trip making data that will be used in conjunction with recently released census data. These data will be used to review existing service provision in the region, and will provide the basis for the future planning of transit service in the greater New Orleans urbanized area. For the near term horizon, this effort will provide a series of recommendations for the region s major service providers, including route alterations designed to improve service effectiveness and efficiency, ways to create more seamless inter jurisdictional travel, strategies for allocating resources where they will be best utilized, and ways to modernize the route network based on current and projected conditions within the service area. A Title VI analysis will be completed for the recommendations to ensure that the proposed changes are equitably distributed throughout the transit service area. The development of the COA will be based on an evaluation of existing service through a comprehensive data collection effort. This effort will include the collection of pre existing data, studies, and plans where applicable. This effort will also include on board surveys undertaken for both Regional Transit Authority (RTA) and Jefferson Transit (JeT) of sufficient sample size and statistical validity to meet FTA requirements/ guidance as it relates to New Starts, as well as for input to the regional Travel Demand Model.
2 In order to gauge latent demand for transit in the region a randomized phone survey of non riders will also be performed. Data collected and analyzed as part of this effort will be used in a potential second phase of work that will broadly assess regional transit connectivity and comprehensive planning efforts in the New Orleans region. It is anticipated that the data collected in this effort will correlate with the release of more detailed 2010 Census and ACS products in the New Orleans MSA. Primary Participants/Stakeholders Regional Transit Authority The New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (RTA), which provides service in Orleans Parish and the City of Kenner in Jefferson Parish, is the largest transit provider in the region in both ridership and fleet size. The RTA services 29 fixed bus routes and 3 streetcar lines in Orleans Parish and one route in the City of Kenner in nearby Jefferson Parish. RTA s fleet size in the fall of 2010 is 83 motorbuses and 28 streetcars. RTA also operates curb to curb ADA paratransit service for eligible riders. The RTA, created in 1983 by the Louisiana Legislature, is a political subdivision of the state that has statutory authority to operate in Orleans, Jefferson, St. Bernard, and St. Tammany Parish. Veolia Transportation currently operates the RTA under a delegated management contract. Jefferson Transit Jefferson Transit (JeT) is the second largest transit provider in the region. JeT provides fixed route transit service within the urbanized portion of Jefferson Parish, which is directly west of Orleans Parish, as well as express service to the New Orleans Central Business District. As of 2010, JeT operated 35 buses on 11 fixed routes, as well as providing curb to curb ADA paratransit service for eligible riders. Jefferson Parish Department of Transit Administration oversees the management of Jefferson Transit, which is operated by a private entity. Currently JeT is operated by the same private entity as RTA, Veolia Transportation. Regional Planning Commission The Regional Planning Commission (RPC) serves as the Metropolitan Planning Organization for the New Orleans urbanized area, which contains the service areas of both Regional Transit Authority and Jefferson Transit, as well as smaller transit providers in St. Bernard, St. Tammany, and St. Charles Parishes. In addition to managing the program, RPC will provide coordinating and technical assistance on the creation of the COA. Advisory Committee A technical advisory committee will be formed at the outset of the project to solicit initial information, and provide guidance to the primary stakeholders throughout the COA development process and during post implementation monitoring. The primary members of the advisory committee will be staff
3 members from Regional Transit Authority, Jefferson Transit, and Regional Planning Commission, and the consulting team. Other members of the advisory committee that would provide input as needed potentially include staff from the Orleans and Jefferson Departments of Public Works and Traffic Engineering as well as their respective Planning departments St. Bernard Urban Rapid Transit, River Parish Transit Authority, St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development District 02, Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development Crescent City Connection Division, the Federal Transit Administration, and other representatives from Jefferson, Orleans, and other parishes, including council people and other municipal/parish leadership, as determined through consultation with the primary stakeholders. At the onset of the project, the primary members of the advisory committee will meet to discuss project issues, develop a detailed scope of work listing key work elements, and finalize a timeline for completion of key components of the project. The committee will meet on a monthly basis, for as many months as needed to complete the project (no more than 12). Monthly meetings will entail progress reports from the consultant detailing work completed to date, identification of outstanding issues, and scheduling forthcoming project work. The consultant will be responsible for the organization of the committee and for convening monthly meetings. Data Collection and Review Existing Data, Plans and Reports The study will include a review of available data, reports, and plans that pertain to the existing transit system and current and planned transportation and land use conditions in the study area that could affect transit use. The consultant will be responsible for compiling documentation, with assistance from the technical advisory committee. Documents necessary for review include, though may not be limited, to the following: 1) Daily/monthly/annual route summary reports, including ridership characteristics, passengers per bus mile, passengers per bus hour, and other measures deemed necessary to determine route productivity 2) Existing transit provider service standards and operations plans 3) Timetables and system maps 4) Annual operating budgets 5) Farebox recovery and revenue data 6) Origin Destination Survey data for other providers in the region, including River Parish Transit Authority, St. Bernard Urban Rapid Transit, GOSTAT (St. Tammany Area Transportation), and Crescent City Connection (see New Data Collection below) 7) Maintenance equipment and facility lists 8) Existing regional Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) and Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP) 9) Student travel datasets from major colleges and universities
