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Transportation

VIEWS: 22 PAGES: 22

									                               Transportation

What are the Indicators?
Personal mobility is central to quality of life in any community in the United States. The means
by which people achieve an acceptable level of personal mobility varies significantly from one
community to another. However, since World War II, the United States has moved increasingly
away from being a transit oriented society to one that demands vehicle access or ownership to
meet personal mobility needs. Thus, for those individuals and households for whom vehicle
ownership is not a reality, and for whom public transportation systems are often lacking or
inadequate, personal mobility is affected. In most cases, those who suffer these consequences
are otherwise vulnerable populations, such as individuals living in poverty, youth, older adults,
and individuals with disabilities [1].

A central theme of this GAPS Analysis has been the consideration of the impact of community
resources on the population of Laramie County, Wyoming, especially its most vulnerable
populations. As such, an important aspect of this study of transportation resources and
realities in Laramie County is the impact on individuals who are transportation disadvantaged.
The Transportation Research Board identified three significant factors to be examined in an
analysis of transportation and those who are transportation disadvantaged: 1) Access to
automobiles, 2) demographic factors, and 3) availability of public transportation [1]. The
indicators researchers used for this study, described in greater detail below, were derived
primarily according to these factors.

Researchers developed a set of indicators to use in the analysis of transportation in Laramie
County via a review of those indicators provided by the Transportation Research Board for the
identification of the transportation disadvantaged [1] and a review of those indicators used in
the 2005 Laramie County Needs Assessment [2]. The indicators, described further below,
include a general assessment of public transportation and demographic factors in the
community, household access to a private vehicle, and several indicators specifically dealing
with mobility issues in the community, including: access to jobs, coordination with health and
human services, elderly and ADA services, youth services, and transit oriented development. In
a final section, filling mobility gaps, researchers provide a very cursory overview of some model
transit programs that have proven successful in various communities.

Researchers have examined each of these indicators on national, state, and county levels where
relevant data is available. To complement the national level data, on several of the indicators
pertaining to the transportation disadvantaged, researchers have included a review of best
practices and successful public transportation programs that have been implemented in
different states.
Laramie County GAPS Analysis                 TR-1/Page                                 September 2008
Public Transportation
The 2005 Laramie County Needs Assessment identified demographics of public transportation
ridership as a factor to be reviewed in a community assessment. Specifically, the assessment
used statistical data on the average number of passengers and the services available [2].
Researchers have used this as an indicator to provide an overview of Cheyenne’s public transit
system.

Private Vehicles
The Laramie County Needs Assessment also assessed a number of demographic and statistical
factors associated with private vehicle ownership to elucidate the accessibility of personal
vehicles to community members and their use [2]. Researchers used several of these factors to
provide a foundation of understanding regarding vehicle usage in Laramie County and
Cheyenne. Factors assessed include vehicles per household, private vehicle occupancy for
workers 16 years and older, and vehicle miles and time driven where available.

Access to Jobs
The Transportation Research Board posits that as jobs move from central cities to suburbs,
individuals living in rural or inner city areas often struggle to find transportation to work,
impacting the individuals and opportunities available to them as well as the workforce and
community as a whole [1]. In examining access to jobs, factors to consider include transit
program routes and schedules and transportation statistics for commuting to work.
Researchers reviewed the necessary statistics, but also a number of successful community
programs that may provide guidance to community workers.

Coordination with Health and Human Services
The importance of transit system coordination with health and human service agencies is
confirmed by the previously indicated fact that many members of our most vulnerable
populations do not have access to private transportation. By bundling transit services with
other support services, a community is better able to address the social needs of its ridership
and community [1]. This significance is supported by a number of human and social service
agencies in Laramie County [3].

Elderly & ADA Services
As indicated previously, individuals most affected by barriers to personal mobility include
vulnerable populations such as the elderly or those with disabilities. In 1990, the Americans
with Disabilities Act (ADA) passed a number of requirements for surface transit operations to
meet the needs of individuals with disabilities. There are also special considerations that may
apply in particular to these groups that have not been legislated [1]. To avoid redundancy,
researchers will limit the discussion in this section to those factors that have not been
previously included in the sections on Filling Mobility Gaps and Coordination.




Laramie County GAPS Analysis                  TR-2/Page                                 September 2008
Youth Services
The justification for paying special attention to youth services is similar to that described above
for elderly and ADA services. Youth are a relatively vulnerable population. However, much of
this vulnerability and limited personal mobility is the consequence of circumstance. In the past
several decades, the number of married women who had jobs outside the home has increased
by more than two fold and the number of single mothers working outside the home has
increased as well. Both of these factors potentially limit the personal mobility resources of
teens, especially those living in lower economic brackets [1].

Transit Oriented Development
As communities grow and change, it is important to plan development rather than allowing
reactive development. Planning allows for land-use considerations that may help facilitate
personal mobility, reduce economic costs and enhance economic development opportunities,
and reduce negative impacts on the environment [1].

Filling Mobility Gaps
The notion of filling mobility gaps is centered around identifying and filling those gaps in the basic
transportation system that currently serve as barriers to personal mobility in a community [1].
Researchers identified these gaps in Laramie County and reviewed a number of model programs that
are of relevance to the community and its particular needs.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Transportation Research Board Objectives as
Guidelines for Indicators of the Status of Education in Laramie County
Advantages. The Transportation Research Board has conducted a significant amount of
research on transportation and personal mobility options in rural, suburban, and urban
communities throughout the United States. Specifically, the indicators described above and
used in this GAPS Analysis have been identified as relevant to the United States in general and
in particular to the transportation disadvantaged in our communities [1]. Therefore, these
national indicators provide a thoroughly research-based set of guidelines under which to
compare Laramie County’s transportation systems to those of Wyoming as a whole as well as
the United States. Furthermore, for the majority of these indicators, both qualitative and
quantitative data is available. Much of the statistical data is also collected on a regular basis
(annually or semi-annually) such that data is available at all levels within the past several years.

