Authors: Elliot Martin, PhD, Adam Stocker, Adam Cohen, Susan Shaheen, PhD
Date: June 2021
Abstract: The Mobility on Demand (MOD) Sandbox Demonstration Program provides a venue through which integrated MOD concepts and strategies, supported through local partnerships, are demonstrated in real-world settings. For the 11 MOD Sandbox Demonstration projects, an independent evaluation was conducted that includes an analysis of project impacts from performance measures provided by the project partners and an assessment of the business models used. This document presents the results from the independent evaluation of the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) First and Last Mile Solution MOD Sandbox Demonstration project. Evaluated were hypotheses that explored project impacts on travel behavior, user experiences, first and last mile to public transit accessibility, service quality for passengers with disabilities, and costs. The project improved first and last mile connectivity to DART transit, increased satisfaction among DART transit users, enhanced service for passengers with disabilities, and increased the geographic scope of DART transit service in the Plano area. In addition, wait and travel times for passengers with and without disabilities reflected similar distributions. The subsidy per rider of GoLink services was lower than the low-ridership fixed-route transit services that it replaced in Plano, but it was not lower than the subsidy for DART fixed-route transit in the overall Dallas region. DART project team members were interviewed to better understand challenges, barriers, successes, and broader lessons learned from the project, representing agency personnel from the offices of Innovation, Service Planning, Scheduling, Paratransit Operations, and Marketing. Lessons learned revealed the importance of having pre-planned, ready-to-go projects with committed partners, flexible contracting terms, metrics for adjusting spatial and temporal service coverage (including terminating service if appropriate), vehicle right-sizing, and understanding customer needs.