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2003 Research Reports

The following page contains currently relevant FTA-funded and supported research reports published in the year 2003.

Copies of these research publications can be located via the Transportation Research Information Services (TRIS), a searchable database of publications, reports and articles maintained by the Transportation Research Board and supported by state and federal agencies.

2003 Status Report on Transit Intelligent Vehicle Initiative Studies

Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, C.Y. David Yang, Brian P. Cronin, Neil R. Meltzer, and Margaret E. Zirker. Prepared for the Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office (JPO) of the U.S. Department of Transportation, June 2003, 16pp.

The 2003 Status Report presents an overview and an update of current studies related to the transit Intelligent Vehicle Initiative (IVI) program area. The report begins with an overview of the DOT multi-agency research and development IVI program, introducing the goals and objectives, management structure, four participating DOT agencies and IVI vehicle platforms, and activities. IVI emphasizes the significant role of drivers in roadway safety, and focuses on accelerating the development, availability and use of driving assistance and control intervention systems to reduce vehicle crashes. IVI system’s ultimate goal is to help drivers process information, make decisions, and operate vehicles more safely. Information presented in this report focuses on the status of projects under the transit platform of the IVI program, managed by the FTA. The emphasis of the transit IVI program is divided into two major areas. Section 2 presents Transit IVI Projects addressing two driving conditions. First, the Imminent Crash Situations—Projects in this area include IVI frontal collision warning system, side collision warning system, rear impact collision warning system, and integrated collision warning system. These projects are intended to reduce "imminent crash situations" in the transit-operating environment. Second, the Degraded Driving Conditions—Projects in this area are designed to assist bus operators in "degraded driving conditions." One example is the vehicle-lane assist technology project. Vehicle-lane assist technology is intended to improve the safety of transit vehicles as they operate in difficult environments, such as bus-only shoulders. The third and final Section 3, Future Outlook—presents a brief overview of the Next Generation of Transit IVI Technology: Integrated Collision Warning System. Key contact persons for information related to Transit IVI studies are provided.
Report Order Number: FTA-TRI-11-2003.1

Evaluation of Port Authority of Allegheny’s West Busway Bus Rapid Transit Project

Milligan & Company, LLC. Prepared for FTA Office of Mobility Innovation (Stewart McKeown, TRI-12), April 2003, 49pp. Project FTA-PA-26-7010.03.1

This report documents the evaluation of the successful Pittsburgh West Busway project of the Port Authority of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania—an FTA Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Demonstration Project. The evaluation is intended to provide the FTA and the transit industry with a better understanding of how technological advancements, BRT features and improvements in the image of buses operating with the speed, reliability, and efficiency of light rail transit, can increase transit ridership. The objectives of this evaluation were 1) to determine the benefits, costs, and other impacts of BRT components that contributed to the West Busway project success; 2) to characterize the successful and unsuccessful aspects of the demonstration; 3) to evaluate the demonstration’s achievements in terms of the goals set by FTA and the Port Authority; and 4) to assess the applicability of the demonstration results including ITS applications. The West Busway project was designed to improve mobility within the congested Parkway West corridor, as well as reduce traffic congestion and travel time, and improve access to job opportunities. This report provides background information and the overall project cost of the West Busway project, as well as the project development activities including the planning, design, and implementation of the BRT system.

Available From: National Technical Information Service/NTIS, Springfield, VA 22161.
Report Order Number: FTA-PA-26-7010-03.1

Guidance for Developing and Deploying Real-Time Traveler Information Systems for Transit

Battelle Laboratories, Mala Raman, Carol Schweiger, et al. Prepared for ITS Joint Program Office (Brian Cronin, TRI-11), April 2003, 139 pp. CD-ROM
Project No. FTA-OH-26-7017-2003.01.

Guidance for Developing and Deploying Real-Time Traveler Information Systems for Transit is designed for use by transit agencies considering the implementation of a real-time traveler information system. It presents a best practices assessment of the transit industry regarding the development and deployment of real-time traveler information systems. Automatic vehicle location (AVL) system is identified as the critical hardware feature of real-time traveler information systems, offering the transit industry the opportunity to provide customers with real-time information—thus enabling riders to make better pre-trip and en-route decisions. This guidance report provides key information about the current state of the practice, clarifies the components of successful systems, discusses issues and challenges that must be addressed in deployment, and offers lessons learned and recommended practices for the successful deployment and future of these real-time traveler information systems. Recommended practices that led to successful deployment of the real-time systems are identified in the key stages of project development. The study is based on information obtained from a literature review, site visits and telephone interviews with 16 selected transit agencies, and coordination with other efforts, including the Transit Cooperative Research Program. Two appendices provide a list of participating transit agencies, and supporting case studies describing each of the 16 transit agencies’ Real-time Transit Information System. This report will assist practitioners in planning and deployment of real-time traveler information systems.

