PI: Dr. Yan Qi
Institute for Multimodal Transportation
Jackson State University
The importance of an efficiently operated transit system will never be over-stated for the transportation mobility and accessibility of a livable and sustainable urban community. In the past ten years, the gas price has more than tripled in most places in the US. The significant increase in cost of driving is more and more discouraging the excessive use of private cars in everyday trip activities. Public transit as an inexpensive, cost-efficient, and energy and environment friendly transportation mode is naturally gaining more popularity. Frequently, public transit is the only transportation mode choice for the low-income, handicapped, and aged populations who do not have access to auto use and are captive to transit use for almost all of their trip demands. Mississippi’s average family income is among the lowest in the country. However, transit use is still low in most places of the state including Jackson, MS, the largest metropolitan area of the state. A recent study showed that the ever-increasing gas price is unlikely to switch Mississippians from automobiles to buses, probably due to the perception of poor transit operations. A survey study conducted by researchers at Jackson State University also indicated that the Mississippians are generally willing to use transit if the transit operation service is improved. This proposed research project will focus on the development of a public transit performance evaluation system for the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT). Evaluating the performance of the transit systems in Mississippi in an objective and systematic manner by MDOT will help a transit agency identify existing and potential problems and adopt/implement effective operational strategies and eventually provide a low-cost and high-benefit public transportation service. The project will use literature reviews, survey studies, data collections, and statistical analysis of data to develop a public transit performance evaluation system which is relevant to the local situation in Mississippi. Case studies of applying the established performance evaluation system to selected urban and non-urban transit systems will be conducted.