Create a shared mobility report for your neighborhood. Build a mobiilty hub (see directions). Also new rideshare pick-up suggestions smooth the ride

By Shared Use Mobility Center, Tim Frisbie, 26 June 2017

Wouldn’t it be great if you could quickly create a report showing all the shared mobility infrastructure in a specific neighborhood? And what if you could add other data layers, too, such as average housing costs, job density and vehicle ownership rates?

Good news – you can do all the above and more using the new “Market Report” feature in SUMC’s interactive Shared Mobility Mapping Tool.

The report is one of several new upgrades to our Shared Mobility Toolkit (we also recently partnered with ITS America and the Federal Transit Administration to add information on over 60 public-private partnerships to the Mapping Tool and Policy Database).

SUMC’s new Market Report feature was built to help users—including transit agencies, planners, advocates, developers, TDM professionals and more—assess the potential for establishing or expanding shared mobility in specific neighborhoods, including those where transportation options are lacking.

The Market Report feature allows users to:

  • Zoom in past the city level to explore characteristics on a neighborhood basis. Users can select a community by using the circle tool (approximately 0.5 miles in diameter) or by drawing a polygon to select a custom area.
  • View a “shared mobility opportunity score” for each targeted area, in addition to robust data on housing costs, commute mode, vehicle miles traveled (VMT), jobs by sector, job density, ethnicity, educational attainment, vehicle ownership and more.
  • Save and recall reports and export them as PDFs for easy printing and sharing. The Mapping Tool also allows users to save geographic boundaries for future reference.

You can create your own market report for any neighborhood in the Mapping Tool’s available cities by following six simple steps.

How to Create a Shared Mobility Market Report

  1. Visit the mapping site and select a city. You can pick a city from the drop down list under the “Choose a City or Region” item on the menu bar, or by simply clicking on the map.
  2. Choose map data options. You can determine which data you would like to appear on the base map using the “Choose a Map Theme” dropdown menu (the default map theme is “Shared Mobility Opportunity Analysis”). Other data themes include household and job density, race, and income. Every detailed view also includes city and regional profiles along with shared mobility and transit data layers, which can be turned on or off.
  3. Select an area for the Market Report. Create a circle or polygon boundary for the area of interest. A half-mile circle will initially be displayed at the center of the current map view and can then be dragged to the area of interest. Zooming in will show more local detail to help identify an exact location. The various map themes can be displayed, or you can select “None” for a cleaner view.
  4. View the Market Report. Once the boundary is drawn, a detailed market report is generated automatically at the bottom of your screen and organized by data category. Click through the green market report tabs to access the different data categories for the selected area.
  5. Download your Market Report. You can download a report that contains formatted maps of the layers and all the market report variables. Simply click “Download” to save the report to your computer.
  6. Save a Market Report boundary. You can also save the geographic selection to quickly reference it in the future. When saving a report, click “OK.” Do not select “Prevent this page from creating additional dialogs.” If selected, this option will disable the Market Report tool.

Once saved, you can continue to view the report variables or click “Cancel & Start Over” to clear the selection and start a new boundary. To create a new report, draw another circle or polygon around a new target area. To access a previous report, click on “Previous Report.”

A step-by-step illustrated guide on generating market reports using SUMC’s Shared Mobility Mapping Tool is also available here.

To keep up to date on upgrades to SUMC’s Shared Mobility Toolkit and other new developments, be sure to sign up for SUMC’s newsletter. If you have questions about the mapping site or other tools, please contact us.

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Build Your Own Mobility Hub: 7 Lessons for Cities from Bremen, Germany

Michael Glotz-Richter first came upon the idea of integrated mobility hubs nearly two decades ago, when looking for new solutions to reduce the number of cars on the road in Bremen, Germany and reclaim street space for other uses.

Mobility hubs—a new idea then, and still far from common today—combine multiple modes of transportation together in one physical location, often clustered around a high-frequency public transit stop. Typical components include carshare stations, bike parking, wayfinding elements and universal fare payment via a single smartcard or mobile app.

