Development of a Microsimulation Analysis Tool for Paratransit Patron Accessibility in Small and Medium Communities
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Paratransit is a critical form of transportation for mobility-impaired, low income, and small/ medium sized communities. Paratransit systems face many challenges that restrict how well they can serve their community, including limited funding, aging fleets, limited to no level of service standard assessments, and few practical modeling/planning practices. This paper discusses a transferable paratransit microsimulation patron accessibility analysis tool designed to address these challenges. The tool calculates paratransit patron accessibility (defined as paratransit patrons' perceived ease of access to reach desired activities and destinations) by simulating and measuring daily paratransit patron travel patterns based on service fleet and region information. The tool further allows providers to evaluate patron accessibility for any combination of population groups, travel purposes, and times of day. Transit providers can use the tool to determine how well paratransit patrons are served and the most efficient ways to improve service. The microsimulation framework, including the system of simulation models, the supporting data, and application to Brownsville, Texas are described in detail.