Shared mobility best practices (2016-2017), LA, Austin, Contra Costa County, Seattle, Portland

By , SUMCAugust 29, 2017

From dockless bikesharing systems to microtransit partnerships, shared mobility has continued to evolve at a rapid pace over the last several months. To help you keep up to date on the latest developments, SUMC regularly adds new policies to our Shared Mobility Policy Database.

Our online tool is open to the public (you can create a free account for full access), and features more than 800 of the most important shared mobility policies, studies and strategic plans in North America. The database also provides best practices, case studies and analysis to help local governments craft an effective regulatory approach to ridesourcing, bikesharing, carsharing and other shared transportation services.

Following is a round-up of new and notable policies, along with links to the corresponding database entries, which contain the original policy files.

Bikeshare Permit Requirements, Seattle, Washington, 2017
Seattle, WA 6/30/17

After Seattle ended its traditional bikeshare system, Pronto, several private “dockless” bikeshare operators announced their interest in the city. The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) responded by opening a six-month pilot program that established a regulatory framework for private bikeshare operators. The program features several stipulations, such as granting SDOT the right to “geo-fence” where the shared bikes may be parked, mandating that companies keep records of maintenance activities, and requiring them to share real-time location data for every bicycle parked in the Seattle operational area.

Currently, there are three dockless bikeshare companies operating in the city: Spin, LimeBike, and Ofo. Garland, Texas-based VBikes has also filed for a permit to operate in the city but has not yet set a launch date. The new program as already grown to 3,000 bikes—compared with Pronto’s 500—and could soon double in size to 6,000.

Pickup by Capital Metro (Austin, TX), 2017
Austin, TX 6/6/17

Austin’s transit agency, Capital Metro, partnered with ride-hailing company Via to launch Pickup, a door-to-door, on-demand public transportation service. Riders in Northeast Austin can use the Pickup app to hail a pooled ride from one of two nine-passenger vans. The service will operate from 9am to 6pm on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, with an estimated wait time of 15 minutes per ride.

Operated by Capital Metro with back-end support provided by Via, the program marks the first time that Via’s on-demand transit technology will be deployed in a public transit context in the U.S. Pickup, which replaces CapMetro’s Metro Flex Upper Eastside pilot route, is free  of charge for a limited time.

RTD GO! Partnership between Uber and Regional Transit District, San Joaquin County, California, 2017
San Joaquin, CA 7/3/17

The San Joaquin Regional Transit District (RTD) launched “RTD GO!” in partnership with Uber on July 3, 2017. The pilot program will allow passengers taking a trip from outside the normal RTD service area to hail an Uber ride at a discount of 50 percent (up to $5) to reach one of eight local transit centers. The service will be available Monday through Friday, 6 a.m.-10 p.m. This one-year pilot aims to provide first/last mile connections to make it easier for residents who live in remote parts of San Joaquin County to access public transit.

Scoop and Contra Costa Transportation Authority Partnership
Contra Costa, California 5/22/17

Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) and Scoop Technologies debuted a pilot program in May to encourage carpooling in the San Francisco Bay. Through this partnership, CCTA will leverage 511 Contra Costa (the local transportation demand management program) to offer $2 off Scoop carpool rides (normally $5) for local commuters. To schedule carpools, passengers can download the Scoop app and enter their commute details either the night before (for morning commutes) or a few hours in advance (for afternoon commutes). The Scoop app will then match them with another commuter driving along a similar route. The aim of the program, which is supported by funds from Measure J, a half-cent sales tax for transportation, is to reduce single-occupancy vehicle trips and alleviate traffic congestion.

Portland (OR) Adaptive Bikeshare Pilot, 2017
Portland, OR 7/21/17

The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) launched a pilot project to integrate adaptive bicycling options to complement the city’s 1,000-bike Biketown bikeshare system. The new program, “Adaptive Biketown,” allows residents with disabilities to access a variety of bikes—including hand-cycles, trikes and tandems—at Kerr Bikes, located in downtown Portland. First-time users make an appointment for an initial orientation and adaptive bike fitting, after which their “rider profiles” are saved for future use. The program includes short-term (1 to 3 hours) adaptive bike rental, bike helmet rental, and storage of a user’s mobility device or service animal during rental time.

