In 2017, colleague William High and I, while both were still at Nelson\Nygaard Consulting Associates, completed TCRP Synthesis 135, a landmark research effort comparing ADA paratransit service models.
Transit agencies with ADA complementary paratransit obligations have a choice of the type of service model design they implement. Historically, ADA paratransit service model designs have evolved organically, with small changes implemented to address specific needs. However, as ADA paratransit demand has continued to grow, there is increasing pressure on transit agencies to be cost efficient as possible, while maintaining service quality standards. As a result, some transit agencies have been questioning whether or not their current service model reflects the optimal platform to achieve their desired balance between service quality and cost efficiency, and are reviewing alternative ways to restructure their service design model. Larger systems have chosen a variety of approaches, which have included:
- A split structures with the transit agency performing some of the functions and its contractor(s) providing other functions.
- Contracting with a firm or broker to perform some or all of the call and control functions.
- Utilizing multiple carriers with zone assignments or unzoned packages of work.
- Utilizing non-dedicated service providers (and mostly taxis) in an integrated fashion to serve ADA paratransit trips.
The Synthesis itself can be found here.
So, TRB asked me to present the findings from Synthesis 135 on October 9. The National Transit Institute (NTI) at Rutgers hosted the event. Will’s presentation focused on (1) what defines a service model, (2) what types of service models – there were 25! — are represented among 29 of the largest and complex ADA paratransit systems who participated in the synthesis, (3) the benefits and shortcomings of each type and in some cases, the underlying reasons why service model changes were implemented, and (4) the themes illuminated by service and cost performance results which can be traced to the service models.
Approximately 100 attendees signed up, and there was some lively chats and questions that arose. One of the comments that came in after the webinar said…
“Just wanted to send you a quick note. That was one of the best webinars I’ve ever attended. I love how you tightened up your presentation to 30 minutes so we had plenty of time for discussion, and your style was really welcoming.”