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...

Bridging the Income and Digital Divide with Shared Automated Electric Vehicles

Authors: Jessica Lazarus, Gordon Bauer, Jeffery Greenblatt, PhD, Susan Shaheen, PhD Date: March 1, 2021 Abstract: This research investigates strategies to improve the mobility of low-income travelers by incentivizing the use of electric SAVs (SAEVs) and public transit. We employ two agent-based simulation engines, an activity-based travel demand model of the San Francisco Bay Area, and vehicle movement data from the San Francisco Bay Area and the Los Angeles Basin to model emergent travel behavior of commute trips in response to subsidies for TNCs and public transit. Sensitivity analysis was conducted to assess the impacts of different subsidy scenarios on mode choices, TNC pooling and match rates, vehicle occupancies, vehicle miles traveled (VMT), and TNC revenues. The scenarios varied in the determination of which travel modes and income levels were eligible to receive a subsidy of $1.25, $2.50, or $5.00 per ride. Four different mode-specific subsidies were investigated, including subsidies for 1) all TNC rides, 2) pooled TNC rides only, 3) all public transit rides, and 4) TNC rides to/from public transit only. Each of the four modespecific subsidies were applied in scenarios which subsidized travelers of all income levels, as well as scenarios that only subsidized low-income travelers (earning less than $50,000 annual household income). Simulations estimating wait times for TNC trips in both the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles regions also revealed that wait times are distributed approximately equally across low- and high-income trip requests. 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...

To Pool or Not to Pool? Understanding the Time and Price Tradeoffs of OnDemand Ride Users – Opportunities, Challenges, and Social Equity Considerations for Policies to Promote Shared-Ride Services

Authors: Susan Shaheen, PhD, Jessica Lazarus, Juan Caicedo, Alexandre Bayen, PhD Date: February 1, 2021 Abstract: On-demand mobility services including transportation network companies (also known as ridesourcing and ridehailing) like Lyft and Uber are changing the way that people travel by providing dynamic mobility that can supplement public transit and personal-vehicle use. However, TNC services have been found to contribute to increasing vehicle mileage, traffic congestion, and greenhouse gas emissions. Pooling rides ⎯ sharing a vehicle by multiple passengers to complete journeys of similar origin and destination ⎯ can increase the average vehicle occupancy of TNC trips and thus mitigate some of the negative impacts. Several mobility companies have launched app-based pooling services in recent years including app-based carpooling services (e.g., Waze Carpool, Scoop) that match drivers with riders; pooled on-demand ride services (e.g., Uber Pool and Lyft Shared rides) that match multiple TNC users; and microtransit services (e.g., Bridj, Chariot, Via) that offer on-demand, flexibly routed service, typically in larger vehicles such as vans or shuttles. However, information on the potential impacts of these options is so far limited. This research employs a general population stated preference survey of four California metropolitan regions (Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego, and the San Francisco Bay Area) in Fall 2018 to examine the opportunities and challenges for drastically expanding the market for pooling, accounting for differences in emergent travel behavior and preferences across the four metropolitan regions surveyed. The travel profiles, TNC use patterns, and attitudes and perceptions of TNCs and pooling are analyzed across key socio-demographic attributes to enrich behavioral understanding of marginalized and price sensitive users of on-demand ride...

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...