National Online Dialogue on FTA's 5-Year Strategic Plan for Research (forum is now closed)

Welcome to our National Dialogue!

Note:

The dialogue is now closed. You can still view ideas and comments, but we are no longer taking new content, votes, or comments. Thanks to all who participated.

For more information on FTA’s strategic planning for research, please visit https://www.transit.dot.gov/research-innovation/fta-research-strategic-plan-national-online-dialogue.

To learn more about this dialogue, we encourage you to view the recording of our Online Webinar (held August 11) or download our Webinar Presentation Slides.

Questions to Guide Your Ideas

  1. What key social, demographic, economic, technological, and/or other trends impact public transportation today and into the future?
  2. FTA’s current research priorities are mobility, asset management and asset innovation, and safety. Should we maintain these priorities or should they be changed? If they should be changed, please suggest the priority research areas you recommend.
  3. What specific areas within mobility, asset management and asset innovation, and safety should be the focus of FTA research?
  4. Similarly, what major goal should the FTA research program pursue to support transit’s mission?
  5. What should FTA’s major goals be for research to support FTA’s mission? And what performance measure metrics should FTA use to track progress in meeting them?
  6. How should FTA drive research to practice and publicize useful research results?
  7. Is there anything else you want to share or say regarding FTA’s research portfolio and activities?

How Can I Participate?

Participation is simple. Present your own idea; vote on someone else’s idea; or simply leave a comment. Our list of questions can guide your response, but any feedback on FTA’s research program is appreciated.

Once you have logged in please feel free to:

  1. Browse existing ideas below;
  2. Comment or vote on someone else’s idea;
  3. Select “Submit New Idea” to share an idea (you will be prompted to select a “Category” from a list based on the Campaign Areas); and
  4. Encourage other transportation professionals and members of your community to join the dialogue and share suggestions!

The National Online Dialogue for FTA’s 5-Year Strategic Plan for Research will be open from August 1 to September 8, 2016. Your participation will make a difference.

Join us for an informational webinar on Thursday, August 11, from 3:30 PM to 4:30 PM EDT.

Got questions? Email us at FTAResearch@dot.gov.

How should FTA prioritize and invest in research activities over the next several years?

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  1. prioritize life safety first then environment impact second. Implement what is known, research the remainder.

    When we stabilize life safety and environment stewardship then all other avenues can unfold.

    1 vote
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    • Best strategy to deal with Autonomous Vehicles

      Autonomous Vehicles will pose a major threat to Transit, in particular low frequency bus services. On the other hand, AVs are an ideal feeder mode for fixed track systems (Rail, Metro, LRT, BRT) with good speeds and frequencies. Ideally, research could be done, using the current examples of Uber and other existing and potential feeder services, to help develop a general strategy to deal with AVs. This strategy would be slightly different in different contexts, for example with and without rail based transit. For example, the ability to provide better facilities for distant presence and work in transit than in…

      1 vote
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      • The FTA should resurrect the Advanced Group Rapid Transit (AGRT) concept.

        In the mid-70's UMTA hosted and funded a project to explore and develop group rapid transit technology. Although the project did not culminate with a deployable technology, an extensive study conducted by SF BART, concluded that if properly developed, systems that operate with off-line stations can provide transportation services at a significant reduction in the capital cost per passenger. Furthermore, operating efficiencies that can be achieved with direct to destination service is likely to result in public transit that can achieve fare box recovery. With the advances in communication and processing technology that have occurred in the past 40+ years,…

        1 vote
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          1 comment  ·  Admin →
        • Leveraging advanced sensor, communication, and computing technologies to enhance the safety and maintainability of transit systems.

          There are many technologies being used in other industries which, if applied to transit, can enhance operational safety and maintainability. Some examples include trackworker warning systems to prevent train/maintenance worker accidents, low cost train collision avoidance systems, infrastructure monitoring and scanning to detect structural flaws that require corrective action to maintain a state of good repair.

