Mobile Apps and Transportation: A Review of Smartphone Apps and a Study of User Response to Multimodal Traveler Information

Mobile Apps and Transportation: A Review of Smartphone Apps and a Study of User Response to Multimodal Traveler Information

In recent years, technological and social forces have pushed smartphone applications (apps) from the fringe to the mainstream. Understanding the role of transportation apps in urban mobility is important for policy development and transportation planners. This study evaluates the role and impact of multimodal aggregators from a variety of perspectives, including a literature review; a review of the most innovative, disruptive, and highest-rated transportation apps; interviews with experts in the industry, and a user survey of former multimodal aggregator RideScout users. Between February and April 2016, researchers conducted interviews with experts to gain a stronger understanding about challenges and benefits of data sharing between private companies and public agencies. Key findings from the expert interviews include the critical need to protect user privacy; the potential to use data sharing to address integrated corridor and congestion management as well as various pricing strategies during peak hours; along with the potential benefits for improving coordination between the public and private sectors. In March 2016, researchers surveyed 130 people who had downloaded the RideScout app to evaluate attitudes and perceptions toward mobile apps, travel behavior, and modal shift. The goal was to enhance understanding of how the multimodal apps were impacting the transportation behavior. The survey did found that respondents used multimodal apps in ways that yielded travel that was less energy intensive and more supportive of public transit. Looking to the future, smartphone applications and more specifically multimodal aggregators, may offer the potential for transportation planners and policymakers to enhance their understanding of multimodal travel behavior, share data, enhance collaboration, and identify opportunities for public-private partnerships....

Video Transit Training for Older Travelers: A Case Study of the Rossmoor Senior Adult Community, California

Authors: Susan A. Shaheen, Ph.D Caroline J. Rodier, Ph.D Published: March, 2007 Abstract: In this study, the authors applied principles of social learning and marketing to develop a transit training video for residents of the Rossmoor senior adult community in California. The video features familiar community members successfully navigating specific concerns and problems related to transit use in accessing key community destinations (shopping, health care, and the nearest Bay Area Rapid Transit district station). To evaluate the effectiveness of the video, residents were recruited to complete questionnaires before and after viewing it. Video messages aimed to educate viewers on how to obtain transit information, costs, and payment generated a significant and positive attitudinal change. However, respondents reported that the video did not adequately address the difficulties associated with reading schedules and climbing stairs at transit stations. Survey results also indicate a significant and positive change in respondents’ future use of a broader range of Internet-related information sources. The results also reveal a significant and positive change among respondents in using transit services to the specific destinations presented in the video. However, results are mixed on whether participants might take transit to general destinations not explicitly presented in the video....

Mobility and the Sharing Economy: Impacts Synopsis – Spring 2015

Authors: Susan Shaheen, PhD, and Nelson Chan Published: March 2015 Abstract: Shared-use mobility includes carsharing, personal vehicle sharing (or peer-to-peer (P2P) carsharing), bikesharing, scooter sharing, shuttle services, ridesharing, and on-demand ride services. It can also include commercial delivery vehicles providing flexible goods movement. Shared-use mobility has had a transformative impact on many global cities by enhancing transportation accessibility while simultaneously reducing ownership of personal automobiles. In the context of carsharing and bikesharing, vehicles and bicycles are typically unattended, concentrated in a network of locations where the transaction of checking out a vehicle or bicycles is facilitated through information technology (IT) and other technological innovations. Usually, carsharing and bikesharing operators are responsible for the cost of maintenance, storage, parking, and insurance/fuel (if applicable). In the context of classic ridesharing (carpooling and vanpooling) and on-demand ride services, such as transportation network companies (TNCs), many of these providers employ IT to facilitate the matching of riders and drivers for trip making. View...

App-Based, On-Demand Ride Services: Comparing Taxi and Ridesourcing Trips and User Characteristics in San Francisco

Authors: Lisa Rayle, Susan Shaheen, Ph.D., Nelson Chan, Danielle Dai, and Robert Cervero Date: November 2014 Abstract: The rapid growth of on-demand ride services such as uberX and Lyft, or “ridesourcing,” has prompted debate among policy makers and stakeholders. At present, ridesourcing’s usage and impacts are not well understood. Key questions include: how ridesourcing and traditional taxis compare with respect to trip types, customers, and locations served; whether ridesourcing complements or competes with public transit; and potential impacts on vehicle kilometers traveled. We address these questions using an intercept survey. In spring 2014, 380 complete surveys were collected from three ridesourcing “hot spots” in San Francisco. Survey results are compared with matched-pair taxi trip data and results of a previous taxi user survey. We also compared travel times for ridesourcing and taxis with those for public transit.  The findings indicate ridesourcing serves a previously unmet demand for convenient, point-to-point urban travel. Although taxis and ridesourcing share similarities, the findings show differences in users and the user experience. Ridesourcing wait times are markedly shorter and more consistent than those of taxis, while ridesourcing users tend to be younger, own fewer vehicles and more frequently travel with companions. Ridesourcing, like taxis, appears to both substitute for and complement public transit; the majority of ridesourcing trips would have taken substantially longer if made by public transit. Impacts on overall vehicle travel are unclear. Future research should build on this exploratory study to further understand impacts of ridesourcing on labor, social equity, the environment, and public policy....