“Three Ps in a MOD:” Role for mobility on demand (MOD) public-private partnerships in public transit provision

Authors: Emma Lucken, Karen Trapenberg Frick, Susan Shaheen

Date: September 2019


The growing number of public transportation agencies partnering with Mobility on Demand (MOD) or Mobility as a Service (MaaS) companies raises the question of what role MOD companies can, should, and currently play in the provision of public transport. In this article, we develop a typology reflecting 62 MOD public-private partnerships (MOD PPPs) in the United States and present lessons learned. We conducted 34 interviews with representatives from four MOD companies and 27 public agencies. The interviews spanned October 2017 to April 2018. The resulting MOD PPP typology consists of four service models: 1) First-Mile/Last-Mile (FMLM), 2) Low Density, 3) Off-Peak, and 4) Paratransit. The typology also includes two MOD asset contribution models: 1) Agency-Operated MOD and 2) Agency-Subsidized Private MOD. Lessons learned for limiting competition with fixed-route public transit include: a) if agencies have sufficient resources, they can generally maintain greater data access and control over the service with Agency-Operated MOD than Agency-Subsidized Private MOD; b) public agencies can supplement the Agency-Operated MOD model with Agency-Subsidized Private MOD during peak demand; c) public agencies sometimes encourage FMLM transfers to fixed-route public transit by creating service zones that divide trip generators and attractors and assigning one or two designated transfer stops to each zone; and d) one approach to protecting fixed-route public transit is to restrict Low-Density MOD services to trips that start and end outside a geofenced fixed-route service area.

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Posted on

November 2, 2020