Shared Mobility and the Transformation of Public Transit

Shared Mobility and the Transformation of Public Transit

Technology is transforming transportation. The ability to conveniently request, track, and pay for trips via mobile devices is changing the way people get around and interact with cities. This report examines the relationship of public transportation to shared modes, including bikesharing, carsharing, and ridesourcing services provided by companies such as Uber and Lyft. The research included participation by seven cities: Austin, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, DC. The objective of this research analysis is to examine these issues and explore opportunities and challenges for public transportation as they relate to technology-enabled mobility services, including suggesting ways that public transit can learn from, build upon, and interface with these new modes.

Key findings

The more people use shared modes, the more likely they are to use public transit, own fewer cars, and spend less on transportation overall. “Supersharers”—people who routinely use several shared modes, such as bikesharing, carsharing (e.g. car2go or Zipcar), and ridesourcing (e.g. Lyft or Uber)—save the most money and own half as many household cars as people who use public transit alone.

Shared modes complement public transit, enhancing urban mobility. Ridesourcing services are most frequently used for social trips between 10pm and 4am, times when public transit runs infrequently or is not available. Shared modes substitute more for automobile trips than public transit trips.

Shared modes will continue to grow in significance, and public entities should identify opportunities to engage with them to ensure that benefits are widely and equitably shared. Public transit agencies should seize opportunities to improve urban mobility for all users through collaboration and public-private partnerships, including greater integration of service, information and payment methods.

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