Barriers and Catalysts
for Statewide Coordination
of Transportation Services
Report Submitted to:
South Carolina Department of Transportation
Center for Community Growth and Change
Department of Planning and Landscape Architecture
164 Lee Hall, Box 340511
Clemson, South Carolina 29634-0511 USA
Table of Contents
APPENDIX B CATAWBA REGION CASE STUDY FINDINGS B-1
B.1 NEEDS AND VISION __________________________________________________B-1
B.2 EXISTING CONDITIONS _______________________________________________B-3
B.2.1 Regional Characteristics.......................................................................... B-3
B.2.2 Existing Fleets ....................................................................................... B-4
B.3 EXISTING COORDINATION _____________________________________________B-6
B.3.1 CATS/City of Rock Hill Coordination .......................................................... B-6
B.3.2 United Way Coordination ........................................................................ B-6
B.3.3 Coordination for Councils on Aging and Disabilities and Special Needs ........... B-7
B.4 BARRIERS AND OBSTACLES _____________________________________________B-7
B.5 FUTURE STRATEGIES _________________________________________________B-8
B.5.1 Future Technology ................................................................................. B-8
B.5.2 Future of Charlotte Area Transit System.................................................... B-9
B.5.3 Future Development............................................................................... B-9
B.5.4 Future Transit Expansion ........................................................................ B-9
List of Figures
Figure B-1: The 2007 one-way fare for the Rock Hill express service to Charlotte is
$2.40. .................................................................................................. B-2
Councils of Governments
Councils of Governments
Council of Governments
ACOG Appalachian Council of Governments
BCD COG Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments
Catawba Catawba Regional Council of Governments
Central Midlands Central Midlands Council of Governments
Lowcountry Lowcountry Council of Governments
LSCOG Lower Savannah Council of Governments
PDCOG Pee Dee Regional Council of Governments
SLCOG Santee-Lynches Council of Governments
Upper Savannah Upper Savannah Council of Governments
WRCOG Waccamaw Regional Council of Governments
Appendix B Catawba Region Case Study Findings
The Catawba Council of Governments region faces a mix of challenges
including metropolitan congestion, sparse rural transportation needs, and
the multiple jurisdictions associated with a state border. This region is
situated immediately south of Charlotte, North Carolina, a major
metropolitan area experiencing tremendous growth of both population and
economy. On the South Carolina side of the border, cities in York County
like Fort Mill, Rock Hill, and Tega Cay are effectively part of the Charlotte
metropolis and are now included in Charlotte’s regional transportation plans.
On the other hand, the southern parts of the Catawba region, which include
Chester, Lancaster, and Union Counties, are predominately rural in
character. Having two different types of development within the same South
Carolina region highlights the diversity of transportation service needs in the
state. In addition, this region includes South Carolina’s only federally-
recognized Indian tribe.
The objective of this case study is to identify transportation service needs
and the potential for transportation coordination related to metropolitan
congestion, mixed urban and rural environments, and inter-state issues.
Ten transportation stakeholders were interviewed over the course of August
15-18, 2006 and this section discusses interview results in the context of
background information from archival records related to the Catawba Council
of Governments region.
B.1 Needs and Vision
Recent expansions of Charlotte’s transit network into South Carolina attempt
to address the problems associated with metropolitan traffic congestion.
Most of the expansions can be attributed to the Charlotte Area Transit
The city of Rock Hill has experienced the largest expansion with the addition
of a new park-and-ride express bus service to Charlotte. Rock Hill is
commonly considered a bedroom community of people working in Charlotte;
however, local leaders in the region expressed that they do not want to be
considered or developed as such. The express bus services Rock Hill during
the following times.
Source: Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS)
Figure B-1: The 2007 one-way fare for the Rock Hill express service
to Charlotte is $2.40.
While fixed-route service between Rock Hill and Charlotte is established and
growing, local service within Rock Hill is only offered on a demand-response
basis. The characteristics of Rock Hill, such as fixed origins and
destinations, including residential areas and employment centers with
substantial numbers of commuters, lend support to fixed-route transit
service. One stakeholder interviewed expressed it would like to see a fixed
route service implemented in York County. Currently, a demand-response
transportation service exists in urban areas of the county, thus establishing
a base of transit demand. The mindset of the region needs to change to
promote local fixed-route service.
