Cost-Benefit Analysis of Volunteer Driver Programs: Minnesota Case Studies


Zhirong Zhao

August 2017

Report no. MCOTA 17-03

In 2017, the Minnesota Council on Transportation Access (MCOTA) requested a study to identify the economic benefits of volunteer driver programs in the state, using six volunteer driver programs as case studies: county-based volunteer program, transit system-based programs, and Faith-in-Action programs. This study builds on the 2016 MCOTA volunteer program survey. Researchers from the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School of Public Affairs sought to meet these objectives by interviewing selected providers that use volunteer drivers in Minnesota, obtaining their operation and financial data, and calculating cost savings of their programs in comparison to alternative services that would have been used if their volunteer driver programs were unavailable. For each case, this report introduces the organization and the scope of its operation, provides some operating and financial details about its volunteer driver program as well as perceived public benefits, and then calculates their cost savings in comparison to alternative services.

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