Authors: Wesley Darling, Jacquelyn Broader, Adam Cohen, Susan Shaheen
Date: September 20, 2023
Despite lower user costs, only 20% to 40% of transportation network company (TNC) us-ers select a pooled, or shared, ride option. Why are existing TNC users not selecting the pooled option or using TNCs to connect to public transit, and what role do built environment features and incentives play in their decision? This study explores the factors that influence TNC user decisions through a multi-method approach comprising photovoice small group discussions and a workshop. Between March 2021 and May 2021, 15 San Francisco Bay Area TNC users shared photographs they took of TNC pick-up locations through two-to-three-person guided small group discussions. The photos revealed that users prefer waiting in retail or in well-lit, good-visibility locations. Partici-pants’ primary concern was personal safety, particularly female users who may take additional pre-cautions when walking to pick-up locations and waiting for and taking rides. In July 2021, 12 pho-tovoice participants and 5 stakeholders provided feedback on key findings from the photography discussions. The pooling improvement strategies identified include the following: designated TNC stops with lighting and marked pick-up areas; enhanced in-app safety features; TNC partnerships with employers and retailers to incentivize riders; and mode transfer discounts for connecting TNCs to public transit. The findings suggest that safety related to the built environment plays an outsized role in a TNC user’s decision to pool or connect to public transit, and the out-of-vehicle portion of the TNC trip should be equally considered when developing policies to increase pooling.