2006 Annual Forum
An Exploratory Survey of Potential Community Transportation Providers and Users
Gary Barnes, University of Minnesota
Heather Dolphin, University of Minnesota
This paper describes a large survey to better understand specialized transportation resources and how they are being used. The survey had two key characteristics. The first was to question both organizations that provide transportation, and those that do not provide it but are actively involved in purchasing or arranging it on behalf of their clients. The second was to be comprehensive; that is, to survey any organization that might be involved either in providing or arranging transportation.
The results fall into two broad categories. The first is the actual survey findings, which provide a broad and comprehensive overview of the types of transportation-related activities that organizations are engaged in. Most significantly, about 45% of the diverse organizations that were surveyed provide transportation in some form, and another 20% actively arrange transportation for their clients. This confirms the common belief that the true size of the specialized transportation "system" is far larger than the formal network that is known to transportation funders and regulators.
Because the survey was intended to be broad and exploratory rather than focused and definitive, the findings generally fall short of providing clear answers to specific questions. However, they are often provide considerable insight into the types of details that future surveys should address with respect to various issues. Given this, perhaps the more important results are conclusions about how the findings of this survey, and the insights that they generate, can be used to develop more focused and definitive surveys of this type in the future.