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South Dakota Department of Transportation
Project Synopsis

Title: Transportation Information System Study
Project Researcher: Rob Reiman,
Project Manager: Dave Huft
Research Period: -
Cost: $0.00

Problem Statement:Public transportation needs in South Dakota are affected by several significant trends. As the states population ages, and as physically and mentally disabled persons are being deinstitutionalized, the demand for transportation for the elderly and disabled increases. Because of the states relatively low per-capita earnings, many workers depend upon public transportation to travel to work; this need is particularly acute among low-income minority groups. Population shifts from small rural communities to larger towns and cities have increased the demand for transportation services in some locations. At the same time, many of the states smaller towns are losing grocery stores and medical facilities, forcing rural residents to travel farther for essential services. While demand and capital and operating costs associated with public transportation have increased, Federal subsidies (Title IIIB, Section 9, Section 16(b)(2), and Section 18) have remained relatively constant. Transit operators have cited economic reasons for reducing service (operating hours and geographical area) and postponing vehicle replacement and maintenance.

Although these general trends have been noted, the precise funding needs of public and specialized transportation remain unknown. While expenses, service levels, and ridership of existing transit operations have been documented to some extent, potential ridership has not been quantified. The acceptability of public transportation to the presently unserved public is unknown, as is individuals and localities ability to pay for transportation services. The economic and administrative impact of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act has likewise not been estimated. Without this information, it has been impossible for executive and legislative branches of state government to ascertain whether state subsidization of public and specialized transportation is warranted.


Research Objectives:
1  To assess the market for public and specialized transportation services in South Dakota in terms of demand (both presently served and unserved), citizens' willingness to use public transportation, and sources of financial support.
2  To estimate capital and operating costs required during the next five years to sustain existing public transportation services, to extend existing services into adjacent unserved areas, and to establish new operations in remaining unserved markets.
3  To estimate the impact of the Americans with Disabilities Act on public transportation funding needs in South Dakota.
4  To describe and evaluate funding mechanisms and allocation formulas neighboring states use to fund public transportation.

Research Tasks:
1  Review literature pertinent to South Dakota's rural and urban public and specialized transportation needs.
2  Identify existing providers of publicly funded mass transit services and determine their existing needs for capital replacements, capital expansions, and administrative and operating costs for a five year period, FY1993 to FY1997. This task shall inv
3  Identify geographic areas currently served by publicly funded mass transit service providers and make qualitative and quantitative assessments regarding the adequacy of these services, taking into account population and income characteristics of each
4  Identify geographic areas and/or population categories which are presently unserved by publicly funded mass transit operators and develop capital, administrative, and operating cost estimates to address unserved transit needs. The estimate is to be s
5  Survey neighboring states' policies and regulations regarding funding mechanisms and allocation formulas for support of public transportation.
6  Prepare and submit 25 copies of a final report documenting research methodology, findings, conclusions, and recommendations.
7  Prepare and submit 150 copies of a separate executive summary of the final report.

Documents Available:

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