4 10) Current and projected demographic data, with relevant mapping products, including: age, household size, income, automobile ownership, employment, others as deemed necessary 11) Roadway network information and LOS estimates and projections 12) Existing and planned land use and zoning studies, including the New Orleans Master Plan 13) New Orleans Coordinated Public Transit Human Services Transportation Plan 14) Other relevant third party studies, reports, and plans as determined through input from the advisory committee New Data Collection 1) On Board Origin Destination Survey The completion of an on board origin destination survey is a priority work task. To capture an accurate measure of customer travel purposes and to better evaluate means of matching services with customer needs, the COA will include the completion of an onboard origindestination survey of ridership in both the RTA and JeT systems. Specific sample planning design and implementation methodology will be developed through consultation with the primary stakeholders and finalized within ten days of the initial stakeholder meeting. The primary stakeholders will also determine priority routes for initial surveying efforts. The product of the survey will be a complete, organized data set and summary report for analysis toward the objectives of the COA, and suitable for input into the regional travel demand model. At a minimum, the hand delivered survey will collect data on trip origin, trip destination, trip purpose, route/operator transfers, and mode transfers. Surveys will also collect demographic information such as sex, age, income, household size, primary household language, and household vehicle ownership. The primary stakeholders will develop the content of the survey with the consultant and provide it to the consultant for pre testing. A pilot test survey will be conducted to insure the adequacy and performance of the survey logistics and the questionnaire. The consultant will review the results of the pilot effort and provide a brief summary of recommended revisions and logistical refinements. The consultant will also be responsible for having the approved survey translated into Spanish. The consultant is responsible for hiring and training staff needed to collect and validate onboard survey data, as well as creating surveying schedules for specific routes and trips. English and Spanish speaking surveyors will be responsible for offering surveys to all riders and assisting riders in completing the form. Surveyors should store completed surveys in sealed envelopes indicating route, date, starting and ending time, number of refusals, and number of completed surveys. The sampling plan should ensure that data collected is representative of every route, with the number of completed surveys as a percentage of the average daily ridership (ADR) of each line (as provided by RTA and JeT) determined as follows: 0 to 100 ADR: a minimum of 80 percent of ADR
5 101 to 500 ADR: a minimum of 50 percent of ADR 501 to 1,000 ADR: a minimum of 300 surveys More than 1,000 ADR, and streetcars: a minimum of 500 surveys The desired number of usable surveys should be no less than 7.5% of the total system ridership. Surveys will be conducted on weekdays in the spring of The consultant should employ a stratified random probability sample for selecting trips for survey work, with sampled trips on morning peak, afternoon peak, and off peak hours in both travel directions. Additional load information, as well as schedule adherence data and running times shall be collected for all trip segments. Following the collection of survey forms, the consultant will be responsible for determining the completeness and validity of responses and for coding open ended answers. The suitability of origin and destinations for geocoding will be confirmed. All information will be entered into a database and delivered to RPC as it is completed. Consultant will be responsible for geocoding the data with oversight and review by RPC staff. Data collection may reveal that additional survey work is required among smaller providers in the region to better understand regional transit connectivity. These providers include St. Bernard Urban Rapid Transit, River Parish Transit Authority, GOSTAT (St. Tammany Area Transportation), and the Crescent City Connection Ferries. If such deficiencies are revealed, the consultant will develop appropriate survey methodology through consultation with the primary stakeholders and the relevant operator. 2) Latent Demand Survey A latent demand survey will assess the potential of expanded transit service within the region, particularly where new service may be created or existing service may require adjustment to capture existing demand. The consultant will conduct a randomized user survey via telephone in both Orleans and Jefferson Parishes. Latent demand survey work should be supplemented through examination of demographic data, with emphasis on areas not presently served by transit or marginally served by transit. Land use studies and planning data should be analyzed to incorporate potential future demand. 3) Data Processing Basic data processing should be done simultaneously with field data collection to the extent possible. The resulting database will be reviewed, edited, and corrected using both manual and automated edit checks. The definition of data items required to constitute a usable sample will be proposed by the Consultant and approved by the RPC/ TAC.