Report Available From: National Technical Information Service/NTIS, Springfield, VA 22161.
Report Order Number: FTA-OH-26-7017-2003.01

Northeast Florida Rural Transit Intelligent Transportation System

Battelle Laboratory, Nancy Coburn and Deepak Gopalakrishna, under contract to Volpe Transportation Systems Center. Prepared for FTA Office of Research, Demonstration and Innovation (TRI-11), February 2003, 76pp. Project Number FTA-MA-26-7007-03.1

Low productivity of paratransit services, lack of both inter- and intra-county trip coordination, and the high cost of long-distance and out-of-county trips generated this study. This report documents the results of the evaluation of the Northeast Florida Rural Transit Intelligent transportation System (ITS) project—a demonstration of ITS technology deployment in three rural Florida counties: Flagler, St. Johns, and Putnam. The research focused on the impact of ITS technology deployment to improve the mobility, efficiency, and productivity of rural paratransit service in these counties. The project objective was to test and evaluate the effectiveness of ITS technologies for rural transit operations, including—mobility management software applications, Geographical Information Systems (GIS), Global Positioning Satellite-based Automatic Vehicle Location (GPS/AVL) systems, Mobile Data Terminals, and electronic applications (email and web-based information). Information was obtained from interviews with participating agencies, and data obtained from the Florida Commission for the Transportation Disadvantaged. This report is organized into six chapters—begins with an overview of the three participating counties, and ends with lessons learned, recommendations, and valuable insights for ITS deployment in the future. The main text discusses in detail the Evaluation Methodology; Pre- and Post-ITS Deployment Operations, and the Evaluation Results in terms of mobility, productivity and efficiency. The study concludes that ITS technology offers opportunities for rural transit systems to improve productivity, efficiency, and mobility. The project’s most profound effects were related to productivity.

Available From: National Technical Information Service/NTIS, Springfield, VA 22161.
Report Order Number: FTA-MA-26-7007-03.1

The Public Transportation System Security and Emergency Preparedness Planning Guide

Volpe Transportation Systems Center, J.N. Balog, A Boyd, and J.E. Caton. Prepared for FTA Office of Safety and Security, January 2003, 194pp. Project Number FTA-MA-26-5019-03.01

The Public Transportation System and Emergency Preparedness Planning Guide was prepared to support the activities of public transportation systems to plan for and respond to major security threats and emergencies. It is based on research aimed at identifying practical steps that transit systems can take to be better prepared for all emergencies. Recommendations support the industry’s commitment to prevent those events that can be prevented and to minimize the impact of those that cannot. The Guide begins with an Executive Overview, highlighting key activities to be performed by public transportation systems to prevent and improve response capabilities for all emergencies. The Guide emphasizes the importance of developing critical relationships, preparing strategies and policies, and setting training and funding priorities, as well as developing a security and emergency preparedness program (SEPP) plan. This Guide offers practical guidance for planning effectively, spending wisely, and making the public transportation infrastructure safer. The Guide is organized into eight sections and six appendices. It builds on a previous FTA publication—the Transit System Security Program Planning Guide. The earlier guide is available on the CD-ROM accompanying this report, along with more than 200 related documents--prepared by federal and state organizations, industry associations, law enforcement, emergency management organizations, and the military. These documents explain the roles and responsibilities of the 47 federal agencies involved in homeland security and provide useful technical assistance on a range of security and emergency management subjects. Sample procedures and model plans of transit operators are included.

Available From: National Technical Information Service/NTIS, Springfield, VA 22161.
Report Order Number: FTA-MA-26-5019-03.01

Design Guidelines for Bus Transit Systems Using Electric and Hybrid-Electric Propulsion as an Alternative Fuel. Clean Air Program

MJ Bradley & Associates (Thomas Balon), Technology & Management Systems, Inc. (Phami Raj), under contract to Volpe Center (William P. Chernicoff). Prepared for FTA Office of Technology (Jeffrey Mora), March 2003. Project FTA-MA-26-7071-03.1

This report is one of the Clean Air Program series of published documents on the safe use of alternative fuels. It is easy to understand and presents guidelines that will assist transit agencies in converting from diesel to electric or hybrid electric transit bus propulsion. The report presents design guidelines for transit buses using electric and hybrid-electric propulsion technology as an alternative fuel. These buses offer transit agencies a way to reduce local emissions without costly alternative fuel infrastructure costs. This guidelines document is intended to provide transit agencies with an overview of the battery electric and hybrid-electric technologies, recommended safety specifications in bus design, and training for personnel involved with purchasing, operating, and maintaining electric and hybrid-electric buses. The report contains basic information on electrical and operational safety for transit and non-transit personnel, such as emergency responders to an accident. It highlights the various facility and bus design issues relating to the safe operation of electric or hybrid electric propulsion, including: fueling facility, garaging facility, maintenance facility requirements and safety practices. Other issues discussed include electric storage device properties, potential hazards, requirements for specified level of service, applicable codes and standards, and critical fuel related safety issues. Appendix A provides a list of rules, regulations, and standards that will increase the knowledge base for understanding electric and hybrid-electric buses and infrastructure. Documents in this series are similar in content and have been published for Compressed Natural Gas, Hydrogen, Liquefied Petroleum Gas, and Methanol/Ethanol. Currently there are approximately 220 electric buses, 90 hybrid-electric buses and trolleys, and 6 fuel cell buses operating in the U.S. 2003-0428

