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This policy brief summarizes some of the key findings from a comprehensive literature review (submitted for publication) on the impact of shared mobility services and GHG emissions.
In 2020, the microtransit company. “Via” partnered with Jersey City to provide on-demand car rides to underserved communities whose mass public transit routes had been canceled due to low ridership during the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic. The company aims to complement existing transit which operates comprehensively and frequently in the central areas of Jersey City. Via offers rides outside of this well-served district but not within to minimize competition with public transit. The same company launched in Arlington, Texas in 2017. Arlington, which was the largest city in America without a public transit system, opted to contract Via to provide an alternative transportation mode to driving in a personal vehicle. The on-demand service offers point-to-point rides within Arlington and connections to intercity train stations to Dallas-Fort Worth.
Microtransit—shared transportation that offers dynamic routing and scheduling to efficiently match demand—is emerging as an ally to fixed-route services. However, its positive impacts are too often constrained by the politics and economics imposed by existing transit infrastructure. This paper proposes a solution that ‘‘flips transit on its head.’’ By rapidly prototyping microtransit services across cities and analyzing supply-demand mismatches, it is possible to launch truly data-driven transit services. To illustrate the framework, a unique dataset generated from a year of Dallas Area Rapid Transit’s GoLink service, one of the largest ondemand microtransit services in North America, is used. Mapping and machine learning are combined to empower planners to ‘‘join the dots’’ when (re)designing fixed-route transit lines. It is shown that microtransit should not simply fill in the gaps left by inefficiently scheduled bus routes: by incorporating it fully into their planning processes, cities and transit agencies could dramatically reverse the fortunes of public transit.
Jarrett Walker, author of "Human Transit: How Clearer Thinking about Public Transit Can Enrich our Communities and Lives," writes about the costs and benefits of microtransit on his blog, "Human Transit". Walker is skeptical of Microtransit. He argues that it is spacially, economically, and fiscally inefficient and should only be used in very rare and specific cases.
Before the pandemic, Urbanism Next developed a framework organizing the disruptions to cities caused by emerging transportation technologies on land use, urban design, building design, transportation, and real estate. COVID-19 has disrupted the trajectory of these emerging technologies and will, in turn, change some our original assumptions. This paper revisits the original Urbanism Next framework, taking into account the cascading impacts of the pandemic. This report is one of two reports completed by Urbanism Next on the impacts of Covid-19.
How is the COVID-19 pandemic changing urban living? In this paper, we explore the landscape of COVID-19 disruptions to date on land use and real estate, urban design, building design, transportation, e-commerce and retail, and goods delivery. We also highlight the longer-term questions and potential ongoing impacts COVID-19 might have on the built environment.
The purpose of this study is to go beyond cataloging pilot projects to determine the lessons learned, emerging trends and considerations, and examples of promising practices from pilot projects in the United States and Canada. Researchers assessed 220 pilot projects and 11 case studies. Based on that assessment, they recommend 10 actions for pilot projects generally. The study resulted in 31 lessons learned organized by pilot goals, evaluation, implementation, outcomes, and policy and infrastructure implications.
TAP is a payment card that works with 25 multimodal transit systems within LA County.
The purpose of this report is to analyze potential impacts and offer recommendations for the cities of Gresham and Eugene, OR, to understand the potential impacts of new mobility technologies – with an emphasis on autonomous vehicles (AVs) – and prepare a policy and programmatic response. While Gresham and Eugene are case studies, it provides mid-sized communities information on how new mobility services could impact their communities and what they can do about it, from broad strategies to specific policy responses. While this work focuses on the various new mobility and goods delivery services that currently exist, the framework that is discussed here is also applicable to emerging technologies that haven’t yet been introduced, such as autonomous vehicles (AVs).
"Private Transit: Existing Services and Emerging Directions provides an overview and taxonomy of private transit services in the United States, reviews their present scope and operating characteristics, presents three case studies, and discusses ways private transit services may affect the communities in which they operate. This report is intended to help inform public transit agencies, local governments, potential service operators and sponsors, and other stakeholders about private transit services and ways these services address transportation needs in a variety of operating environments."
Autonomous vehicles (AVs) are a near future reality and the implications of AVs on city development and urban form, while potentially widespread and dramatic, are not well understood. This report describes the first order impacts, or the broad ways that the form and function of cities are already being impacted by forces of change including—but not limited to—AVs and related technologies.
Unregulated commuter shuttles in San Francisco created safety and congestion issues while loading and unloading passengers. To directly address these problems, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency created the Commuter Shuttle Pilot Program, a program that enabled eligible commuter shuttles to load and unload passengers at curb zones originally intended for Muni buses. This report evaluates the impacts of the 18-month pilot program which began in January 2014.
