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

Authors: Shaheen, PhD, Elliot Martin, PhD, Adam Cohen, Apoorva Musunuri, and Abhinav Bhattacharyya. Date: October, 2016 Abstract: 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,...

Policy Brief: Impacts of Shared Mobility, Pooling

Authors: Susan Shaheen, PhD and Adam Cohen Date: January, 2018 Abstract: Shared-ride services—transportation modes that allow riders to share a ride to a common destination—include various forms of ridesharing (carpooling and vanpooling); ridesplitting and taxisplitting; and microtransit. With the proliferation of smartphones and mobile Internet, it has become more convenient to share rides. Shared-ride services are having a transformative impact on many global cities by increasing vehicle occupancy through smartphone apps.   View...

Policy Brief: Smartphone Applications and Data Impacting Transportation

Authors: Susan Shaheen, PhD and Adam Cohen Date: January, 2018 Abstract: Demographic shifts, improvements in computing power and mapping technology, the use of cloud computing, and changes in wireless communication — coupled with the growth of data availability and data sharing — are changing the way people travel. Increasingly, mobility consumers are turning to smartphone “apps” for a wide array of transportation activities including: vehicle routing, real-time data on congestion, information regarding roadway incidents and construction, parking availability, and real-time transit arrival predictions. Travel time savings (e.g., high occupancy vehicle lanes available to users of shared-ride services); financial savings (e.g., dynamic pricing providing discounts for peak and off-peak travel and for choosing low-volume routes); incentives (e.g., offering points, discounts, or lotteries); and gamification (e.g., use of game design elements in a non-game context) are among the key factors driving end-user growth of smartphone transportation applications.   View...

Travel Behavior: Shared Mobility and Transportation Equity

Authors: Susan Shaheen, PhD, Corwin Bell, Adam Cohen, Balaji Yelchuru Date: August 2017 Abstract: Shared mobility—the shared use of a motor vehicle, bicycle, or other low-speed transportation mode that allows users to obtain short-term access to transportation on an as-needed basis—has the potential to help address some transportation equity challenges. In an effort to categorize the myriad of transportation equity barriers facing transportation system users, this primer proposes a ‘STEPS to Transportation Equity’ framework including: Spatial, Temporal, Economic, Physiological, and Social barriers. For each barrier category, shared mobility opportunities and challenges are explored along with policy recommendations. View...

Planning for Shared Mobility

Authors: Susan Shaheen, PhD, Adam Cohen Date: July 26, 2016 Abstract: 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. View Report...