Understanding the Operational Attributes of Volunteer Driver Programs to Support Incorporation into Transportation Planning
University of New Brunswick
Volunteer Driver Programs (VDP) have been identified as a potential solution to the lack of available alternatives in rural communities by providing a low-cost transportation system where volunteers offer to drive community members (Hanson 2013). This study collected annual travel data and organisational attributes from 8 VDPs operating in New Brunswick. The organizational analysis of VDPs, using a developed Maturity Model, showed a connection between levels of maturity for particular processes and certain group size. Some Key Practices show to be transitional in nature as groups transition from Small to in Large size, while others did not show consensus suggesting that the surveyed VDPs have yet to determine the optimal level of management that they warrant. The descriptive statistics show that 7 groups served 5,769 drives in a year moving 8,367 riders a total distance over 350,000 kilometres. The primary purpose of these trips was for “Health” purposes with a second large portion being for “Work and Education”. There was a strong positive linear correlation (R2=0.82) between number of riders and overall budget, suggesting that even though groups were independently organized and can operate in different geographic areas, the rate of budget increase per increase in number of riders appears to be fairly constant. These results are aimed to assist VDP operators in managing their organisational practices and service records using a methodology similar to transit agencies, while providing resources for transportation planners to assess VDP implementation as a tool for meeting rural transportation needs.