Disadvantages. The primary disadvantages to using indicators such as those described above to
compare Laramie County to the United States rests in the fact that while there is substantial
data at national levels reviewing model programs and the like, public transit is relatively new to
Laramie County and research beyond basic statistical data collection has been minimal up to
now.




Laramie County GAPS Analysis                   TR-3/Page                                   September 2008
Methods of Data Collection and Analysis
In order to ensure a complementary and comprehensive analysis of the indicator described in
the previous pages, researchers have reviewed a number of publications and data sources for
usage patterns, transit routes and schedules, and recommendations. Central resources used
for this review included:
    1) U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey 2006 [4].
    2) Cheyenne Transit Program, Community Forum [5].
    3) Cheyenne Transit Program, Human Services Map [6].
    4) Cheyenne Transit Program website [7].
    5) Informal Transportation Survey of Needs, Inc. Clients [8].
    6) Cheyenne Metropolitan Planning Organization, Transportation Improvement Project
          Documents [9-11].
    7) Cheyenne Area Transportation Master Plan [12-16].
    8) Personal Communication with Cheyenne Transit Program personnel [17].
    9) Google business search for grocery stores [18].


Results

Public Transportation
Public transportation is far from a central means of transit in most communities in the United
States, which have been increasingly built around the automobile since the middle of the
twentieth century [1]. Perhaps as a consequence of relatively high gas prices and increased
concern over carbon emissions, the importance of public transit and facilitated intermodal
transit opportunities to communities is receiving growing recognition throughout the nation in
recent years. Still, Wyoming’s vast open spaces and extreme weather conditions present a
unique challenge to communities and transit development [17]. According to the U.S. Census’
American Community Survey of 2006, only 4.8% of workers 16 years and older in the United
States traveled to work by a means of public transportation other than taxicabs. In Wyoming,
ranked twenty sixth in the country for public transit use, this number is much lower. Only 1.3%
of Wyoming workers age 16 years and older traveled to work by public transportation. In
Laramie County, the number drops by over half yet again; 0.5% of Laramie County workers age
16 years and older traveled to work by public transportation [4]. However, the numbers of
individuals using the Cheyenne Transit Program (CTP) is growing rapidly. Representatives
estimate that ridership has increased by about 50% in the past five years [5]. In 2005, CTP saw
a total of 205,289 system rides. This increased in 2006 to 221,634 rides and again in 2007, to
260,248 rides. In 2005 and 2006, CTP curb to curb service saw approximately 23,000 rides. This
increased in 2007 to over 25,000 curb to curb rides [17].

Growing ridership on the Cheyenne Transit Program has necessitated closer examination of
needs versus current services and encouraged planners to consider making some significant
changes to best serve the ridership [12]. The structure and framework of these plans – largely
evident in the Cheyenne Area Transportation Master Plan – are discussed below in the section
Laramie County GAPS Analysis                TR-4/Page                                September 2008
on Transit Oriented Development. There are several key trends among Laramie County’s
ridership that differ significantly from Wyoming trends and may account for or compensate for
the relatively low ridership rates. These trends relate to demographic and socioeconomic
indicators as well as motivations as they relate to ridership.

The state of Wyoming only has four fixed-route public transit systems [17], indicating that the
lack of public transit use in Laramie County may be disproportionately low. However, each
community is a unique case and this report treats Laramie County as such. In Wyoming, of
those individuals who used public transportation to commute to work, 11.6% lived below the
poverty line, 2.2% lived between 100% and 149%, and 86.2% lived at or above 150% of the
Figure 1. Public Transit Use and Poverty, Wyoming         poverty line. In Laramie County,
                                                          however, this looks very different.
                                                         Approximately 38.8% of individuals
               Public Transit Users,                     who used public transportation to
                                                         commute to work lived below the
                    Wyoming                              poverty line, 36.9% lived between
                     12%                                 100% and 149% of the poverty line,
                            2%         Less than 100% of and 24.3% lived at or above 150% of
                                       poverty
                                                         the poverty line [4].
                                        100% - 149% of
                86%                     poverty              This statistical information is
                                        150% or more of      particularly interesting as it indicates
                                        poverty              that there are important differences
                                                             between who is riding public transit in
 Source: U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey.       various communities. In Laramie
                                                             County, approximately two thirds of
public transit users were living at or near the poverty line, whereas in Wyoming, well over two
thirds of public transit users
were living reasonably well          Figure 2. Public Transit Use and Poverty, Laramie
                                     County
above the poverty line.
Furthermore, although                            Public Transit Users,
according to the Cheyenne Area
Master Plan, approximately                         Laramie County
70% of Cheyenne households                                                                          are
within a quarter mile of a                                                      Less than 100% of
                                                                                poverty
transit line and over 85% of                         24% 39%
jobs are served within a quarter                                                100% - 149% of
                                                                                poverty
mile of a transit line [13],                         37%
Cheyenne’s existing transit                                                     150% or more of
service does not appear to                                                      poverty
adequately serve this
significant percentage of the         Source: U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey.
community’s minority and low
income populations who live just south of the F.E. Warren Airforce Base [16]. While both the
Laramie County GAPS Analysis                   TR-5/Page                                    September 2008
within 25 year and over 25 year plans for the program indicate that routes will be expanded
throughout the Cheyenne Area (including more extensive services in some low-income areas),
this does not include the area in question (See Appendix A at the end of this chapter for a
detailed map) [16]. Thus, there is a clear need in Laramie County for a public transit plan that
directly addresses the needs of Laramie County’s low-income population.