This report summarizes the user survey findings during the half-way point of a year-long microtransit pilot project in West Sacramento, California. A final evaluation of the pilot will be published by the Transportation Sustainability Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley in 2019.
In partnership with Via, Marin County Transit District (Marin Transit) launched a microtransit pilot program in May 2018. This report created by Marin Transit contains lots of insights into the design and outcome of the pilot project. In particular, the survey results and data analysis in the report is very colorful.
"Researchers at the Transportation Sustainability Research Center (TSRC) at UC Berkeley conducted an evaluation of the RideKC: Bridj pilot program operating in Kansas City, MO. RideKC: Bridj is a public‐private partnership with the goal to enhance existing public transit options in Kansas City through a flexible microtransit service offered by Bridj. TSRC UC Berkeley’s goal in this evaluation is to assess the travel behavior impacts of the service, as well as to provide operational and institutional analysis."
"The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA), in Pinellas County, FL, was the first transit agency in the US to sign a service provision agreement with a transportation network company (TNC) to offer joint first/last-mile service subsidized by public dollars. PSTA’s “Direct Connect” pilot allows riders to get to and from bus stops in a taxi, wheelchair-accessible vehicle (WAV), or Uber TNC vehicle at a subsidized rate. PSTA’s overall experience developing, managing, and adapting the Direct Connect pilot provides insight into what transit agencies can expect when working with on-demand service providers. While operating on a larger scale, in a denser environment, or with a different ridership base may have offered different lessons in implementation, the Direct Connect pilot’s service design shows what is necessary for a successful launch of a pilot program: good data and transparency from all parties, as well as concrete plans for outreach and evaluation."
"This research explored how these new options could be synergistic with public transit models and detailed the experiences of two transit operators that entered into service delivery partnerships with a transportation network company and a micro- transit operator. Based on a series of interviews and the experiences of these two public agencies, this research provides a set of key takeaways and recommendations for transit operators exploring the potential of partnering with new mobility services such as transportation network companies (e.g., Uber or Lyft) and microtransit (e.g., Bridj or Via)."
This report was developed to inform a Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) workshop, held in September 2015, exploring emerging technological trends in transportation. This paper provides an overview of select developing transportation technologies and includes a discussion of the policy implications of these new technological trends.
The Transportation Authority’s “Emerging Mobility Evaluation Report” provides the first comprehensive look at the rapidly evolving emerging mobility sector in San Francisco. The report outlines the range of services operating in San Francisco, covering everything from ride-hail services to autonomous vehicles and microtransit to scooter sharing. In the report, the Transportation Authority evaluates how these services and technologies align with the city’s 10 Guiding Principles related to collaboration, safety, transit, congestion, sustainability, equitable access, accountability, labor, disabled access, and financial impact.
This report combines recently published research and newly available data from a national travel survey and other sources to create the first detailed profile of TNC ridership, users and usage. The report then discusses how TNC and microtransit services can benefit urban transportation, how policy makers can respond to traffic and transit impacts, and the implications of current experience for planning and implementation of shared autonomous vehicles in major American cities.
"This report summarizes the status of twenty-nine partnerships between TNCs and public bodies around the United States designed to improve mobility." The analysis explains when the programs were or are active, if they were modified, the financial structure and performance audits.
"This report’s findings, draw on a thorough investigation of active and inactive partnerships between transit agencies and TNCs, designed to enhance understanding of project development and structure and how those were achieved. While partnerships between transit agencies and private mobility providers are not new, partnerships with TNCs create unique opportunities and challenges as both parties work toward mutually beneficial program models. This research is informed by dozens of transit agency surveys and follow-up interviews, past literature, and interviews with TNC policy staff and industry experts as well as FTA representatives, and provides a Partnership Playbook so that the transit industry can be more deliberate in its approach to working with TNCs."
CityLab is launching Bus to the Future that puts public coaches at the center of the transportation future. It also plan to look at how technology can improve bus fundamentals. Automation (combined TNCs) could also transform surface transit.
"This paper identifies three promising applications of new mobility services by public transit agencies, and presents economic, social, and environmental modeling that illustrate the value of such partnerships to mass transit systems."
This report asks what role AVs can play in our society and how to create policy to allow them onto our streets in a way that will maximize our return?
The full story of autonomous vehicles is yet to be written. We created four scenario planning stories that explain how cities could shape the driverless future: tap taxi to tackle isolation, weaving a microtransit mesh, a human touch on robot delivery, reprogramming bus, bikes and barriers.