Available From: National Technical Information Service/NTIS,
Report Number: FTA-MA-26-7071-03.1

Use of Left Turn Gates at Highway-Railroad Grade Crossings on the Los Angeles Metro Blue Line

PB Farradyne, Division of Parsons Brinckerhoff Quade & Douglas, Inc. Prepared for Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA) and FTA Office of Technology (Rhonda Crawley, TRI-20), December 2002, 60pp.
Project Number FTA-CA-26-7010-01

Accident records for Los Angeles Metro Blue Line indicate that a large number of train/vehicle collisions occur at grade crossings where streets run parallel to light rail transit (LRT) track, and motorists are permitted to make left turns across the tracks. This safety improvement project was undertaken to investigate the application of left turn gates at highway-rail grade crossing to reduce train/vehicle accidents at these locations. The study is based on a review of various left turn gate configurations and types. From the review, the use of full closure four quadrant crossing gates technology was selected—offering a number of advantages over the other systems reviewed. This report documents the results of the experimental full closure four quadrant crossing gate system, installed in October 1998 at the 124th Street intersection in south central Los Angeles to deter motorist from making left turns around lowered railroad crossing gates. During this experimental phase of four quadrant gates, over 41,000 Long Beach Blue Line light rail trains and Union Pacific Railroad freight trains passed through the intersection at speeds up to 55 miles per hour. Data recorded for the first six months of the operation at the 124th Street intersection shows that the four quadrant gate approach is working to prevent motorists from driving around the lowered crossing gates--a 94 percent reduction in the number of risky moves by motorist using the intersection. The use of full closure crossing gates at the 124th Street intersection is supplemented with a trapped vehicle detection system. This safety improvement system is effective and still in operation.

Available From: National Technical Information Service/NTIS, Springfield, VA 22161.
Report Number: FTA-CA-26-7010-01

FTA Drug and Alcohol Program Assessment

Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, Jerry Powers. Prepared for FTA Safety & Security Office, October 2002, 56pp. Project Number FTA-MA-26-5010-02.2

The FTA Drug and Alcohol Program Assessment report documents an analysis of the results of mandatory drug and alcohol testing by transit systems that receive funds from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). The program is designed to help transit agencies achieve a drug and alcohol free workforce in the interest of the health and safety of transit employees and the traveling public. This report presents the results of a Substance Abuse Program and Methods of Evaluation study conducted by the Volpe Center in fiscal year 2000. It provides a comprehensive overview of the FTA drug and alcohol program, including information on program costs, benefits, audits, and second chance programs, as well as conclusions. The study is designed to determine the progress of the Drug and Alcohol Compliance Program in meeting U.S. Department of Transportation and FTA strategic goals and objectives. The analysis helps the FTA to determine whether the current program is operating effectively and efficiently, while providing options for allocating limited resources to optimize results. Utilizing 5 years of data and 7 years of experience administering the program, the assessment demonstrates the effectiveness of the FTA Drug and Alcohol program and the ability of transit agencies to contribute significant economic benefits to both industry and society as a whole by effectively enforcing the regulations. The study concludes that the actual economic impact of the program over the first 5 years has shown costs of $154 million and benefits of $1.161 billion. Thus, the net economic benefit shown by the FTA Drug and Alcohol Testing Program in the first 5 years stands at $1.007 million. In addition to economic benefits, the program has allowed the transit industry to avoid 596 accidents and thus saved 5 lives and avoided 524 injuries.

Also Available From: National Technical Information Service/NTIS, Springfield, VA 22161.
Report Order Number: FTA-MA-26-5010-02.2

Handbook for Transit Safety and Security Certification

Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, Robert J. Adduci, Annabelle Boyd, and Jim Caton. Prepared for FTA Safety & Security Office, November 2002, 50pp.
Project Number FTA-MA-90-5006-02.01

The Joint Task Force on Safety and Security Certification, established between FTA and the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), prepared this Handbook for Transit Safety and Security Certification to support the implementation of practices that result in the design and construction of transit projects that maximize safety and security performance. Certification for safety and security is defined as the series of processes that collectively verify the safety and security readiness of a project for public use. This Handbook presents procedures that will provide transit management and members of the project team with a basic understanding of the certification practice, enabling them to address safety and security requirements in a consistent and dedicated program throughout the development process. The Handbook provides a guide for establishing a certification program to address safety and security that identifies key activities; incorporates safety and security more fully into transit projects; highlights resources necessary to develop and implement a certification program for safety and security; and provides tools and sample forms to promote implementation of the safety and security certification process. Overall, the Handbook consists of two chapters. Chapter 1 – The Basics, introduces the basic concepts of certification for safety and security. Chapter 2—The Tools, introduces three tools supporting the safety and security certification process: Well-Defined Project Scope; Safety and Security Certification Plan; and 10-Step Safety and Security Certification Methodology. Four appendices include: Project Life Cycle Definitions, Resource Guide, and Sample Design and Construction Specification Form.

Also Available From: National Technical Information Service/NTIS, Springfield, VA 22161.
Report Order Number: FTA-MA-90-5006-02.01

Last updated: Wednesday, December 9, 2015