Another trend exists in vehicle availability for individuals using public transit to commute to
work. In Wyoming, the vast majority of individuals using public transportation to commute had
a car available to them. Only 4.5% had no car available. In Laramie County, however, the use
of public transit appears once again to be need-based, as 75.7% of those using public transit to
commute have no car available [4]. While it is possible that there are individuals in Laramie
County who have made a conscious decision to forego vehicle ownership or who do have a car
available yet choose to use public transit, this does not appear to be the case for most
residents, providing further support for the need to focus planning efforts on the community’s
low-income populations.

Figure 3. Public Transit use and Vehicles, WY and Laramie County
                                                                            The findings above
         Percent of Public Transit Commuters with a                         provide meaningful
                                  Car Available                             information regarding
                                                                            Laramie County in
       80.00%                                                               particular. Notably,
        60.00%                                                              an increasing number
        40.00%                                                              of people are riding
        20.00%                                            Wyoming           Cheyenne’s public
          0.00%                                           Laramie County    transit system each
                  No car 1 car                                              year. As ridership
                 available available  2 cars                                increases and evolves,
                                                3+ cars
                                     available
                                               available                    the transit system will
                                                                            too need to adapt.
 Source: U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey.
                                                                             One aspect of this
                                                                             adaptation is the
eventual migration from a loop route system (which is very inefficient for riders) to a two-
direction system. This is a long-term goal of the Cheyenne Metropolitan Planning Organization,
but one of the primary barriers to such a major change is economic. According to the Cheyenne
Area Transportation Master Plan, operational costs of running the Cheyenne Transit Program
(using existing routes only, with no expansions) on a two-direction system could be as high as
double the current costs [15]. As will become relevant in the section on transit development,
funding needs are a definite barrier to transit improvement, not only in Laramie County, but
nationwide. However, the finding that is perhaps of greatest interest to the present report is
the fact that compared to Wyoming as a whole, ridership in Laramie County looks very
different. Namely, public transit use is associated with necessity, not choice as in other parts of
the state. This is indicated by both the substantially higher rates of riders living in or near
poverty and of riders without an alternate means of transportation.
Laramie County GAPS Analysis                  TR-6/Page                                 September 2008
Private Vehicles
Compared to the United States as a whole, private vehicle ownership and availability are much
higher in Wyoming and Laramie County. Nationally, less than one in ten households have no
                                                                         vehicle available,
Figure 4. Housing characteristics and vehicle ownership in Laramie
County.                                                                        Private Vehicles, one
                 Housing Characteristics & Vehicle                             third have a single
                     Ownership, Laramie County                                 vehicle available,
                                                                               another third have
        60.00%                                                                 two vehicles
        40.00%                                                                 available and one
        20.00%                                            Occupied Household
         0.00%                                                                 fifth have three or
                                                          Owner-Occupied
                   No     One     Two Three or                                 more vehicles
                 Vehicle Vehicle Vehicles More            Renter-Occupied      available. In
                                         Vehicles                              Wyoming, however,
                                                                               and Laramie County,
                                                                                these numbers look
  Source: U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey.
                                                                                very different, with
approximately one third of households having one vehicle available, two vehicles available, and
three or more vehicles available, respectively, and a very small number (under 5% in both
cases) having no vehicle available [4]. It is difficult to understand for certain why this is without
more detailed information on the vehicles available, but researchers reasonably suspect it is
linked to Wyoming’s rural nature and the fact that not having a single vehicle to a household
would in many parts of the state and even the county be potentially dangerous and at the very
least highly isolating. That Cheyenne is one of the most urban centers in Wyoming may
contribute to why a higher percentage of individuals using public transit in Laramie County do
not have vehicles compared to in Wyoming as a whole. Still, in Laramie County, having a car
appears to be an important factor for the majority of households.

In the U.S., owner-occupied houses are much more likely to have two or more vehicles available
than rent-occupied houses. Conversely, renter-occupied houses are much more likely to have
no vehicle available or only one vehicle available than owner-occupied households. In both
Wyoming and Laramie County, although a greater proportion of households overall have
multiple vehicles available, the same trends emerge. Owner-occupied households are more
likely to have two or more vehicles, while renter-occupied households are more likely to have
fewer than two vehicles [4].

Access to Jobs
In looking at access to jobs, due to the rural nature of Wyoming and Laramie County,
researchers have examined how most individuals commute to work, average travel time to
work, and how well CTP appears to service major employers in Laramie County.

Most people in the United States travel to work using a car, truck, or van (86.7%). This breaks
down to 76% of Americans driving alone to work, and 10.7% carpooling. Another 4.8% use
Laramie County GAPS Analysis                   TR-7/Page                                  September 2008
public transportation, 2.9% walk, .5% bicycle, 1.2% travel by taxicab, motorcycle, or other, and
3.9% work at home. In Wyoming, these numbers are strikingly similar. Of the state’s 268,323
workers age 16 and over, 88.5% traveled to work by car, truck, or van in 2006. This came to
76% who drove alone and 12.5% who carpooled. Another 1.3% used public transportation,
3.1% walked, 1.1% bicycled, .9% commuted by taxi, motorcycle or other, and 5.2% worked at
home. In Laramie County, a slightly higher percentage (92.1%) of the 45,857 total workers 16
years and older traveled to work by car, truck, or van. Again at a higher rate, 79.8% of Laramie
County residents drove alone and 12.2% carpooled. Only .5% used public transportation, 1.3%
walked, 0% bicycled, 1.3% used a taxicab, motorcycle, or other, and 4.8% worked from home
[4].

