Mobility on Demand (MOD) Sandbox Demonstration: Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) OpenTripPlanner

Authors: Elliot Martin, PhD, Aqshems Nichols, Adam Cohen, Susan Shaheen, PhD, Les Brown Date: February 2021 Abstract: This report documents the results of an independent evaluation of the Vermont Agency of Transportation’s (VTrans) OpenTripPlanner (OTP), called Go! Vermont, part of the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Mobility on Demand (MOD) Sandbox Demonstration program. The project intended to serve as an alternative to other trip planners by including flexible transit options such as route deviation, dial-a-ride, and other demand-responsive alternatives and to analyze web traffic data to determine the level of user activity attracted by Go! Vermont since its launch. The evaluation compared the trip itineraries of Google Maps and the OTP and explored the inclusion of flexible transit options. Eight hypotheses were evaluated, and expert (stakeholder/project partner) interviews highlighted VTrans partnerships with employment services and vocational rehabilitation to leverage the trip planner for improving access to jobs, training, and healthcare for carless and carlite house-holds. Interviewees noted how the trip planner improved how telephone dispatchers and case workers provided transportation information. View...

“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 Abstract: 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. View...

Shared ride services in North America: definitions, impacts, and the future of pooling

Authors: Susan Shaheen and Adam Cohen Date: July 11, 2018 Abstract: Shared ride services allow riders to share a ride to a common destination. They include ridesharing (carpooling and vanpooling); ridesplitting (a pooled version of ridesourcing/transportation network companies); taxi sharing; and microtransit. In recent years, growth of Internet-enabled wireless technologies, global satellite systems, and cloud computing – coupled with data sharing – are causing people to increase their use of mobile applications to share a ride. Some shared ride services, such as carpooling and vanpooling, can provide transportation, infrastructure, environmental, and social benefits. This paper reviews common shared ride service models, definitions, and summarises existing North American impact studies. Additionally, we explore the convergence of shared mobility; electrification; and automation, including the potential impacts of shared automated vehicle (SAV) systems. While SAV impacts remain uncertain, many practitioners and academic research predict higher efficiency, affordability, and lower greenhouse gas emissions. The impacts of SAVs will likely depend on the number of personally owned automated vehicles; types of sharing (concurrent or sequential); and the future modal split among public transit, shared fleets, and pooled rides. We conclude the paper with recommendations for local governments and public agencies to help in managing the transition to highly automated vehicles and encouraging higher occupancy modes. View...

Mobility on Demand Planning and Implementation: Current Practices, Innovations, and Emerging Mobility Futures

Authors: Susan Shaheen, PhD, Adam Cohen, Jacquelyn Broader, Richard Davis, Les Brown, Radha Neelakantan, Deepak Gopalakrishna Date: March 1, 2020 Abstract: This report provides Mobility on Demand (MOD) planning and implementation practices and tools to support communities. The report discusses different stakeholders in the MOD ecosystem and the role of partnerships in filling spatial, temporal, and other service gaps. Additionally, the report discusses how MOD can be integrated into transportation planning and modeling. The report also discusses shared mobility implementation considerations, such as rights-of-way management, multimodal integration, data sharing, equity, labor impacts, and the role of pilot evaluations. Finally, the report discusses technology developments with implications for the MOD ecosystem, such as shared automated vehicles (SAVs), urban air mobility (UAM), and last-mile delivery innovations. This report is a practical resource with: 1) current practices for planning and implementing MOD; 2) case studies and lessons learned; 3) considerations to help public agencies advance MOD in their communities; and 4) resources and recommended reading. View PDF.  ...

Can Sharing Economy Platforms Increase Social Equity for Vulnerable Populations in Disaster Response and Relief? A Case Study of the 2017 and 2018 California Wildfires

Authors: Stephen Wong, Jacquelyn Broader, and Susan Shaheen Date: June 2020 Abstract:  Ensuring social equity in evacuations and disasters remains a critical challenge for many emergency management and transportation agencies. Recent sharing economy advances – including transportation network companies (TNCs, also known as ridehailing and ridesourcing), carsharing, and homesharing – may supplement public resources and ensure more equitable evacuations. To explore the social equity implications of the sharing economy in disasters, we conducted four focus groups (n=37) of vulnerable populations impacted by California wildfires in 2017 or 2018. To structure these data, we employed the Spatial Temporal Economic Physiological Social (STEPS) equity framework in an evacuation context. We contribute to the literature by: 1) summarizing the focus groups and their opinions on the sharing economy in evacuations; 2) capturing wildfire evacuation obstacles through the STEPS transportation equity framework; and 3) linking STEPS and focus group results to explore the future potential of shared resources. Using STEPS, we also expand our shared resource exploration to 18 vulnerable groups. We found that all focus groups were highly concerned with driver availability and reliability and the ability of vehicles to reach evacuation zones, not necessarily safety and security. Each group also expressed specific limitations related to their vulnerability. For example, individuals with disabilities were most concerned with inaccessible vehicles and homes. Using the STEPS framework, we found that while multiple vulnerable groups could gain considerable benefits from shared resources, 10 of the 18 groups experience three or more key challenges to implementation. We offer several policy recommendations to address equity-driven planning and shared resource limitations. View...