Do you have a question, or an idea for a policy to add? If so, please contact our research team at policies@sharedusemobilitycenter.org. 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, the Mobility Hub.

Image credit: Kiewic

Over the next five years, Los Angeles County’s ability to develop an ecosystem that supports multimodal travel will rely on meaningful shifts in culture, governance, and infrastructure
use. Drawing on findings from regional workshops and summits, interviews with local stakeholders, regional plans and analysis from the Shared Mobility Toolkit, SUMC has identified the following strategies to help policymakers and local leaders drive and support that change. Each strategy also features a number of tactics grouped into three categories:
policies, pilots & programs, and partnerships.

Expand the Role and Reach of Transit

Metro is projecting the system will attract 127,000 new riders by 2035 as a result of extensions to its Gold, Purple, and Expo lines (not considering fluctuations in bus ridership).
Five years from now, however, that number will likely be closer to 20,000. To achieve the aggressive mode shift goals set forth in this plan, Los Angeles County needs to focus on
land-use issues as well as transit improvements. For instance, the county should continue to prioritize expansion of bus and rail, as well as increasing the speed and frequency of key routes through measures such as bus rapid transit (BRT). New infrastructure like bus shelters and improved sidewalks—and enhancements that can help enable seamless transfers and improve rider experience and usability—are also important. Additionally, transit agencies should leverage shared mobility to help boost ridership gains and work directly with the private sector—taking advantage of new breakthroughs in areas such as real-time ride-booking and dynamic routing—to optimize resources and improve performance and efficiency, especially in lower-density areas that are often difficult to serve effectively with fixed-route transit.

Integrate the Transit Access Pass (TAP) fare system with other modes to create seamless integration across all platforms. Providing a seamless payment option that riders can use across multiple modes, such as carsharing and bikesharing as well as transit, will help encourage multimodal travel and increased use of public transportation. Metro should continue to lead on integrating payment methods, building on its early success in using TAP cards to provide access to bikeshare bikes for monthly and annual members, and strive to expand TAP to include carshare, bikeshare and ride-splitting by 2018. All new shared-use systems should be built with TAP integrated from the
outset.

Expand Transportation Demand Management (TDM) requirements and incentives to include shared mobility. Employer TDM programs seek to reduce VMT by encouraging individuals to modify their travel behavior. Shared mobility networks can be a strong TDM tool when they have transit use as their backbone. A variety of TDM strategies have existed in Los Angeles for years, and the City of Los Angeles is just now moving to revise its TDM policies enacted in 1993. These forthcoming revisions provide an opportunity to:

  • Take a regional approach to coordinate TDM initiatives and promote increased awareness of regional rideshare and ride-matching programs.
  • Consider best practices both within California (e.g. Santa Monica, San Francisco) and outside of the state (e.g. Washington state, Arlington, VA).
  • Provide significant promotional incentives to pair carshare and bikeshare with transit, particularly in areas with new rail lines, rapid/express bus routes and pilot programs.
  • Continue to expand the “menu” of modes available to transit riders. When Metro moved to lead Metro Bike Share, the agency took a bold step into the realm of shared mobility.

The agency should continue to engage directly with other shared modes such as microtransit, ridesourcing, and carsharing. For instance, the agency could:

  • Build on its first/last mile pilots around the Expo Line in 2016 to involve more significant partnerships with a range of providers through the Office of Extraordinary Innovation.
  • House budding pilot projects for carsharing in tandem with transit agencies of cities such as Pasadena and Long Beach.
  • Track and share information on riders’ tech preferences with other agencies and with private operators to help improve the rider experience.
  • Focus transit-led pilots on underserved markets.

The public transportation sector has been widely supportive of the promise that shared mobility holds to improve transportation options for the most marginalized riders. This can form much of the focus as Metro’s Office of Extraordinary Innovation and smaller agencies like Foothill Transit work to design and launch new pilot projects. Such projects could include:

  • Partnering with shared mobility operators to address late-night service needs and third-shift commute patterns. Similarly, low-ridership bus routes should be examined to provide flexibile alternatives.
  • Expanding on paratransit service for persons with disabilities using shared mobility. A number of transit agencies are exploring this concept, which must also be approached cautiously and with an understanding that new services must operate within the bounds of ADA requirements.

