Mobility on Demand (MOD) Sandbox Demonstration: Valley MetroMobility PlatformEvaluation Report

Authors: Elliot Martin, Ph.D., Ziad Yassine, Adam Cohen, Susan Shaheen, Ph.D., Les Brown Date: November 2020 Abstract: This report evaluates the Valley Metro Mobility Platform project, part of the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Mobility on Demand (MOD) Sandbox program. Valley Metro currently provides a Valley Metro RidekickTM mobile application for its users that features trip planning for light rail and buses. The Mobility Platform project aimed to develop new trip planning features and an integrated payment system for public and private transportation in an updated pilot app called Pass2Go, but integration with private transportation was not achieved and the app was discontinued, eventually to be replaced by another app. The evaluation of the project explored its effect on user travel and planning times, accessibility, and connectivity to different modes of transportation. Overall, the results showed that the Pass2Go app was an enhancement over the existing RidekickTM app. The evaluation supported hypotheses that wait and planning times were reduced, planning methods were improved, and that the platform enhanced accessibility and connectivity to different transportation options. Also, the project provided a platform for other public transportation agencies to exchange travel information and pro–duced lessons learned. Most hypotheses within this evaluation were supported and, overall, the project was found to perform very well. View...

Strategies to Overcome Transportation Barriers for Rent Burdened Oakland Residents

Authors: Alexandra Pan, Susan Shaheen, PhD Date: March 1, 2021 Abstract: Shared mobility is gaining traction in the transportation community as a potentially more environmentally friendly alternative to automobile travel and complement to public transit. However, adoption and use of shared mobility by low-income individuals lags behind other demographic groups. Additional research is needed to better understand the transportation needs of low-income travelers and how public agencies, community-based organizations, and shared mobility operators can work together to best serve those needs. This research fills gaps in understanding the potential policy strategies that could be effective at increasing the access, awareness, and use of shared mobility by low-income individuals. We employ Oakland, California as our primary study site (see Figure 1 and Table 1 for more detail). In this report, we present our findings on barriers to shared mobility from a review of existing shared mobility social equity initiatives, expert interviews (n=13) and focus groups with rent burdened residents of East Oakland (n=24). We further investigate barriers and implications for transportation use in an online survey (n=177), as well as longitudinal panel of phone and video interviews (n=31) with rent burdened Oakland residents. Rent burden refers to the percentage of income spent on rent and can more widely capture the population of Oakland residents who are struggling to keep up with rising housing costs. View...

Mobility on Demand (MOD) Sandbox Demonstration: Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) OpenTripPlanner

Authors: Elliot Martin, PhD, Aqshems Nichols, Adam Cohen, Susan Shaheen, PhD, Les Brown Date: February 2021 Abstract: This report documents the results of an independent evaluation of the Vermont Agency of Transportation’s (VTrans) OpenTripPlanner (OTP), called Go! Vermont, part of the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Mobility on Demand (MOD) Sandbox Demonstration program. The project intended to serve as an alternative to other trip planners by including flexible transit options such as route deviation, dial-a-ride, and other demand-responsive alternatives and to analyze web traffic data to determine the level of user activity attracted by Go! Vermont since its launch. The evaluation compared the trip itineraries of Google Maps and the OTP and explored the inclusion of flexible transit options. Eight hypotheses were evaluated, and expert (stakeholder/project partner) interviews highlighted VTrans partnerships with employment services and vocational rehabilitation to leverage the trip planner for improving access to jobs, training, and healthcare for carless and carlite house-holds. Interviewees noted how the trip planner improved how telephone dispatchers and case workers provided transportation information. View...

“Three Ps in a MOD:” Role for mobility on demand (MOD) public-private partnerships in public transit provision

Authors: Emma Lucken, Karen Trapenberg Frick, Susan Shaheen Date: September 2019 Abstract: The growing number of public transportation agencies partnering with Mobility on Demand (MOD) or Mobility as a Service (MaaS) companies raises the question of what role MOD companies can, should, and currently play in the provision of public transport. In this article, we develop a typology reflecting 62 MOD public-private partnerships (MOD PPPs) in the United States and present lessons learned. We conducted 34 interviews with representatives from four MOD companies and 27 public agencies. The interviews spanned October 2017 to April 2018. The resulting MOD PPP typology consists of four service models: 1) First-Mile/Last-Mile (FMLM), 2) Low Density, 3) Off-Peak, and 4) Paratransit. The typology also includes two MOD asset contribution models: 1) Agency-Operated MOD and 2) Agency-Subsidized Private MOD. Lessons learned for limiting competition with fixed-route public transit include: a) if agencies have sufficient resources, they can generally maintain greater data access and control over the service with Agency-Operated MOD than Agency-Subsidized Private MOD; b) public agencies can supplement the Agency-Operated MOD model with Agency-Subsidized Private MOD during peak demand; c) public agencies sometimes encourage FMLM transfers to fixed-route public transit by creating service zones that divide trip generators and attractors and assigning one or two designated transfer stops to each zone; and d) one approach to protecting fixed-route public transit is to restrict Low-Density MOD services to trips that start and end outside a geofenced fixed-route service area. View...

Shared ride services in North America: definitions, impacts, and the future of pooling

Authors: Susan Shaheen and Adam Cohen Date: July 11, 2018 Abstract: Shared ride services allow riders to share a ride to a common destination. They include ridesharing (carpooling and vanpooling); ridesplitting (a pooled version of ridesourcing/transportation network companies); taxi sharing; and microtransit. In recent years, growth of Internet-enabled wireless technologies, global satellite systems, and cloud computing – coupled with data sharing – are causing people to increase their use of mobile applications to share a ride. Some shared ride services, such as carpooling and vanpooling, can provide transportation, infrastructure, environmental, and social benefits. This paper reviews common shared ride service models, definitions, and summarises existing North American impact studies. Additionally, we explore the convergence of shared mobility; electrification; and automation, including the potential impacts of shared automated vehicle (SAV) systems. While SAV impacts remain uncertain, many practitioners and academic research predict higher efficiency, affordability, and lower greenhouse gas emissions. The impacts of SAVs will likely depend on the number of personally owned automated vehicles; types of sharing (concurrent or sequential); and the future modal split among public transit, shared fleets, and pooled rides. We conclude the paper with recommendations for local governments and public agencies to help in managing the transition to highly automated vehicles and encouraging higher occupancy modes. View...