          1 vote
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          • Melding Intra-Urban and Inter-Urban Rail for Individual Vehicles

            New-technology urban mass-transit has different needs than interurban transportation. This is about systems that use individually-targeted vehicles that go non-stop from one depot to another, without stopping.

            For urban mass-transit, a pod system, such as SkyTran, is appropriate. It can handle one or a few passengers, and also be used for parcel delivery, but not heavy freight. Maximum speeds might be 150 mph, but often will be less, depending on trip length.

            For intercity transportation, a Danby-Powell MagLev rail can handle passenger vehicles from bus-sized down to car-sized; and for freight, anything from semi-rigs down to four-foot-long parcel carriers.

            SkyTram…

            2 votes
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            • Best Practices in Needs Assessments for Low-Income Populations, Seniors, and Populations with Disabilities

              The Metropolitan Transportation Commission submits the following comments in response to FTA’s National Online Dialogue to develop the agency’s 5-Year Research Strategic Plan. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission, or MTC, is the transportation planning, financing and coordinating agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area.

              Current efforts for analyzing the mobility and access needs of low-income populations, seniors, and people with disabilities generally focus on coordination between existing services, rather than taking a systemic approach. Additionally, with an increase in the aging population, we anticipate an increase in the disabled populations. However, data to analyze and evaluate the transportation needs of…

              3 votes
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              • Utilize system/facility information modeling and automate creation of realtime datasets

                Acknowledge and support integration of standardized information modeling of systems and facilities that subsequently are integral in planning, programming, design, construction, and operations - through decommissioning. Datasets created throughout the phases can be used for permitting, funding, operations, reporting efficiencies and comparison of agencies regardless of location and size.

                2 votes
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                • Best practices in improving large scale multi-agency transit networks.

                  Research best practices in investing at the region, state or multi-state scale in improving the function of fixed route transit networks. What should be in place in terms of data standards, data, and analysis tools to make smart investments in the network. What policies, procedures and practices lead to cost effective improvements in network utility?

                  2 votes
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                  • Publish its current research agenda along with activities that would be added if additional funds were available and invite suggest

                    Clear communication of existing priorities and investments planned will prompt support for those that appear sound and stimulate ideas for other options.

                    3 votes
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                    • FTA's major goals for research should include mitigating vehicle procurement and deployment risks through the use of modeling and simulation

                      Pre-deployment vehicle, route, and utility rate modeling and simulation

                      Advanced technology vehicle procurement and deployment risks can be mitigated by accurately predicting how the vehicle will perform in a specific application before deployment. Vehicle, route, and utility rate modeling and simulation services can help the fleet understand:

                      • How similar an advanced technology vehicle will operate as compared to traditional technology (e.g. gasoline, diesel)
                      • How the vehicle’s performance is impacted by the specific deployment environment (e.g. roadway grade, driving speed, cargo, local climate)
                      • How vehicle characteristics change with age (e.g. decreased in range as batteries age),
                      • Cost-effective…

                      2 votes
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                      • U.S. needs to be poised to contribute to and become a leader in technology advancements in the transportation sector

                        Technology advancements in the transportation sector are occurring at a rapid pace and the U.S. needs to be poised to contribute to and become a leader in this field. Areas which we believe warrant investment include, but are not limited to:

                        a. Electromagnetic suspension for bus rapid transit: This technology reduces energy consumption, wear, and maintenance requirements compared to traditional suspensions. It also improves the quality of ride experienced by BRT passengers making the mode a more attractive option to the riding public—BRT with electromagnetic suspension will offer a ride similar to that of light-rail.