Figure 5. Mean Travel Time to Work.
                                                                    In Laramie County and
               Mean Travel Time to Work                             Wyoming, commute time to
                                                                    work was substantially lower
                                                                    than in the United States as a
                                                                    whole. While the mean travel
     25
                                                                    time to work for Americans
     20                                                             was 25 minutes, for Wyoming
     15                                              United States
                                                                    residents it was 17.9 minutes,
     10                                              Wyoming        and for Laramie County
      5                                              Laramie County residents, it was only 15.4
      0                                                             minutes. 34.9% of Wyoming
              Mean Travel Time to Work                              residents had a commute of
                      (minutes)                                     less than 10 minutes, and
                                                                    another 23.5% had a
                                                                     commute between 10 and 14
 Source: U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey.               minutes. In Laramie County,
                                                                     27.5% of residents had a
commute time under 10 minutes, while another 31.2% commuted between 10 and 14 minutes
to work [4]. On first impression, these findings surprised researchers given the sprawling
nature of Wyoming as a state. However, this sprawling landscape has likely contributed to the
relatively high rates of self-employment, which, when part of a population average, would
decrease overall commute times. It is also possible that these numbers indicate that, in spite of
the great distances between towns in Wyoming, because many towns are small and traffic
relatively light, daily travel time to work is minimized.

In Laramie County, although the current public transit system is in the process of being
improved to better meet the needs of its ridership, it does not currently do so. Although the
existing loop route services 70% of households and 85% of jobs in the Cheyenne Area within a
quarter mile [13], it does not appear to sufficiently cover areas in which a significant number of
low-income and minority residents live [16]. Further, according to community members in a
transportation forum held in August of 2007, there are two primary problems with CTP: routes
and schedule. The issues associated with both of these related largely to access to work
Laramie County GAPS Analysis                 TR-8/Page                                  September 2008
problems. First and perhaps foremost, a number of community members and human service
agencies expressed concern that the current CTP bus route does not reach several major
employers in the community, including Wal-Mart and Lowe’s Distribution Centers *5+. Though
no solutions presently exist, it is noteworthy that representatives from CTP indicate that this is
an area being closely assessed and partnerships are being explored to improve this aspect of
the system [17]. The bus schedule itself is also a problem for workers. Largely because of the
loop system (which makes the commute time very inefficient) and partially because of the bus
hours, many find that the bus schedule does not meet their needs for work. Shifts often start
too early or end too late for the limited schedule, a problem that is exacerbated by long
commute times [5]. Again, as discussed above, the migration from a loop to a two-direction
system is being explored [15].

Coordination with Health and Human Services
The relationship between lack of vehicle, poverty rates, and public transit usage in Laramie
County point to the importance of having a public transit system in Cheyenne and Laramie
County that adequately services the health and human services agencies. Currently, Cheyenne
Transit Program bus system provides patrons with access to sixty human service agencies [6]
(See Appendix B at the end of this Chapter). However, an informal survey conducted by Needs,
Inc. of their clients as well as several city hall transit meetings revealed that Laramie County and
Cheyenne residents find the public transportation system to provide insufficient access to such
services. It was repeatedly noted in meetings that while the bus system in Cheyenne may serve
many health and human service agencies, its hours are insufficient to offer high quality access
[5, 8]. Concerns that were expressed by several organizations during this meeting were largely
due to the scheduling issues which were touched on briefly above.

An example of one such concern relates to the Cheyenne Community Clinic, which operates in
the late afternoon into the evening on a first come first serve basis. Eligible individuals line up
for the free medical services and are seen in as timely a manner as available resources will
permit. However, it is not uncommon that a client will be at the clinic until well past the end of
bus service. Because many of these Cheyenne Community Clinic clients are the same
individuals who do not have access to a vehicle on a regular basis, this scheduling issue
essentially leaves them the choice between being stranded or neglecting their health care [3].
This is only one example and points to the fact that while CTP appears to do a good job of
servicing many human and social service agencies, the bus schedule and commute times
between agencies can make accessing these resources very difficult for one dependent on the
public transit system. When individuals and families must visit multiple human service agencies
in a single day via public transportation, difficulties increase exponentially, as illustrated in the
below scenario.




Laramie County GAPS Analysis                  TR-9/Page                                   September 2008
       Sally’s Wednesday
  Sally is an imaginary resident of Laramie County. She has been working at the Wal-Mart Distribution Center but
  recently was fired because her car has been out of commission for a week and the current public transit program
  in Cheyenne does not go out there. Since it is summer, Sally must take care of her two children (age 3 years and
  age 8 months) during the day, which makes looking for work especially difficult. However, today is her sister’s
  day off, so Sally will be able to go to her appointments:
        9:15am – Appointment at WIC regarding her benefits.
        Between 9:00am and 11:30am or 1:00pm and 3:30pm, she needs to get a food box from Needs, Inc.
        2:00pm – Appointment at Workforce Center.
        4:00pm – Appointment for dental care at LCCC’s Dental Hygiene clinic.

