THE REVERSE COMMUTE EXPERIMENT (A $7 MILLION DEMONSTRATION PROGRAM)

THIS REPORT DETERMINED THE OPERATIONAL AND ECONOMIC FEASIBILITY OF PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION CONNECTING THE INNERCITY TO THE SUBURBAN JOB SITES. THIS PROBLEM IS REFERRED TO AS "REVERSE COMMUTE FLOW". IN AN EFFORT TO RELIEVE THE PROBLEM OF THE UNEMPLOYED INNERCITY WORKER, OR POTENTIAL WORKER WITHOUT PRIVATE TRANSPORTATION, 14 CITIES SPONSORED DEMONSTRATION TESTS THAT IN TOTAL OR IN PART CONCERNED REVERSE COMMUTE TRANSIT DEVELOPMENT. ONE SPECIFIC PROJECT, THE CHICAGO O'HAREXPRESS, DEMONSTRATED AN EXPRESS BUS SERVICE CONNECTING CHICAGO'S RAPID TRANSIT SYSTEM (AND THUS THE WHOLE OF THE INNERCITY) WITH THE O'HARE AIRPORT EMPLOYMENT COMPLEX. THIS PROJECT EMBODIED EVERY POSITIVE ACCOMPLISHMENT THAT WAS DESIRED OF THE SERVICE DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM. ROUTE DEVELOPMENT FOR EACH OF THE FOURTEEN CITIES ARE REVIEWED AND THE SUCCESS OR FAILURE IS INDICATED. THE SUCCESS OF A PROJECT DOES NOT NECESSARILY MEAN THAT THE DEFICIT WAS REDUCED TO ZERO, ONLY THAT IT WAS REDUCED TO A SMALL ENOUGH LOSS FOR SOME LOCAL AGENCY TO PLACE IT INTO A PERMANENT OPERATING STATUS. IT IS POINTED OUT THAT DEFICITS MIGHT DISAPPEAR SHOULD THE PROJECT BE INTEGRATED INTO THE TOTAL METROPOLITAN TRANSIT SYSTEM. THE BENEFIT COST MODEL USED WAS DESIGNED TO CIRCUMVENT DIFFICULTIES BY PRODUCING HIGHLY CONSERVATIVE ANSWERS SO THAT THE MINIMAL VALUES OBTAINED WOULD HAVE GREATER CREDIBILITY. THE TWO TYPES OF BENEFITS MEASURED WERE INCOME BENEFITS -- ADDED INCOME TO THE INNERCITY COMMUNITY BY CONNECTING THE INNERCITY LABOR FORCE TO NEW JOB OPPORTUNITIES AND TRAVELER BENEFITS -- SAVINGS IN TIME AND COST TO TRAVELERS. SURVEYS WERE MADE OF THE ESTIMATED BENEFITS, HOW THEY ARE DIVIDED BETWEEN INCOME AND TRAVELER BENEFITS, AND THE OPERATIONAL DEFICIT FOR SIX OF THE FOURTEEN CITIES. THE TEN MAJOR RESEARCH AREAS TREATED ARE: (1) SOCIAL BENEFITS, (2) ROUTE DEVELOPMENT, (3) DEVELOPABLE REVERSE COMMUTE ROUTES, (4) BUS PATRONAGE ATTRITION RATES, (5) THE MOST VIABLE ROUTES SERVE MULTIPLE USER GROUPS, (6) MERCHANDISING TRANSIT TO MINORITIES, (7) EFFECTIVENESS OF THE SERVICE DEVELOPMENT GRANT (8) PROJECT SUCCESS, (9) THE EFFECTS OF THE LACK OF ADEQUATE INVOLVEMENT OF THE MASS TRANSIT INDUSTRY, (10) INSTITUTIONAL CONSTRAINTS: LABOR PROTECTION, FRAGMENTED REGIONAL SYSTEMS, AND A BANKRUPT TRANSIT INDUSTRY. THE OBJECTIVES OF THE DEMONSTRATION PROGRAM CONCEIVED IN 1968 HAVE BEEN MET. THE 14 REVERSE COMMUTE PROJECTS SEEM TO HAVE PROVIDED THE BASIC ANSWERS TO THE ORIGINAL QUESTIONS. IF FURTHER DEMONSTRATION TESTING IS TO HAVE EXPERIMENTAL VALUE, IT WILL HAVE TO EMBRACE NONCONVENTIONAL OPERATIONAL SYSTEMS AND NEW APPROACHES TO FINANCIAL SUBSIDIES. /UMTA/

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • PROJ NO TRD-41
  • Corporate Authors:

    Stanford Research Institute

    333 Ravenswood Avenue
    Menlo Park, CA  United States  94025
  • Authors:
    • CRAIN, J L
  • Publication Date: 1970-12

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00240157
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Urban Mass Transportation Administration
  • Files: TRIS, USDOT
  • Created Date: Oct 23 2002 12:00AM