The Rural Transit Assistance Program (RTAP) was created in 1987 in response to a need for drivers, dispatchers, managers, and other transit professionals to have specialized skills and knowledge to serve their customers in rural and tribal areas. The RTAP program fills that need in several ways.
The goals of the RTAP program include promoting the safe and effective delivery of public transportation services in rural areas and facilitating more efficient use of public transportation resources. To meet those goals, the program focuses on the following objectives:
- Improving the quality of training and technical assistance resources available to the rural transit industry
- Encouraging and assisting state, local, and peer networks to address training and technical assistance needs
- Promoting the coordination of transportation services
- Building a national database of information about the rural transit industry
Since its inception, National RTAP has contributed to the achievement of these objectives at the national level by developing and distributing training materials, providing technical assistance, creating web-based applications, producing reports, publishing best practices, conducting research, and offering peer assistance for rural and tribal transit providers and state RTAP programs.
Technical assistance is provided through the Resource Center, which is staffed five days a week from 9-5PM ET. The Resource Center can be accessed via phone at 888-589-6821, email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or chat through the www.nationalrtap.org website.
The Resource Library, which is part of the Resource Center, contains approximately 500 resource entries from National RTAP and other organizations, all of interest to rural and tribal transit providers and state program managers. National RTAP has training modules available for download or order, and technical briefs available for download. We produce a bi-weekly newsletter (eNews), which highlights news, reports, and events pertaining to rural and tribal transit. Special announcements are also sent via the same method to specific groups, especially when funding is announced. After it is sent out every other week, eNews is also uploaded into the Resource Library and placed on our website for easy viewing.
National RTAP’s training modules, which are shipped at no cost to states and transit agencies, include handbooks and discs on a variety of transit topics such as safety, maintenance, and customer service. To view all of the training modules, as well as technical briefs and other products, view our Resource Catalog. Several web-based applications are also available for use by the rural and tribal transit community, including GTFS Builder, ProcurementPRO, and Website Builder. These products are all hosted in the National RTAP Cloud, and can be accessed from the National RTAP website.
Finally, National RTAP hosts the Peer-to-Peer Network for rural and tribal transit professionals, including state program managers. This is an informal system whereby National RTAP receives requests for peer assistance and matches the requestor to an appropriate peer mentor.
Services of Interest to State RTAP Managers
Some National RTAP services are of particular interest to state program managers. All RTAP Managers are automatically added to the eNews list. If you are not receiving biweekly eNews, particularly if you are a new manager, please get in touch with us at email@example.com. The Peer-to-Peer network is also helpful for new RTAP managers seeking guidance, or those looking to make changes to their programs. Although RTAP managers should feel free to connect with each other outside of the formal peer program, specific requests for help can be targeted by National RTAP staff to the appropriate RTAP manager, based on expertise.
National RTAP is available to provide research help and technical assistance to state program managers. Subrecipients can be referred directly to us for technical assistance or information (we often refer subrecipients to their state programs if they have not contacted them already). State-developed products, if applicable to a wider audience, can also be promoted nationally and included in the Resource Library. States can request to have their nationally-relevant materials in our Resource Library, if we have not already put them there.
National RTAP provides networking opportunities for state RTAP managers, including the State RTAP Managers' Forum, and events at national conferences, such as breakfasts and roundtables. In the past, National RTAP has hosted a webinar series for RTAP managers; this has been replaced by the Forum. Special preview webinars for RTAP managers are held prior to the release of each major National RTAP product.