  Starting from her home at Cheyenne North Apartments, Sally’s day goes as follows:
        Leave Cheyenne North Apartments at 8:00am and walk 0.7 miles to the Wal-Mart Supercenter to catch
            the Northern Westbound bus at 8:26am to Transfer Station.
        Catch Downtown Bus at 9:00am at Transfer Station, ride to 16th and Alexander at 9:09am for 9:15am
            appointment with WIC.
                 o Sally’s wait time and appointment at WIC must take no more than 45 minutes for Sally to catch her next bus
                     to arrive at Needs, Inc. before 11:30am. If this appointment lasts longer than this and Sally misses her bus,
                     there will not be another until 11:09am and she will miss the bus to Needs, Inc. and be unable to get a food box
                     for the month.
        Catch Downtown Bus at 10:09am at 16th and Alexander toward Transfer Station. Arrive before
            11:00am.
        Catch South Route bus at 11:00am toward City County Health. Arrive at Needs, Inc. (not a scheduled
            stop) before 11:05am.
                 o Sally must not spend more than an hour at Needs, Inc. However, to receive food she will need to provide
                     necessary paperwork and see the Client Services Coordinator for a case management session. The length of time
                     these services take varies considerably depending on the level of demand on a given day and the clients’ respective
                     needs. If Sally misses her 12:05 bus, she will miss her connection to make her 2:00pm appointment at
                     Workforce Services. It is also noteworthy that the food boxes provided by Needs, Inc. are substantial, providing
                     food for each family member. While it is unlikely that Sally could have easily transported a box for herself and
                     her children around town using the bus system, for the purposes of demonstrating the extent of scheduling
                     difficulties, we suspend this piece of reality briefly. In actuality, Sally would probably have needed to add two
                     more legs to her trip, bringing her food box home and returning to the transfer station. This would completely
                     negate her ability to arrive at Workforce Services for her 2:00pm appointment.
        Catch South Route bus at 12:05pm (must flag bus outside Needs, Inc. or walk 0.5 miles uphill to City
            County Health building). Arrive at Transfer Station by 1:00pm.
        Catch East Route bus at 1:00pm to VA Hospital (nearest stop to Workforce Services – if bus passes
            building, Sally may exit bus closer to desired location) arriving at 1:35pm.
                 o Sally’s appointment at Workforce Services is a first-time appointment. Services must not last beyond 30 minutes
                     if she is to make her next bus connection and her dental appointment at 4:00pm. Especially considering this is
                     her first appointment, it is very unlikely she will finish in time. Therefore, she will likely be forced to choose
                     between completing this appointment and being on time for much needed dental care.
        Catch East Route bus at VA Hospital stop at 2:35pm to arrive at Transfer Station prior to 3:00pm.
        Catch 3:00pm South Route bus from Transfer Station to Laramie County Community College, to arrive
            at 3:14pm.
                 o Sally must be at the Transfer Station to catch the final Northwest Bus Route home by 6:00pm. This means her
                     dental appointment and wait time cannot take more than an hour.
        Catch 5:14pm South Route bus at Laramie County Community College to arrive at Transfer Station
            before 6:00pm.
        Catch North Route (either Eastbound or Westbound) at 6:00pm to arrive at Wal-Mart at 6:26pm.
            From this point, Sally must walk 0.7 miles again or rely on a friend with a vehicle to return home2008
Laramie County GAPS Analysis                                  TR-10/Page                                                 September with

            her food box from Needs, Inc.
The above “Sally” scenario represents the difficulties residents may have in using Cheyenne’s
current public transit system. While the bus routes do claim to serve all of the agencies listed
above, this is not indicated on the Cheyenne Transit Program (CTP) website and many of these
agencies are not listed as stops. While the current flagging system may enable passengers to
stop directly at some of these unlisted buildings, it makes it very difficult to plan for multiple
trips and agency visits. Because of the loop system and the infrequent running of buses, visiting
agencies all over town demands returning repeatedly to the Transfer Station, from which
routes leave only once an hour, on the hour. Because of this inefficiency, “Sally” was forced to
1) hope her appointments were short, 2) leave her appointments early, or 3) miss her next
appointment. Had “Sally” missed her final bus that evening at 5:14pm departing from LCCC,
she would have had to find an alternative mode of transportation home.

The difficulties associated with riding the public transit system in Cheyenne are supported by
both the opinions voiced by community members in the transportation forum and by these
researchers’ attempts to reconstruct even a basic “day off” with errands to run. CTP
passengers find themselves struggling to plan trips efficiently and within the scheduled hours
the bus operates while still managing to meet their transit needs.

Elderly & ADA Services
Elderly and disability services have been established as being central to successful community
transportation systems. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 laid out several
requirements for public transit systems including mobility aid accessibility, regulations for
doors, steps, and thresholds, priority seating signs, interior circulation, handrails, and
stanchions, lighting, fare box, public information system, stop request, and destination and
route signs [19].

For older adults, transportation options outside of driving are often central to their personal
mobility as many (21% nationally) individuals over age 65 no longer drive. However, their
needs for alternative transportation options demand particular attention to such details as
safety and accessibility of bus stops, the creation of a safe and inviting walking and bicycling
environment, and the incorporation of ADA regulations [20].

Cheyenne’s public transportation system meets many of the needs of older and disabled
residents, but far from perfectly. In 2005 and 2006, CTP saw approximately 23,000 curb to curb
rides. This number increased to 25,000 in 2007 [17]. While the curb to curb service addresses
many of the ADA and safety concerns outlined above, the need to call ahead can be limiting for
some riders [5]. Another resource, Wyoming Independent Living Rehabilitation’s (WILR)
Transportation Check Program, in which eligible participants use assigned checks for the
payment of fees or reimbursement of mileage to the transportation provider. Eligible
participants include individuals living in designated counties (including Laramie County) with a
documented disability and an identifiable barrier to transportation [21].

These services and programs, however, still leave significant gaps in transportation needs for
the disabled and especially the elderly in Laramie County. While the Transportation Check
Laramie County GAPS Analysis                 TR-11/Page                                  September 2008
Program does indeed fill some gaps faced by Laramie County residents with a disability, by
filling an income-related need, it neither facilitates the physical access to transportation issues
nor does it specifically serve the elderly if they are not disabled. Furthermore, although
Cheyenne’s bus system is perhaps more convenient that curb to curb service, several safety
concerns were expressed during the community forum. Repeatedly, individuals expressed
concern that, while the current flagging system can be convenient, it is dangerous and the
system may benefit from transitioning to fixed rather than flagged stops.