On the outskirts of York County and beyond the Charlotte catchment area a
different type of development exists and rural transportation issues
dominate. Lancaster County is a prime example of how rural land use
affects the transportation network and its effectiveness. Stakeholders stated
the county can not support a fixed-route public transit system. The vision in
Lancaster is to provide a demand-response service as fixed routes are not
viewed as a feasible alternative in the area.
Leaders in the council of governments recognized a need to plan
transportation on a regional level. Currently, county leaders bring a county
perspective towards transportation to the council-of-governments meetings.
Because of the rapid economic changes in the Catawba region, one
stakeholder stated that the region would benefit more from a regional
perspective on transportation than the traditional county outlook. Some of
the key questions to be answered at the stakeholder meetings are who is
responsible for public transit, where are the clients going, and when the
clients are going.
One stakeholder stated that the ability to have funding flexibility is a must
for the Catawba region. SAFETEA-LU restricts some funding sources to
specific types of communities. For example, the City of Rock Hill, which has
an urban designation assigned to it, receives 5307 (urban) money that is not
inclusive to urban areas and can be used for transit in the surrounding
suburbs. York County receives 5311 (rural) money which cannot be used in
urbanized areas. For the future, it may benefit transportation providers if
the state works to maximize funding flexibility within the federal framework.
Another concern in the Catawba region is the overall level of funding. A
disabilities and special needs board said that funding constraints have
limited its employees to focusing only on day-to-day operations, neglecting
The Catawba region has to cope with multiple jurisdictions because the
northern parts of the region are located along the state border. Only one
stakeholder has obtained the interstate contracts necessary to allow them to
move residents between states. Other agencies do not transport clients
between states because of legislation which impedes interstate operations.
Most interviewees in the Catawba region kept transportation services to
intra-state to avoid these jurisdictional issues.
One positive comment about this jurisdictional challenge was that the region
has received political support from South Carolina for interstate transit. The
state legislature is directly involved with the Catawba Council of
Governments; the county and city councils are aware of the issues.
B.2 Existing Conditions
B.2.1 Regional Characteristics
The Catawba Council of Governments incorporates a wide variety of
population densities from low-density areas like Chester and Union Counties
to relatively higher-density locales like Rock Hill and Fort Mill. Rock Hill is
currently the third -fastest growing city in South Carolina and is part of
Charlotte’s regional travel model. Previously, only roads were modeled for
future development. The City of Rock Hill is not looking at transit modeling.
Chester County is demographically akin to Union County with relatively low
population densities and the Catawba Council of Governments has
encouraged the City to develop a transit plan because of an increase in 5311
Historically, the Catawba region has received public transit from providers
outside of its area. The Pee Dee Regional Transportation Authority provided
a demand-response service to the area until 2000. Lancaster County was
supportive of the Pee Dee Regional Transportation Authority, but money was
not contributed by the county to help continue the service. However, the
local area decided to discontinue the service primarily because they believe
the Pee Dee Regional Transportation Authority was operating outside of its
optimal geographic range. The Charlotte Area Transit System has been
providing an express bus to Rock Hill and Fort Mill for serving the commuting
population to the Charlotte metropolitan area.
No public transit services are currently available in Lancaster and limited
public service exists in Chester County. Small operators including disabilities
and special needs boards, councils on aging, and the Department of Health
and Human Services manage most existing transportation needs. Rock Hill
has recently joined with the Charlotte Area Transit System to provide
express bus service to the northern parts of the Catawba region or South
Carolina. Interest group meetings were held within the Catawba Council of
Governments which included a transportation representative from each
stakeholder. The majority of the people involved were not convinced about
how a successful public transit service could be implemented. Outcomes
from the meetings ranged from stakeholders which were extremely
pessimistic while others were extremely optimistic views on public transit.
B.2.2 Existing Fleets
This section summarizes the types of vehicles that each organization has at
their disposal in order to describe how various organizations move moving
their clients from one place to another.
The York County DSN board is equipped to handle special needs seniors and
hold a number of state contracts. The DSN is a private operator and 98% of
their funding comes from the state. They describe their vehicle fleet as
• 25 facility vans (dedicated to a specific group home),
• 15 day program vans, and
• 15 passenger vans (capacity not specified)
The vehicles are of the following types:
• wheelchair vans (require 2 people),
• minivans, and
They have two vehicles that run routes to pick up participants for workshops
and on the weekends use some other agencies’ vans. The York County DSN
board deals primarily with individuals that have developmental disabilities
The Chester/Lancaster DSN board is equipped with the following vehicles:
• 1 box truck,
• 15 minivans,
• 2 cutaways,
• 7 4-door sedans,
• 12 15-passenger vans, and
• 1 back up vehicle
This DSN board classifies their vans into three categories: Home Vans, Work
Vans and Appointment Vans. The main difference between the
Chester/Lancaster DSN board and the York County DSN board is that the
Chester/Lancaster DSN board first identifies the need for transportation and
then assigns a vehicle type to the location in need. The Chester/Lancaster
DSN board does not have enough vehicles at the present time to support the
9,000 new homes that are being constructed in Indian Land which could
cause problems in the future for the transportation system in the area.