Share data in real time across agencies and between modes to improve trip planning. With 26 transit agencies currently using the TAP pass, making data easy to access, transfer, and understand is central to improving trip planning in the region. The region’s agencies should work together—and, to the best of their ability, with the private sector—to establish and improve standard data-sharing practices.

Expand carshare and bikeshare pilots beyond city limits with Metro’s help. As carshare and bikeshare programs expand, local governments should enlist Metro’s assistance in working with neighbor cities on shared mobility investments. The City of Glendale, for example, can coordinate between Metro and Metrolink to help create a seamless transfer experience for commuters seeking shared mobility options.
Launch mobility options for suburban areas of the county at key transit hubs. Lack of access to transportation can represent a significant barrier to economic opportunity, and this is especially true for residents of areas such as the San Fernando Valley, South Bay, and Southeast Cities. Since key transit hubs – although limited – exist in these regions, they should form the focus for concentrated public investment in shared mobility programs. Local organizations should also collaborate to find new ways to increase access to transit and shared mobility.

Drive Cultural Change to Support Transit & Shared Mobility

Encouraging Angelenos to adopt car-free and car-light lifestyles will require a multi-pronged approach. While expanding shared modes such as transit, carsharing and bikesharing are crucial to this effort, Los Angeles County must also proactively work to change the prevailing perception of vehicle ownership and shift the region’s cultural paradigm when it comes to transportation.
Public transit and shared mobility will likely find success if they can provide convenience and cost savings. However, building a culture that embraces active transportation is also vital. Some cities have a long history of transit use, and their residents accept it as part of daily living. In Los Angeles, this culture must be largely be built through a focused and creative effort. To succeed, such an effort must encompass a number of strategies, including:

  • Investing in public-facing marketing campaigns across multiple systems, leveraging private resources to support outreach, and employing new technology to reach a wide array of communities.
  • Supporting internal culture change at local government agencies that promotes innovation and new ideas. The creation of the new Office of Extraordinary Innovation, for instance, is a great start in this direction.
  • Encouraging a shift in thinking around resource allocation and funding expansion of shared modes as a component of transportation infrastructure.

Developing marketing campaigns that promote the positive benefits of using transit and shared mobility, such as reduced stress, increased physical activity and greater cost savings.

Apply public transit’s focus on equity and accessibility to shared mobility. Los Angeles County should do all it can to ensure that the benefits of shared mobility are available across the region. Such an effort could include:

  • Putting transit riders at the center of planning for shared mobility expansion by ensuring that programs accommodate users with limited access to banking and technology options and those with language barriers. Every effort should be made to ensure that shared mobility systems have provisions for the use of debit cards and allow for access to services through “brick-and-mortar” locations that supplement smartphone-based information and payment.
  • Working closely with Access Services, the Consolidated Transportation Services Agency (CTSA) for Los Angeles County, to identify and test how shared mobility can meet ADA requirements and improve the rider experience.
  • Collaborating with community-based organizations to prioritize geographic needs as both carsharing and bikesharing expand countywide.
  • Partnering with mobility providers to share information on workforce development impacts as these rapidly growing companies provide more opportunities for local residents. Uber and Lyft in particular should work with the public sector in Los Angeles County to evaluate the job creating potential of their services.

Conduct well-staffed marketing and outreach campaigns in parallel with program launches. To be successful, adoption rates for transit and new shared mobility services must grow rapidly following their launch. Los Angeles County should prioritize adequate marketing resources to drive this adoption. For instance:

  • Municipalities and transit agencies should allocate at least 15 percent of system expansion funds to outreach and marketing efforts.
  • Community-based organizations should be asked to help with outreach in targeted neighborhoods where new pilot projects launch to ensure that communication is both effective and relevant. This engagement strategy will also build trust and cultural competency given the county’s diverse population and communities.