Because mobility hubs make it easy to access a wide range of travel options for different trip types, they can help to reduce reliance on private autos and support multimodal lifestyles.

As the senior project manager of sustainable mobility for the City of Bremen, Michael believed these hubs could help address increasing traffic congestion and parking pressures. Thanks to his efforts, the first Mobil.Punkt (“Mobility Point”) stations—featuring carsharing, bike parking and transit—launched in 2003, and today number more than 25. The hubs have succeeded in promoting more sustainable forms of transportation, and a recent analysis suggested Bremen’s 290 carshare cars have removed more than 4,200 privately owned cars from the road.

As U.S. cities such as Los Angeles and Seattle now work to build mobility hubs of their own, we asked Michael to share his advice and lessons learned from his work over the last 15 years.

  1. Build Around Strong Transit Stops

“Transit is the cornerstone to creating a life where you don’t need to depend on car ownership,” says Michael. At the Shared-Use Mobility Center, we also often describe public transit as the “backbone” that helps to support a diverse, equitable transportation system.

It’s hard to get people to get out of their cars if there aren’t enough alternatives. And it’s hard to support a diverse array of options without transit, which is affordable, serves long-distance trips, and is often used for commuting.

So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that, when selecting a site for a new mobility hub, the first thing Michael looks for is a thriving transit stop to build around.

  1. Target Areas with High Parking Pressure

To have the biggest impact on mode shift, it’s also important to target areas where pressure on street parking is high.

“We want to get into areas where people are a little pissed off with car ownership,” Michael says. “The willingness to give up private cars is higher when owning a car is a pain in the butt.”

With the hassle of car ownership acting as a behavioral “stick,” mobility hubs can help offer a variety of alternatives to encourage people to make the switch to more sustainable modes of transport.

It also helps to find areas where a significant amount of travel is already taking place by cycling or walking, Michael says—in other words, where active transportation choices are a reasonable alternative and are able to capture a higher share of private auto trips.

Even though parking may be at a premium, cities shouldn’t be afraid to dedicate street space to mobility hubs. For instance, limited street space did not stop the City of Bremen from taking away even more spaces for carsharing and other shared modes. Bremen has also focused on integrating carsharing into new residential developments, and revised its regulations to allow developers to make carsharing available instead of building expensive individual parking spaces.

  1. Get As Close As Possible to Your Users

“The next thing we learned is that it’s important for hubs to be close to the needs of their users,” Michael says. “They should be close to where people live, or to the buildings where they work.”

To infiltrate into dense city neighborhoods with narrow streets, the City of Bremen developed a second, smaller type of Mobil.Punkt called “mobil.pünktchen” (a pünktchen is a small dot or point). These sites, of which there are now 15, simply feature 2-3 carshare cars parked on the street in parallel to the curb, and work as a complement to the larger hubs. (The City plans to implement 10 to 15 additional ‘mobil.pünktchen’ stations each year.)

According to Michael, when it comes to everyday use, 70 to 80 percent of demand is for compact cars. Vehicles that people use more occasionally, like vans or large sedans, are better located at larger mobility hubs where there’s more space. And since people don’t use these vehicles on a daily basis, they don’t mind traveling a little further to a larger hub to access them.

  1. Leverage Mobile Technology for Wayfinding and Fare Integration

A good mobility hub should help make transfers between modes as seamless as possible. To support multimodal trip planning, many hubs feature wayfinding resources via tablets, interactive kiosks or physical maps.

Fare integration is another important element, and one where Germany – which has nearly 40 different local transit systems all operating on the same fare system – is admittedly at an advantage. (The country’s national railway, Deutsche Bahn, also operates its own carsharing and bikesharing services.)