The City of Rock Hill works primarily with the Charlotte Area Transit System
(CATS) for public transit. CATS supplies and operates a van pool where the
drivers take the vans home after they are finished. They can also use the
vans for small personal uses such as grocery shopping and things of that
nature. The cost of operating the van is at the driver’s expense which does
alleviate some of the burdens of operating the van pool. Rock Hill currently
uses 5307 money and taxis for demand response; however, they have some
issues with their funding situation. The main issue is that the 5307 money
only provides half of the money that is required for operating the services
that are needed and matching the 50% local funding has been a problem.
Rock Hill has done some research into the 5307 funding and has found that
Kingsport, Tennessee has set precedents for private operators by using 5307
money to buy their entire fleet for service with an 80/20 split. All of their
vehicles in Tennessee are also ADA compliant.
The Lancaster Council on Aging (COA) currently has no dedicated drivers.
The Lancaster Council on Aging has the following vehicles at their disposal:
• 6 15-passenger vans,
• 2 cutaways, and
• 2 wheelchair lifts
The cutaways are safer vehicles; however, funding constraints prevent them
from increasing the number of cutaways in their fleet at the present time.
The York County Council on Aging (COA) provided Clemson interviewers with
the following breakdown of its 29-vehicle fleet:
• 15-passenger vans,
• 3-4 minivans, and
• a few cutaway vans
B.3 Existing Coordination
Coordination in the Catawba region of South Carolina has increased over
time to a point where there are three types of coordination being developed
at this time. The Charlotte Area Transit System is coordinating with the City
of Rock Hill, the United Way is expanding its role, and disabilities and special
needs boards are coordinating with councils on aging.
B.3.1 CATS/City of Rock Hill Coordination
The City of Rock Hill currently is coordinating with agencies in Charlotte,
North Carolina. Rock Hill has a representative on the Charlotte
Transportation Board, participating in metropolitan Charlotte planning. The
city also has a very good relationship with the Charlotte Area Transit
System, being home to one of the Charlotte area’s first commuter bus
The Charlotte Area Transit System has been coordinating the cities of Lake
Wylie, Fort Mill, and Rock Hill, South Carolina with the goal of expanding
transit services across state lines. It has devoted $102,000 to this purpose
and one agency wonders how much the CATS service will expand. Another
organization expressed that the service should continue to expand as long as
it can provide effective service. The Rock Hill-Fort Mill Area Transportation
Study is also teaming up with local metropolitan planning organizations to
look at rapid transit connections.
B.3.2 United Way Coordination
The United Way’s main role in the area is to try to bring all of the key
organizations together in order to develop more cohesive coordination. The
United Way has partnered with the Catawba Council of Governments along
with the councils on aging. There are multiple transportation studies
underway across the region; York, Chester, Lancaster, and Union counties
are all taking part in the studies. These studies have shown that every
county has identified different needs.
B.3.3 Coordination for Councils on Aging and Disabilities and Special Needs
One type of coordination that has been successful in the Catawba region has
been between a disabilities and special needs board and a council on aging.
The agencies work together directly through mutual assistance agreements.
One Disabilities and special needs board has a good working relationship
with a local family practitioner and it makes sure that appointments move as
quickly as possible. These agencies perform equipment swapping when
needed. The organizations had not yet experimented with client sharing.
The concern is that it is important to know what types of clients are being
transported and assign them accordingly. Another type of coordination that
could be explored is driver sharing. Both agencies have been hesitant to
share drivers because the client bases for both agencies are extremely
sensitive to change. Other concerns that both agencies have with
• liability insurance,
• accident insurance,
• human capital investment,
• conflicting schedules,
• reciprocal agreements with the councils on aging, and
• vehicle maintenance
B.4 Barriers and Obstacles
Because of the geographical nature of the Catawba region, unique barriers
to coordination were encountered that were not noted during other site
visits. Inter-jurisdictional legislation, funding, insurance coverage were
noted as the most common barriers for the Catawba region.