Youth Services
Youth have been identified as a group that is especially relevant to considerations regarding
public transit systems [1, 5]. In Laramie County, while CTP does not directly target its service to
youth, there are a number of ways in which youth ridership is both encouraged and facilitated.
First, and likely of greatest relevance to a number of riders, student bus fares (approximately ¾
the price of regular fares) are available not only to primary and secondary school students, but
to Laramie County Community College students as well. Extending this discount to college
students is not a common practice and is an excellent means of serving a particular segment of
the youth in Laramie County [5]. Other efforts are being made that are relevant to the entire
community but perhaps especially to youth. Namely, efforts are underway to expand existing
routes to include two stops at the new library in Cheyenne. This decision is based on
community and library requests, and funding is currently being sought [5].

Another under-18 group targeted for transportation in Laramie County is childcare clients.
Thirty of Laramie County’s 109 childcare facilities provide transportation for their clients. These
thirty organizations – all located in Cheyenne – have the capacity to provide childcare services
to 1,331 children in the community [22]. The ability to provide transportation as well serves as
an added draw for parents. However, as all of those organizations that offer transportation are
located in Cheyenne this is simply a continuation of the glaring gap in transportation for those
individuals living in the rural parts of Laramie County.

Transit Oriented Development
The Cheyenne Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) has recognized the rapid growth and
increased demand on the current public transit system in Cheyenne. As such, the Cheyenne
Area Master Plan was developed through collaborative efforts between transportation and land
use planning teams and community input [13]. Public involvement has been an important
aspect of Cheyenne’s transportation planning process. This process has consisted of a series of
community meetings to which the general public were invited. There were a number of such
meetings that led to the development of the Cheyenne Area Transportation Master Plan [13].
This strategy has also been used for amendments to existing plans and to assess community
satisfaction and priorities. A total of seven community meetings and one drivers meeting took
place between 2007 and 2008 [17]. One such meeting (taking place August 30, 2008) is cited in
this chapter, as one of the authors was in attendance and as such had access to extensive notes
from the session.


Laramie County GAPS Analysis                  TR-12/Page                                 September 2008
Two major planning documents have been used to assess the Cheyenne MPO’s transit oriented
development planning, including the Cheyenne Area Transportation Master Plan and the
Transit Improvement Project. Under the Safe Accountable Flexible Efficient Transportation
Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), MPOs were directed to develop plans for
transportation programs in cooperation with both state and public transit operators and that
they work to develop an “intermodal transportation system for the metropolitan area” *13, p.
3-1+. Central to the Cheyenne MPO’s plans are seven derived planning elements as follows:

     1) Support economic vitality of the metropolitan area, especially by enabling global
        competitiveness, productivity, and efficiency.
     2) Increase safety and security of the transportation system for motorized and non-
        motorized users.
     3) Increase accessibility and mobility options available to people for freight.
     4) Protect and enhance the environment, promote energy conservation, and improve
        quality of life.
     5) Enhance the integration and connectivity of the transportation system, across and
        between modes for people and freight.
     6) Promote efficient management and operation.
     7) Emphasize the preservation of existing transportation systems [9-11].

There are a number of federally funded transportation projects that started in fiscal year 2005.
These have included Cheyenne Transit Program, Wyoming Department of Transportation
projects, and Cheyenne Regional Airport projects. The latter two department projects are
beyond the scope of this analysis, but it should be noted that the CTP project includes funds for
operating assistance, preventive maintenance, general equipment, and trolley replacement (to
meet ADA regulations) [9].

An added piece of planning includes the potential restructuring of Cheyenne’s public
transportation system according to community needs and preferences. It has been generally
expressed that the growth of CTP demands a massive restructuring effort that will take a
significant amount of time and resources. Routes must be redesigned and the system shifted
from a loop system to a direct route system, and the schedule should be expanded. However,
all of these changes will require money that the department does not yet have, and as such,
compromises may become necessary [5]. Nonetheless, researchers have found that the
Cheyenne MPO recognizes the importance of and demonstrates long-term planning efforts to
meet a number of design principles that will improve Cheyenne’s capacity to meet intermodal
transportation needs of its residents. These include the maintenance and building of safe
sidewalks and street crossings, and increased attention to alternative transportation options
among other aspects [14].




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Implications
Determining the transit needs in rural and semi-rural communities is an especially challenging
endeavor as there tends to be a relative lack of data on rural systems and because approaches
to filling mobility gaps have differed significantly between communities [23]. However, these
inconsistencies are very likely a consequence of the importance of transportation systems
meeting the specific needs of a given community [1]. During the course of this study of Laramie
County transportation, a number of mobility gaps have been elucidated. The most significant
gaps identified include: access to jobs, effective coordination with health and human service
agencies, the lack of alternative transportation options available in the relatively rural parts of
the community, and an overarching need for funding. In the pages below, researchers describe
the implications of these mobility gaps and briefly outline programs that have been successful
throughout the United States in filling similar gaps.

It is important to keep in mind that transportation needs must be met within the confines of a
particular community context, but these model programs may serve as foundation for program
development in Laramie County [1]. It is therefore important to understand the context of
transportation in Wyoming and Laramie County. There are several factors that have important
implications for this discussion. First, Wyoming and Laramie County residents are more likely to
have multiple (3+) cars per household than nationally and are less than half as likely to not have
any vehicle available to the household than are U.S. residents on the whole [4]. This is probably
due to necessity and may also be related to rural households who have farm and ranch specific
vehicles (the Census data does not make these specifications). It is regardless an important
fact.