However, some U.S. cities are making progress on integrating new forms of shared mobility and transit together into the same systems. In the Twin Cities, HourCar users have been able to access carshare vehicles using their transit pass for years. In Los Angeles, Metro Bike Share members can use their TAP cards to check out bikes. And agencies such as TriMet in Portland have been working to develop mobile apps that combine trip planning and payment for many modes together in one place.

Users of Bremen’s Mobil.Punkt hubs can also connect with a call center, whose staff can handle bookings for taxis and carshare cars. Some cities also have plans to make mobility hubs Wi-Fi hotspots, which can help increase access to residents who have smartphones but no data plans, while also providing an added amenity for travelers and helping to support place-making efforts.

  1. Use Mobility Hubs to Promote Multimodal Living, Not (Necessarily) Multimodal Trips

While seamless transfers and first/last mile connections to transit are important, Michael says that, ultimately, mobility hubs should be about encouraging multimodal living, not multimodal trips.

To change travel behavior, shared mobility must be able to compete with the convenience of the private automobile. And that’s hard to do when you factor in added time and hassle from transfers between modes.

“Just go to the needs of the user,” Michael says. “Car trips are generally point-to-point. You wouldn’t normally take transit and then a car, for instance.”

While encouraging connections is an integral part of the mobility hub concept, Michael suggests that mobility hubs are at their best when serving as a “one-stop-shop” where riders can walk up and select a mobility option that best meets their needs for the day.

  1. Make Mobility Hubs Visible

“Mobil.Punkt is well known,” says Michael. “It’s a brand, and it’s also quite symbolic—you are proudly presenting your service. Accessibility and visibility are really important.”

Every Mobil.Punkt station is marked with a big blue pillar and conspicuous signage. To make sure that local residents are aware of new hubs, Michael and his team also engage in hands-on community outreach, including putting up flyers, sending out mailers to neighborhood residents and meeting with local groups and stakeholders.

“The most important thing is awareness, awareness, awareness,” says Michael.

  1. Market Mobility Hubs

The City of Bremen has also employed a variety of marketing campaigns over the years to promote the Mobil.Punkt program. Michael developed a cartoon mascot named “Udo” (short for “use, don’t own”) to highlight the convenience of mobility hubs (“We put convenience front and center, not environmental benefits,” says Michael).

The city has also advertised on billboards and signage near public transit stops, staged an elaborate celebration on the 10th anniversary of the Mobil.Punkt program, and developed a series of promotional videos that show James Bond fleeing a Russian agent via bikesharing and carsharing, while his car-using adversary sits in traffic.

Michael’s efforts to promote the mobility hub concept have also extended to the national level, and even internationally. In 2010, Mobil.Punkt was selected as an “urban best practice” at EXPO 2010 in Shanghai, and was featured in a pavilion display that was visited by more than 1 million attendees.

For more information on mobility hubs, you can read Michael’s paper on Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans. To keep up to date about SUMC’s work on mobility hubs and other issues, be sure to sign up for our regular newsletter.

Image credit: mobil.punkt

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Lyft will offer pickup suggestions in the latest version of the Android or iOS app, making it easier for drivers to pick riders up without having to do traffic gymnastics, while also hopefully saving riders time. The pickup suggestions only trigger when it’ll actually save you time as a rider, Lyft says, and they’re only ever within short walking distance, plus you can opt to stick with your original pickup spot should you so choose.

The pickup suggestions are available in every market where Lyft operates, and spell out explicitly how much time you’ll save by using them, accounting for walking time, and even factoring in stuff like time lost to crosswalks and traffic lights. Lyft rival Uber started testing suggested pickup points in 2015, and the app currently suggests those locations via green dots based on crowdsourced information about pickup history and other factors. Uber also allows users to decline pickup point suggestions.

Pickup suggestions should eliminate confusion and difficulties on both the rider and driver side of the Lyft equation, so it’s good to see this product update being rolled out by the ride hailing company. As mentioned, they’re rolling out across markets where Lyft operates, so expect to see them shortly provided your app’s up to date.
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