One council on aging expressed that local restrictions have been the biggest
barrier to local coordination; however, inter-jurisdictional legislation has
hindered inter-state movement at the regional level. One agency stated that
bi-state legislation is tricky, the current system is not flexible and should be
addressed. The expansion of the Charlotte Area Transit System has
attracted much attention in the Catawba region. Although the system
managed to extend its services to the Rock Hill-Fort Mill area, the state
border has become a wall that the system has difficulty getting around. One
agency in the Catawba region said that the market should decide the
barriers of the Charlotte Area Transit System development and that the
system should continue to plan and proceed without worrying about borders.
Ultimately, agencies on both sides think that the border should be irrelevant
to the development of the Charlotte Area Transit System.
In order for an effective coordination effort to take place in the Catawba
region of South Carolina, transportation providers must be adequately
funded. Many organizations involved in the transit coordination study
identified funding as a high priority concern. One disabilities and special
needs board expressed that funding shortages last year resulted in the
employees focusing mainly on day-to-day operations. The chief funding
concerns are that fuel cost is continuously rising and it is difficult to keep up
with vehicle maintenance. Some agencies specified that money is not being
distributed in such a way that transportation services needs for the region
are being satisfied. Lastly, Jacob’s Law has been perceived to be a barrier
for funding. One agency stated that cutaway vehicles are available from
dealers, but not compliant with Jacob’s Law. Stakeholders felt section 5310
(rural) money should be spent only on vehicles compliant with Jacob’s Law.
Coordinating transportation services also gives way to issues pertaining to
adequate insurance coverage, which agencies noted as a potential barrier on
multiple occasions. One agency approached local churches with the hopes of
coordinating with them; however, churches and private day care facilities
prohibit inter-client insurance. Only one church was interested in
coordination. One of the reasons why insurance barriers are associated with
coordination is because the organizations not only have to maintain their
original insurance; they also are required to purchase umbrella insurance.
B.5 Future Strategies
One agency may have said it best when they stated, “nothing ensures
coordination except the guarantee of a dollar.” Coordination in the Catawba
region of South Carolina has been growing steadily and more can be
achieved if taken in the right direction.
B.5.1 Future Technology
Agencies in the Catawba region expressed different opinions on how
technology should be expanded upon to improve the overall transportation
system in the area. The technological capabilities of the transportation
providers in the Catawba region vary greatly. One disabilities and special
needs board stated that it does not believe that having global positioning
technology will meet its needs; therefore, the board has not seen value in
acquiring global positioning technology for its services. Homes in the area
are fairly clustered and the technology itself may become more of a problem
than a solution. Another disabilities and special needs board specified that it
is very interested in sharing routing technology. Meanwhile, an agency in
Lancaster believes a demand-response service would work with technology.
The council believes there is a need for global positioning technology for
vehicles in the Catawba region.
B.5.2 Future of Charlotte Area Transit System
The future of the Charlotte Area Transit System is uncertain, some agencies
voiced opinions on the subject. One organization expressed that it would
like the Charlotte Area Transit System to grow into an advocacy organization
for public transportation. Another agency mentioned that it would like to
see the Charlotte Area Transit System become a regional transit provider
instead of working only in the Charlotte metropolitan area. Because the
Catawba region of South Carolina is located on the border, the expansion of
the transit system has significantly impacted the region’s future plans.
B.5.3 Future Development
Development of northern cities in the Catawba region is already underway
with plans to build a new retirement community in Indian Land with
approximately 9,000 new homes. One agency identified the cities of Indian
Land and Richburg have been recognized as hot spots for potential economic
development. The underlying concern associated with the future
development plans for the area is that transportation agencies in the region
will be unable to provide an adequate service to the incoming population.
B.5.4 Future Transit Expansion
Funded through an $880,000 FTA grant, Rock Hill is involved in an
investment study for a rapid transit connection with its downtown area. The
city is in the process of finalizing and making recommendations for preferred
alternatives. The next step for the study is to look at land use in the area.
One agency shared its idea of implementing a downtown trolley-bus service
in Rock Hill. The organization proposed a hybrid approach to public transit
that would include both fixed routes and demand-response services. Some
of the questions that were shared about the possible trolley service were:
what type of fee structure will be created for the system, to whom should
the service be marketed, and where should the line be drawn?