Filling Mobility Gaps
Access to work. The first major mobility gap in Laramie County is in access to work, especially
for those vulnerable individuals for whom vehicles are not available. Ideally, this is a gap that
can be filled by public transit options, but Laramie County’s current system, CPT, does not
adequately meet those needs. The current public transit system in Laramie County, serving
only Cheyenne (not the rural part of the county), needs to extend hours and routes to meet the
needs expressed by the community. It currently does not reach many large employers and the
schedule does not meet employment, human services, or recreational needs of residents.

A number of programs have been implemented in an effort to fill similar gaps throughout the
country, but many of them have been implemented in the setting of an urban/suburban
community in which jobs exist in the city and people must be transported from the less
expensive suburbs to work (or sometimes vice versa) and in which fundamental infrastructures
may already be in place.

The Bridges to Work program is one such program, that has been designed to target the
transportation issue between suburbs and inner city, but the partnership aspect of it makes it
of particular relevance to these researchers. Bridges to Work is an employment partnership
based on collaborative planning with job training and placement organizations, transportation
Laramie County GAPS Analysis                 TR-14/Page                                 September 2008
providers, community-based organizations, human services agencies, and regional planning
institutions. It is administered jointly by the nonprofit Public/Private Ventures and the US
Department of Housing and Urban Development [1]. Key to this is the fact that it is a
partnership between businesses, transportation providers, and other organizations in the
community. Such partnerships have been recommended as a means of helping both
employees and employers in Laramie County as currently it is not only difficult for employees to
maintain work schedules, but for many retailers to maintain employees due to transportation
barriers [5]. Thus, both business and community would potentially benefit.

Another program to improve job access was developed in a relatively small city in a rural
community. Winchester, VA, a town of 23,585, implemented a job-access transit program,
expanding access to area manufacturing jobs with transit opportunities specifically tailored to
employer/employee shift schedules. [24]. Again, a key to the success of this program appears to
be a partnership between transit programs and employers to ensure needs of business and
community are both addressed.

In Cheyenne, these are the types of partnerships that could make a major difference for the
Cheyenne Transit Program (CTP), possibly supplementing the transit program with needed
funding while benefiting both employers (who currently struggle to bring employees in) and
employees (who currently struggle to match their shifts with transit opportunities). The CTP
and the Cheyenne Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) are working to develop such
partnerships but this will require cooperation on the part of the businesses involved as well as
the planners [17]. Furthermore, although at present, an extension of service routes to both
business parks may not be sufficiently efficient to meet the limited demand, the CTP and MPO
continue to examine needs and options in the community and recognize that as these particular
job-related needs grow, services will need to be improved to meet them [17].

Coordination with Health and Human Service Agencies. Coordination with Health and Human
Service Agencies, as indicated above, is of utmost importance in Laramie County, where many
public transit riders are individuals living in or near poverty. Unfortunately, these issues were
not initially brought to the attention of the relevant contractors working on the transit plan,
likely due to poor representation at community forums of individuals for whom these needs are
most significant [5]. However, during an October meeting of the Laramie County Community
Partnership, representatives from CTP were present and a number of health and human service
agencies had the opportunity to ask relevant questions and make requests on behalf of their
clients [3]. The major barriers to coordination with these agencies for individuals lacking
personal transportation were not bus routes, but bus schedules. The bus does not run late
enough to allow for comfortable dependence on it when using the services of certain agencies.
Furthermore, the loop routes that are characteristic of emerging transit systems make travel
between multiple agencies scattered around town highly inefficient. Nonetheless, it is still
important to note that CTP does service these agencies [6]. Another potential barrier to this
coordination is most pertinent to those older adults and individuals with disabilities who rely
primarily on curb to curb services. While curb to curb service is well used in Laramie County,
residents expressed concern in a community forum that they require calling ahead at least 24
Laramie County GAPS Analysis                TR-15/Page                                September 2008
hours in advance, which is not always realistic [5]. Ideally, those programs that would
adequately fill this specific mobility gap would thus focus on these primary concerns, all of
which relate to schedules and efficiency.

In California, the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) has underwritten a program termed
Immediate Needs Transportation Program. Through this program, the MTA underwrites both
taxi vouchers and bus tokens, which are used by clients of 600 social service agencies in Los
Angeles. Clients of the Immediate Needs Transportation Program use the assistance for trips to
food banks and grocery stores, medical appointments, job training and interviews, and for
emergencies [1]. While similar resources exist in Laramie County, looking closely at this
program may be useful, especially from a funding perspective as reaching the needy in Los
Angeles requires a far more substantial economic investment than in Laramie County. The
incorporation of taxi vouchers may help fill especially the gaps for curb to curb service. The
scheduling gaps must be addressed by CTP transit modifications and planning.

Rural Laramie County. As has been previously indicated, transportation issues facing rural
communities are often unique and difficult to assess. While it is doubtless that Cheyenne and
CTP have their areas in need of improvement, perhaps the greatest transportation gap in
Laramie County exists in its rural parts, where public transit is not available. However, public
transit in rural communities is neither unrealistic nor unreasonable, as illustrated by a number
of examples below. It just may not take the traditional form of a bus or subway system. A
number of rural communities throughout the United States have developed transportation
plans and programs that meet their specific needs within the context of existing resources and
landscapes.

One such program, Rural Transit Enterprises Coordinated, KY (RTEC) serves an 11-county area in
southeastern KY, where 32.5% of the 266,000 residents have incomes below the poverty level,
a number over thrice the poverty rate in Laramie County. RTEC started by providing
transportation for seniors only and expanded in 1990 to serve the general public. This multi-
county transportation service provides non-emergency medical trips, trips to jobs and job
training, shopping centers, senior centers, and delivers meals to homebound seniors. In 1995,
RTEC provided 186,195 passenger trips with 45 vehicles. Average cost per trip came to $5.12.
RTEC funding sources include: federal programs for rural transportation, Medicaid and Older
Americans, and in-kind donations from cities and counties [1]. This is less than twice the 2006
operating expense per passenger trip for CTP [7].

