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....
Still Waiting for the Transportation Revolution

Still Waiting for the Transportation Revolution

BY BEN MILLER SEPTEMBER 7, 2016 BERKELEY, CALIF. — The future of transportation could very well be unrecognizable compared with today’s system: self-driving pods packed with carpoolers, electric motors, multi-modal journeys, invisible conversations between machines. But that’s the future. And while some of these things are beginning to creep into society, Susan Shaheen isn’t ready to fly the banner of the future just yet. Shaheen, co-director of the Transportation Sustainability Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley, has studied the future of transportation for two decades. Speaking to government and private-sector transportation workers on Sept. 7 at the Bridge SF conference, her message was this: We’re still waiting for the revolution, but there are some very interesting changes in the wind. To read the full article, visit:...
Does Car Sharing Help the Environment? The Early Evidence Is In

Does Car Sharing Help the Environment? The Early Evidence Is In

By TODD MYERS Sep 13, 2016 The proliferation of car-sharing services in major cities is evidence that this new transportation option is popular with consumers, likely because it’s cheaper to share a car than own one. But what impact has it had on the environment? New research, from the City of Seattle and university researchers finds positive environmental results. Car sharing is a rent-by-the-hour system, where users find a car nearby using a smartphone app. Members then unlock the car and use it as long as they like, returning it to one of many areas around town. The availability of the cars makes them a quick and easy way to travel, without having to wait for a bus or commit to the full-day rate of a traditional rental car. To read the full article, visit:...
Uber, Bike-Share and More Are Factors in Tomorrow’s Transit Agency

Uber, Bike-Share and More Are Factors in Tomorrow’s Transit Agency

BY JOSH COHEN SEPTEMBER 8, 2016 In St. Petersburg, Florida — a city of about 257,000 residents sitting on the Gulf Coast next to Tampa — people have just a few options for getting around town. They can, of course, drive personal cars, walk or bike; catch a bus operated by the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA); or hire taxis and Ubers. From February to August this year, the last mode choice on that list was likely the cheapest, most efficient option for accessing the bus. In an effort to encourage transit ridership and alleviate the impact of service cuts brought on by budget woes, PSTA was subsidizing 50 percent of the cost of taking rides with Uber, United Taxi (the local cab company) or Care Ride (a paratransit service) if those rides were connecting to the bus. That sort of partnership between public transit agency and ride-hailing company isn’t yet common, but examples are popping up around the country as cash-strapped municipalities look for ways to supplement their bus and rail routes and better serve low-density areas with so-so transit ridership. Those in favor of the arrangement say taking advantage of new technologies and service providers is a win-win for forward-looking transit agencies. Skeptics caution that the things that make companies such as Uber and Lyft profitable are incompatible with transit agencies’ obligation to provide quality, convenient, equitable service. To read the full article, visit:...
Car sharing on campuses improves quality of life, takes cars off the road

Car sharing on campuses improves quality of life, takes cars off the road

By Andy Murdock, UC Newsroom Friday, September 2, 2016 You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure out why UC Berkeley has designated parking areas for Nobel Laureates: if there’s one thing harder to snag than a Nobel prize, it’s a parking space on a UC campus. This is not just a UC issue: The experience of parking on college campuses across the country can often involve circling and circling in hopes of finding someone leaving, expensive permits or parking meters, or long walks from distant overflow lots. “Traffic and the lack of parking are growing problems on college and university campuses as student car owners continue to outnumber available parking,” said Susan Shaheen, co-director of UC Berkeley’s Transportation Sustainability Research Center (TSRC). To read the full article, visit:...