6 As mentioned earlier, data collected will be consolidated into a geospatial database. The data will be factored at the route level using on board boarding and alighting count data. The consultant will develop and apply expansion factors to the data. In order to correct for disproportionate sampling, weighting of the response records will be undertaken by the consultant. The weights are a product of the following four factors: 1) Response Factor The response factor accounts for the fact that less than 100% of the boarding passengers will be interviewed. In order to calculate the response factor, the Contractor will use the recorded number of boarding passengers and the number of completed interviews. The system will be stratified by route, direction, service period, and bus or station on. It is understood that bus or station stop on may be aggregated in a reasonable and logical fashion, where appropriate. 2) Vehicle Factor The vehicle factor accounts for the fact that not all of the bus or rail trips in a stratum were sampled. In order to calculate the vehicle factor, the Contractor will use headway data to determine the number of scheduled trips by route, direction and time. 3) Boarding Factor The boarding factor expands the sampled boardings to an estimate of the total boardings on an average day. It is the product of the response factor and the vehicle factor. However, there is no guarantee that this build up approach will match observed ridership (based upon APC data) by route, direction, and time of day. The Contractor will compute a third factor that results in a reasonable match with actual observed ridership. 4) Linked Trip Factor The linked trip factor accounts for the fact that a person who transfers from one vehicle to another has multiple chances of being intercepted. It is equal to the reciprocal of the number of vehicles used. Systems Analysis Utilizing collected data, the study will include a system analysis that will evaluate route productivity and overall effectiveness of the network, including the interface between the two major service providers as well as with the smaller providers in the region. The study should include an identification and evaluation of key regional corridors. The consultant shall investigate and analyze current and projected land use, population densities, activity centers, and development plans and trends, and relate them to transit improvements or alterations. The study should take into consideration the effectiveness of the system at matching transit riders to employment centers or other services, as determined by the origin destination survey. The analysis should also determine where service levels are inadequate, in excess, or redundant given ridership demand and evolving regional land uses. The efficacy and ease of transfers between lines, as well as between systems and modes, should be assessed.
7 The consultant will use collected data to create route profiles that include information on running times, traffic conditions, route inter relationships and passenger activity to identify possible operational problems, ridership patterns, and trip generators. Title VI Environmental Justice Analysis An environmental justice analysis will be performed to determine the impacts of recommended changes on the region s minority populations, to identify the transit needs of these populations, and to develop strategies to avoid or mitigate any potential negative impacts, as per the requirements of Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. As part of this analysis, the RPC will assist the consultant in developing maps and data sets that graphically represent proposed service changes in relation to various concentrations of target demographics. These maps and demographic profiles, along with travel time analyses, should ensure that any proposed changes are equitably distributed in such a way that will avoid burden and provide benefits to disadvantaged populations. Summary and Recommendations Using data collected in previous tasks, the consultant should complete a profile for each route that will include and evaluate: Service hours and service miles operated Operating costs Peak buses Revenues Daily ridership by route segment, trip, and time of day for weekdays and weekends Hours, miles, and passengers by route for weekdays and weekends Passengers per hour by route, route segment, trip, time of day Passengers per mile by time of day for weekdays, Saturdays, and Sundays Schedule adherence and on time performance Maximum load points, load factors, and average trip lengths by time of day Ration of revenue miles to total miles operated Significant origin destination combinations Transfer patterns Operating cost per platform hour Revenue per vehicle service mile Operating cost per passenger Passenger miles Graphic comparison of demographic characteristics of riders to total population of service area by census tract Regional travel characteristics, particularly inter parish travel segments The study will conclude with a series of recommendations for service in the New Orleans metropolitan region over a five year time span. For each time span there should be three sets of recommendations. The three sets include one that is financially constrained, assuming no significant increase in revenues.
8 Another should describe a scenario wherein the assumption is a moderately expanded financial outlook with reasonably expected growth in revenue over the course of the planning horizons. The final set should assume a financially unconstrained scenario. The recommendations should include quantifiable and practically measurable performance measures to indicate progress of implementation goals and success toward meeting these standards. Alternative revenue sources in moderate and expansive scenarios should be identified in the study. Recommended improvements will maximize service and leverage projected resources in ways that best meet current and anticipated demographic, land use, and employment trends in the region in the near term. Projects should focus on identified major regional corridors and employment centers with the broader goal of improving coordination of service jurisdictions and promoting seamless regional travel. Route recommendations will include alignments, schedules, headways, hours of service, areas served, traffic considerations, and bus stop locations. All recommendations for fixed route service changes and/or new service should consider the additional costs of providing requisite ADA paratransit service. Short and long term recommendations should also consider innovative uses of technology, alternative sources of revenue, marketing, improved bicycle and pedestrian facilities adjacent to transit nodes, improved coordination between providers, modified fare structures, and alternative modal strategies such as Bus Rapid Transit and expansion of streetcar service. Budget The total budget for survey instrument development, pilot testing, data collection, database development expansion and weighting, analysis, transit service coordination, advisory committee support, report preparation and recommendations is in an amount not to exceed $350,000 Timeframe The study will be completed within twelve months from the selection of the consultant by the Regional Planning Commission, RTA, and JeT. The Origin and Destination on board survey is time sensitive, and should be considered a priority component of this work effort and should thus begin immediately following award of contract and the initial scoping meeting. Prior to commencement of work, the consultant will be required to have a pre contract scoping meeting with the RPC, RTA, and JeT to discuss and finalize the project timeline, milestones, deliverables, and reporting requirements.