Another rural transit program of relevance services rural Arkansas. The Central Arkansas
Development Council provides transportation services to the Lower Arkansas Region, offering
fixed-route and demand-responsive services to provide transit opportunities for older adults in
the community. Funding sources include grants and foundation funds [24].

In North Carolina, programs partnering in the delivery of small urban and rural transit services
have resulted in a present-day coordination of human service and general public transportation
services through a jointly developed plan. This coordination has become a prerequisite for

Laramie County GAPS Analysis                 TR-16/Page                                 September 2008
state funding and as such, these services are available in each of North Carolina’s 100 counties
[24].

A final program focused on enabling job opportunities and education. In Alabama, small urban
and rural communities provide job and education access through the use of state and county
vehicles, including school buses. The buses are especially efficient as they already stop in
residential areas, connect recipients with a central location from which they can access training,
employment, and transportation options at other sites [24].

Regardless of the steps that are taken to improve transportation in Laramie County and make
services more equitably accessible for vulnerable populations, it is essential to begin with a
consideration of the community’s existing resources and an examination of successes in similar
communities. This assessment has demonstrated that the Cheyenne Transit Program is
drastically lacking at the moment but seems open to making necessary changes if adequate
funding becomes available. Wyoming and Laramie County also have a key resource that should
be utilized in developing county based transit alternatives. Notably, Wyoming and Laramie
County residents are already more likely than most Americans to carpool to work. Through
proper community planning and partnerships, it may be realistic to develop more structured
carpooling or vanpooling programs in areas currently lacking public transit infrastructure.




Laramie County GAPS Analysis                 TR-17/Page                                September 2008
References
1) Transportation Research Board. (1999). Using Public Transportation to Reduce the
    Economic, Social, and Human Costs of Personal Immobility. Report 49, Transit Cooperative
    Research Program. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
2) Laramie County Community Partnership. (2005). Laramie County Needs Assessment.
3) Laramie County Community Partnership. (2007). Minutes: October Partnership Meeting.
4) U.S. Census Bureau. (2006). American Community Survey, 2006. Accessed July 1, 2008 at
    www.census.gov.
5) Cheyenne Transportation Program, Community Forum. August 30, 2007.
6) Cheyenne Transit Program, Human Services Map.
7) Cheyenne Transit Program Statistics (2006), provided by Cheyenne Transit Program.
8) Informal Transportation Survey of Needs, Inc. Clients.
9) Cheyenne Metropolitan Planning Organization. (2005). Transit Improvement Program:
    Annual and Three Year Element, for Fiscal Years 2006-2008.
10) Cheyenne Metropolitan Planning Organization. (2006). Transit Improvement Program: FY
    2006-2008 TIP Amendment Projects.
11) Cheyenne Metropolitan Planning Organization. (2007). Transit Improvement Program: FY
    2007 TIP Amendment.
12) Cheyenne Metropolitan Planning Organization. (2006). Cheyenne Area Master Plan
    Executive Summary: Guide to the Community Plan, Parks and Recreation Master Plan,
    Transportation Master Plan. Cheyenne: Cheyenne MPO/City of Cheyenne/Laramie County.
13) Cheyenne Metropolitan Planning Organization. (2006). Cheyenne Area Transportation
    Master Plan: Snapshot. Cheyenne: Cheyenne MPO/City of Cheyenne/Laramie County.
14) Cheyenne Metropolitan Planning Organization. (2006). Cheyenne Area Transportation
    Master Plan: Structure. Cheyenne: Cheyenne MPO/City of Cheyenne/Laramie County.
15) Cheyenne Metropolitan Planning Organization. (2006). Cheyenne Area Transportation
    Master Plan: Shape. Cheyenne: Cheyenne MPO/City of Cheyenne/Laramie County.
16) Cheyenne Metropolitan Planning Organization. (2006). Cheyenne Area Transportation
    Master Plan: Build. Cheyenne: Cheyenne MPO/City of Cheyenne/Laramie County.
17) Personal Communication with the Cheyenne Transit Program. Conversations and emails
    exchanged in June, 2008 and September, 2008.
18) Google business search for grocery stores in: Cheyenne, Pine Bluffs, Albin, and Laramie
    County.
19) Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board. Part 1192 – Americans with
    Disabilities Act (ADA) Accessibility Guidelines for Transportation Vehicles.
20) Baily, L. (2004). Aging Americans: Stranded Without Options. Surface Transportation Policy
    Project.
21) Wyoming Independent Living Rehabilitation Website. Transportation Check Program.
    Accessed August 15, 2008, at www.wilr.org/trans.html.
22) Laramie County Community Partnership. Resource List.
23) Cambridge Systematics, Inc. (2006). State and National Transit Investment Analysis.
    Requested by American Public Transportation Association & American Association of State
    Highway and Transportation Officials.

Laramie County GAPS Analysis               TR-18/Page                              September 2008
24) American Public Transportation Association. The Benefits of Public Transportation: Mobility
    for America’s Small Urban and Rural Communities.




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       Appendix A____________________________________________________________________




       Source: Cheyenne Area Transportation Master Plan: Build

Laramie County GAPS Analysis                  TR-20/Page                       September 2008
        Appendix
        B_____________________________________________________________________________________
        __________________




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Laramie County GAPS Analysis   TR-22/Page   September 2008

								
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