5. Conclusions & Recommendations
The demographic profile of Jamestown is dominated by an aging, diminishing population. Almost all current riders of James River's paratransit service are either elderly, physically or mentally handicapped, or both. Because of this, fixed-route requirements have to be specialized to allow a percentage of current riders to utilize the service. Currently, new ridership will not provide a sufficient amount of riders to make a fixed-route feasible.
The research team believes that the two best options for Jamestown to consider are the Half Town Fixed-Route and the Flex Route. The Half Town Route would cover a large portion of town giving it the ability to attract both current and potential riders. Also, with its current route it would have the ability to stop hourly at Jamestown College to offer service to both students and faculty. Marketing the service on campus will be critical to promote ridership, especially for students who do not have an automobile available for their own personal transportation. Offering introductory free service would allow students to become familiar with the service and its positive attributes.
The Flex Route is likely the most feasible route based on James River's current ridership. It allows riders to use a combination of the paratransit and fixed-route services at a lower cost than using the paratransit service solely. The Flex Route will also encourage riders to plan ahead and walk to designated stops to save money by paying the reduced fare. It will also lessen the pressure on James River's current paratransit service area allowing it to focus on an area outside of the Flex Route's service area. The Flex Route will not serve as large a potion of town as the Half Town Route, however, thereby limiting its attraction to potential riders who want service to and from their place of residence.
The cost evaluation shows that switching a large portion of current rides from paratransit to fixed-route is not necessary to save money when comparing the two services. However, it is quite obvious that the more rides taken on a fixed-route, the more affordable the service becomes for both the riders and the transit association. Unfortunately, many of James River Transit's current riders have physical or mental disabilities which may inhibit their ability to utilize a fixed-route service. This fact has been taken into consideration throughout the research process. The attraction of new riders to a fixed-route, whether they be college students, local residents, or some other source, is important to the longevity of a fixed-route's success in Jamestown.
A main goal of the James River Transit study is to provide a useful tool for other transit agencies to utilize in determining whether or not a fixed-route bus system is a feasible alternative in their community. Comparisons between Jamestown and other communities can provide insights into what options are available to local transit agencies. Ultimately, the goal of this research is to promote the responsiveness and efficiency of transit agencies throughout North Dakota and the entire country.
Bowe, F. Transportation: A Key to Independent Living. Archives of Physical and Medical Rehabilitation, Vol. 60, 1979, pp. 483-486.
Denson, Carol R. Transitioning to Fixed-Route Services. Transportation Research Record, No. 1623, 1998, pp. 37-44.
Kirby, R. F., K. U. Bhatt, M. A. Kemp, R. G. McGillivray, and M. Wohl. Para-Transit: Neglected Options for Urban Mobility. Urban Institute, Washington, D. C., 1974.
Hickman, Mark and Kelly Blume, A Investigation of Integrated Transit Service. Southwest Region University Transportation Center, No. 472840-00023-1, 2001, pp. 1-48.
Sowden, Susan and Laurie Wick, Moving Paratransit Customers to Fixed-Route: The British Columbia Transit Community Travel Training Program. Bus & Paratransit Conference, Calgary, Alberta. 2001.
O'Connell, L., Siria, B., and Grossardt, T. Bringing Fixed-Route Transit Service to Small Cities and Towns. Transportation Research Record, No. 1791, 2002, pp. 72-77.
Porter, D. R. Transit Focused Development. TCRP Synthesis 20. National Academy Press, Washington D.C., 1997.
Lave, Roy and Rosemary Mathis. State of the Art Paratransit. Transportation Research Board, No. A1E10, 2001, pp. 1-7.
Giuliano, G., J.E. Moore II, T. O'Brien and J. Golob. San Gabriel Valley Smart Shuttle Technology (SGVSST) Field Operational Test Evaluation: Final Report. Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Berkeley, ISSN 1055-1425, 2002, pp. 1-118.
Greschner, Jurgen. Technology Integration of Fixed-Route and Paratransit Service. INIT Innovations in Transportation, Inc. American Public Transportation Association, 2001, pp. 1-5.
Li, Qiang and Carl Kurt. GIS-Based Itinerary Planning System for Multimodal and Fixed-Route Transit Network. Mid-Continent Transportation Symposium Proceedings, 2001, pp. 47-50.
APTA General Definitions. http://www.apta.com/research/stats/overview/gendef.cfm., 2003.