In the United States, public transportation agencies are experimenting with on-demand, shared, and dynamic models to augment traditional fixed-route bus and train services. These services—referred to as microtransit— are enabled by technology similar to the mobile smartphone applications pioneered by privately operated transportation network companies. As interest in this technology grows, it is critical for public transportation agencies and departments of transportation to understand the benefits and challenges of incorporating components of these innovations into publicly funded services. This research is informed by limited literature to date as well as a series of interviews with the project teams working on the pilots. It concludes with a set of recommendations intended to inform the design and implementation of future public microtransit pilots and service delivery models.
This paper discusses the history of shared mobility within the context of the urban transportation landscape, first in Europe and Asia, and more recently in the Americas, with a specific focus on first- and last-mile connections to public transit. The authors discuss the known impacts of shared mobility modes—carsharing, bikesharing, and ridesharing—on reducing vehicle miles/kilometers traveled (VMT/VKT), greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and modal splits with public transit. The future of shared mobility in the urban transportation landscape is discussed, as mobile technology and public policy continue to evolve to integrate shared mobility with public transit and future automated vehicles.
Cities that turn to technology companies to save their transit systems are bound to be disappointed by the outcome. This article looks at Pinellas County, Fla., whose transit authority was the first in the country to supplement its bus service with taxpayer-subsidized rides from Uber in February, 2016.
This book provides a complete overview of microtransit, siting research publications, surveys, and case studies from current pilot programs happening throughout the country.
"To better understand the emerging area of low-speed automated shuttles, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office (ITS JPO) partnered with the John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center (Volpe) to review the current state of the practice of low-speed automated shuttles. These vehicles share many characteristics with other forms of automated vehicles but include unique considerations in terms of design, operations, and service type, including: fully automated driving (intended for use without a driver); operational design domain (ODD) (restricted to protected and less-complicated environments); low speeds (cruising speeds around 10-15 mph); shared service (typically designed to carry multiple passengers, including unrestrained passengers and standees); and shared right-of-way with other road users, either at designated crossing locations or along the right-of-way itself. This report defines design and service characteristics; discusses the deployers, their motivations, and their partners; and provides information on demonstrations and deployments, both international and domestic. The document also provides context on common challenges and suggested mitigations. Building on all of this information, the document identifies several research questions on topics ranging from safety and accessibility to user acceptance and societal impacts."
"CityMobil2 is a research project co-funded by the European Commission. The project, comprising a consortium of 45 partners from research organizations, universities, industry, SMEs and cities, was funded under the EC’s 7th Framework Programme for Research and Development. The project started in September 2012 and finished in August 2016."
"This report addresses the need for knowledge by providing practical considerations of essential pilot program elements. To assist transit agencies, this report illustrates previously executed autonomous shuttle pilot programs, identifies the core elements of a pilot program, and discusses the relationship between elements. To accomplish these tasks, this report reviews nine European autonomous shuttle pilot programs, literature surrounding the topic, and interviews key personnel associated with the pilot programs. The results of this research help transit agencies make informed decisions about approaching autonomous shuttle pilot programs in public transportation."
On Thursday, five years after launching and two and half years after being acquired by Ford for a reported $65 million, the app-based shuttle service announced it is rolling to a permanent stop. Transportation technology companies have never been sexier than in the past decade, but this stumble is a potent reminder that creating a profitable transportation business can be far harder than it seems.
This article is about the development of microtransit. It suggests that microtransit can be the answer to underused, oversized public buses. And the technology such as routing software can improve the services as well.
This article is specifically about flexible transit, AKA microtransit, offered as part of a publicly-funded transit network. There may be all kinds of private-sector markets — paid for by institutions or by riders at market-rate fares — which are not my subject here. The question here is what kind of service taxpayers should pay for.
The San Francisco County Transportation Authority will test self-driving shuttles on Treasure Island, as well as introduce a toll system from the Bay Bridge to the island.
In recent years, economic, environmental, and social forces have quickly given rise to the “sharing economy,” a collective of entrepreneurs and consumers leveraging technology to share resources, save money, and generate capital. Homesharing services, such as Airbnb, and peer-to-peer carsharing services, such as Getaround, have become part of a sociodemographic trend that has pushed the sharing economy from the fringe and more to the mainstream. The role of shared mobility in the broader landscape of urban mobility has become a frequent topic of discussion. Major shared transportation modes—such as bikesharing, carsharing, ridesourcing, and alternative transit services—are changing how people travel and are having a transformative effect on mobility and local planning.
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