                        b. Wireless streetcar and light-rail:…

                        4 votes
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                          1 comment  ·  Admin →
                        • DOT should continue to assist with standardization of zero emission bus power supplies

                          Standardization for electric bus charging and hydrogen fueling equipment is a key hurdle for the industry. Healthy efforts to establish battery electric transit bus charging standards, especially for opportunity charging, are underway. DOT should stay involved with these efforts and provide assistance in the way of additional research or implementation funding.
                          With regards to hydrogen fueling, standards for fuel cell transit bus fueling have been established and implemented successfully. However, the ability to utilize existing light-duty hydrogen fueling stations by limited fleets of transit buses until deployment of a dedicated station can be justified would help eliminate a barrier to…

                          3 votes
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                          • FTA's Research Program should continue focus on zero emission transportation technologies

                            Over the past few years, FTA has shifted focus on zero emission buses from research and prototype development programs to deployment programs. Thanks to FTA’s support through the Low or No Emission Bus Program (LoNo), Transit Investments for Greenhouse Gas and Energy Reduction Program (TIGGER), National Fuel Cell Bus Program (NFCBP), and Clean Fuels Program, FTA has helped move the needle for zero emission bus technology readiness and better educated transit operators on how to operate and maintain this new and rapidly developing technology.

                            However, more research is needed in zero emission technologies and the infrastructure to support them. Additionally,…

                            2 votes
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                            • Clean Public Transit Plays Critical Role in Disadvantaged Communities

                              Public transit agencies deploying clean transportation technologies offer innumerable benefits to disadvantaged communities. These communities are disproportionately impacted by pollution and operation of zero-emission buses in these communities will reduce exposure to harmful emissions from the transportation sector. Public transportation plays a critical role in these communities and FTA should focus on how these technologies can benefit the citizens in these communities.

                              4 votes
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                              • Solutions for increasing the Convenience of Public Transit

                                Public transit needs to be more convenient than jumping in one's personal vehicle if ridership is to increase. In my area stops are conveniently located and nearby, but choosing public transit takes a 25 minute trip by car to over an hour by bus. Economic and sustainable solutions that get after making public transit more convenient are needed.

                                4 votes
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                                • Develop ways to actively engage transit-dependent urban residents in planning their own transportation networks from the beginning.

                                  This active public engagement in urban transportation planning from the beginning would be most meaningful in areas of cities where there is a low rate of ownership of personal automobiles. The central aspect to this planning is engagement at every stage of the planning process, backed up by training and technical assistance to urban residents in order to enable them to work alongside professional transportation planners and consultants. Since such participation takes time away from other activities, participant's expenses should be reimbursed, and be supplemented by a modest stipend for taking the time to engage in the planning. Public participants…

                                  6 votes
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                                    1 comment  ·  Admin →
                                  • Create a Model for Transit Agencies to Determine their Total Cost of Ownership for Zero Emission Fleets

                                    As battery electric and fuel cell technologies continue to grow and commercialize, transit agencies need tools to help evaluate whether these vehicles make sense for their communities. The FTA should develop a customizable tool for transit agencies that allows transit to input their route profiles, weather, maintenance costs, etc., and get a sense of what the total cost of ownership will be for each type of bus - diesel, CNG, electric, fuel cell, etc. The tool should also show the environmental benefits from a switch in fuel. This tool will enable transit agencies to think about the total cost of…

                                    3 votes
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                                    • Research Impact of More Accessible Transportation on the dependency of Public Beneifts

                                      Low income Americans, and specifically people with disabilities face significant transportation hurdles. Current public transportation services in small- medium cities and rural areas do not provide reliable access to employment opportunities, health care, or social contentedness. The real impact of access to these supports and services on the the dependency for other more expensive programs such as TANF, SSI, and Medicaid LTSS should be researched.

                                      5 votes
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                                      • What is a modern rural community mobility system? Develop "iRural".

                                        Research & Development: Develop a vision for iRural, a modern rural community mobility system. What are the business, operations & technology plans for creating a modern sustainable, accessible rural community services. Create models that are scalable, from local to regional.

                                        4 votes
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                                        • Truly fund research out of the FTA R&D budget.

                                          A history of looking at FTA's usage of research funds in its reports to Congress shows that many non-research activities have been funded out of the FTA R&D budget, including items that should have been funded out of FTA's administrative budget. There are scarce funds for true research, and with 10 billion in funding a year,FTA should be able to fund its oversight and personnel needs without taking funds inappropriately from a dedicated program.

                                          4 votes
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