Establish a working group on autonomous vehicles. As in many regions, self-driving vehicles are likely to drastically change the transportation landscape

  • Embrace land-use policies that encourage multi-modal trips. Transit and shared mobility tend to work best in pedestrian-friendly, walkable neighborhoods. Cities in Los Angeles County should pursue land-use strategies that encourage multi-modal trips and limit car usage, and tie these strategies to evolving TDM measures. Although land-use change is a long-term proposition, grant opportunities such as the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program can help support associated investments in shared mobility within the first three years of funded projects.
  • Encourage smaller cities to adopt interoperable shared mobility systems. The largest cities in the region—the City of Los Angeles and the City of Long Beach—should work with Los Angeles County’s smaller municipalities to encourage the adoption of bikesharing systems that can interface with larger existing systems. This may require increased flexibility in pilot programs to allow for a diversity of vendors while also maintaining interoperability between systems.
  • In Los Angeles County. The region’s cities should join forces to discuss how to prioritize transit and shared mobility within a policy framework for autonomous vehicles. Findings from initial research on this topic in “Mobility in the Digital Age” (coordinated by the City of Los Angeles in partnership with the Goldhirsh Foundation) could be a starting point for the working group.

Incorporate shared mobility into student transit passes. Low- or no-cost student transit passes are becoming increasingly popular in Los Angeles County. Agencies should also consider integrating bikesharing, ridesourcing and other shared modes into passes to help foster multimodal habits among the next generation of county residents. Additionally, they should look for opportunities to provide discounted bulk transit passes to major employers, government agencies and other large organizations.

Invest in and augment shared mobility staff at public agencies. While the City of Los Angeles and Metro already have dedicated staff working on shared mobility, to truly drive change a larger cohort is needed. These and other agencies should plan to invest significant resources in hiring staff over the next five years who can champion shared mobility with the public good in mind. Additionally, as shared mobility funding opportunities become increasingly available, having staff that can draft proposals will help agencies remain competitive for funds. As part of this effort, city agencies should also look to:

  • Increase awareness of shared mobility among agency staff. Publicizing shared mobility options in internal communications materials should be a relatively easy lift for local transit agencies. These agencies should also consider including shared mobility (particularly carshare and bikeshare membership) as part of their TDM programs.
  • Conduct training on transit integration with shared mobility for planners. City planning divisions and planning departments within transit agencies need to be engaged on shared mobility. Working with SUMC or other partners, agency staff could develop a standard training to demonstrate how to incorporate shared modes within the portfolios of planning department staff.
  • Coordinate a regional task force to explore new funding options. Investing in Place, Move LA and other local mobility advocates should partner together to launch and support a regional task force to identify new options to fund shared mobility that complements public transit and allows residents to shed personal vehicles. Cities should provide clear code incentives for building developers and owners to reduce parking requirements (which will also allow them to save on construction and maintenance costs).

Emphasize and Expand Carsharing in All Communities

Carsharing has tremendous potential to increase transportation access in Los Angeles County, especially for non-work trips. Of all the shared modes described here, it also has the greatest potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in concert with transit. While carsharing is growing in the area thanks to the emergence of new providers and pilot projects, a significant, coordinated effort will be needed to reach the goal of adding 8,400 carshare cars over the next five years. To help guide these efforts, the region should look to a range of best practices from cities like Seattle, Washington, DC, and San Francisco.

  • Provide significant dedicated street space for carsharing. On-street carshare parking increases visibility and encourages utilization of carsharing. Cities that have established aggressive on-street carshare parking pilots have seen significant returns. Seattle’s successful 3,000 space on-street parking pilot, for instance, has resulted in more than 70,000 Seattle residents becoming one-way carsharing users. Specifically:
  • Los Angeles County should strive to meet or exceed the benchmark set by Seattle. With a population five times that of Seattle’s surrounding King County, this should be a reasonable short-term goal for the county. A study published in 2015 estimated that there are 3.6 million on-street parking spaces in Los Angeles County. Just 3,000 spaces reserved for carsharing would represent less than 0.1% of that total.
  • The cities of Los Angeles and Long Beach should lead in dedicating on-street parking for carshare. As these municipalities set policy, smaller cities are likely to follow suit. By providing dedicated, visible carshare parking, the county can send a clear message to operators that the region is open for business and is serious about carsharing.
  • Incentivize carsharing in large residential developments. Many cities have reduced minimum parking requirements for buildings that offer carsharing vehicles on site for their residents. Carsharing can enhance Transit Oriented Development (TOD) measures, providing another shared mode of transport
  • Standardize carsharing metrics reporting. LADOT can take the lead to identify, communicate, and monitor metrics for evaluating the success of the city’s electric vehicle carsharing pilot project. These metrics should be consistent with the metrics of the California Air Resources Board (CARB), and can offer a standard for measuring the social and environmental impacts of other carsharing systems, which will help maintain a strong case for a continued public role in these networks.
  • Expand current carsharing pilots. The City of Los Angeles should work to secure significant continued investment from the Carsharing and Mobility Options program administered by CARB, with the goal of raising $16 million in state investment over five years. Funds should be used to extend its low-income EV carsharing pilot project to adjacent neighborhoods in South and East Los Angeles, as well as in partnership with the county and cities such as Huntington Park. An extension of this pilot project would help to increase regional adoption of carsharing and utilization as a first/last mile solution along the Blue and Gold Lines. Additionally:
  • Beyond expanding the City of LA program, other cities in the county should apply for CARB funding and explore opportunities to build on programs, such as the parking incentives currently being piloted in Pasadena and Santa Monica.
  • Metro should expand the park-and-ride pilot partnership with Zipcar to include other properties and fold the municipal (off-street) lots of other cities and agencies into the program.
  • Continue leading the nation with carsharing in disadvantaged communities. Significant transportation gaps still exist throughout Los Angeles County. Municipalities and regional agencies should continue working to find carsharing models that can best serve residents in these areas, and push existing models to continuously improve. Investments in electric vehicles for carsharing can also lead to improved public health outcomes.
  • Expand carsharing for use in local government fleets. Municipalities and agencies should tap into the benefits of carsharing when it comes to their own vehicle fleets. Carsharing can help agencies reduce costs, improve efficiency and optimize vehicle use while providing an operational springboard for wider regional adoption of the services.
  • Work to bring peer-to-peer (P2P) carsharing to Los Angeles. Los Angeles County can create an environment in which P2P carshare can thrive. Building on income-based incentives available through CARB’s various incentives for household EV purchases, car owners can share their vehicle with neighbors, providing an income stream while extending an affordable service in communities that may lack access to transportation.
  • Engage local and statewide advocates to grow public investments in carshare. The Charge Ahead Coalition supports placing one million light, medium, and heavy-duty electric vehicles on California’s roads over the next 10 years and has a strong support base within Los Angeles County. By tapping into this coalition and similar groups of advocates, local cities and transit agencies can pursue innovative approaches to integrate electric vehicles for all.

Leverage the Region’s Bikesharing Momentum
Metro Bike Share, which recently launched in downtown LA with approximately 1,000 bikes and 65 stations, will ultimately grow to 3,800 bikes located throughout the cities of Los Angeles and Pasadena. Other area municipalities, such as Long Beach and Santa Monica, have also recently launched systems. To reach the plan’s goal of hosting 10,000 bikeshare bikes, however, the county must take a coordinated approach to scaling the region’s existing and planned systems.

  • Return to program design to make bikesharing more accessible. Local jurisdictions launching new systems should address social equity concerns early in the planning phase. They must also be comfortable making changes to system design in response to community feedback, and to continue an open dialogue throughout implementation and operation. Considerations include:
  • Providing cash payment options for riders without access to credit cards or bank accounts is a good first step, but it is only one of many adjustments to consider.
  • System planners should be willing to consider making adjustments to pricing, rental terms, bike design, and other components.
  • Considering cultural and language barriers, as well as physical (and practical) barriers to accessible systems is important in early project stages.
  • Community-based organizations’ participation in program development, led by the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition and Multicultural Communities for Mobility, should be expanded to strengthen programming.
  • Establish and apply bikesharing metrics. As Metro recently launched Metro Bike Share, the transit agency is well positioned to apply best practices from other regions and develop accountability standards. Metro can align with efforts to standardize reporting as led by the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) and the North American Bikeshare Association (NABSA). Efforts can include:
  • Making data publicly available with a high degree of detail, which is becoming standard industry practice for publicly owned systems.
  • Encouraging the cities of Santa Monica, Long Beach, and Los Angeles to report metrics from their programs to cities that are in earlier stages of developing bikesharing systems.
  • Build protected bike lanes to encourage bikeshare adoption. Even the densest, most expansive bikeshare system is doomed to fail if casual users don’t feel comfortable cycling on city streets. Los Angeles County should make it a priority to quickly build out separated bike lanes that connect to major job centers, entertainment districts and residential areas. Where possible, these investments should be made in advance of bikeshare expansion.
  • Locate bikesharing hubs at highly visible sites. When possible, the City of Los Angeles and other municipalities should site bikeshare stations in highly visible and accessible locations.
  • Coordinate bikeshare investments between jurisdictions. Regions often suffer from disjointed bike lanes due to district boundaries. To address these disruptions, municipalities should consider agreements like the one between LADOT and Santa Monica, which offers a model of cross-jurisdictional cooperation. While this issue itself needs attention, it also speaks to the potential for conflict between different models of bikesharing, particularly on LA’s west side. To help encourage a robust bikesharing network across the region, local stakeholders should also:

Experiment in Ridesourcing, Microtransit & Vanpooling

Some of the most innovative recent developments in the shared mobility industry have taken place in ridesourcing, microtransit and carpooling and vanpooling. Ridesourcing providers Uber and Lyft count Los Angeles as among their busiest markets. Both also provide their ride-splitting services—Uber Pool and Lyft Line—in the region. Additionally, the county is home to the nation’s largest vanpooling program. Los Angeles County can continue building on this momentum to add the more than 16,000 daily ride-splitting/carpool riders needed to reach the mode split goal outlined in this plan.

  • Dedicate pick-up and drop-off zones for shuttles and ridesourcing services. Cities in Los Angeles County can help manage use of street space by dedicating specific drop-off and pick-up points for ridesourcing services, shuttles, and microtransit providers. Municipalities should create short-term pilot programs to govern the use of curb space by operators, since ridesourcing and microtransit continue to evolve so rapidly.
  • Establish a cross-county taskforce on bikeshare interoperability. The region’s bikesharing momentum is laudable but also presents some challenges. The task force, which could include all municipalities with operating or planned bikeshare systems, would help to find ways these systems can expand in coordination with one another. Most immediately, west side stakeholders—including the City of LA, Metro, the City of West Hollywood and community-based organizations from Hollywood, Koreatown and the San Fernando Valley—could meet to proactively discuss ways to support the growth of bikesharing along the Red and Purple lines.
  • Identify sponsorship opportunities to launch and expand bikesharing systems. Adjacent cities could work together to identify sponsors to help provide financial support for their bikesharing systems. For example, backing from online video subscription service Hulu helped the City of Santa Monica fund its system. Securing a title sponsor for Metro’s system in the near term will also encourage other cities in the region to join the system.
  • Explore microtransit pilots to complement transit. For instance, Metro and the City of Inglewood could partner to operate a microtransit-like dynamic shuttle service to help reduce traffic congestion around Inglewood’s new sports and entertainment complex. This could be a test case for expanding microtransit to other congested hot spots throughout the region. Metro and other area transit agencies should also consider developing pilots based on early lessons learned from Denver RTD’s Call-n-Ride/Flex Route program and the Santa Clara FLEX pilot.
  • Design pilots to address jobs access for the service sector. LADOT could request proposals for a service designed specifically for riders that work in the service industry, which is often poorly served by transit both because of workers’ late-night schedules and the location of jobs. With Los Angeles hosting a record-breaking 45 million visitors in 2015 alone, the hospitality and tourism industry – and its nearly 500,000 employees – continue to play a vital role in the region’s economy.
  • Keep Requests for Qualifications (RFQs) flexible. In late 2015, Big Blue Bus issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) to identify operators to help provide a very specific Blue at Night late-night, demand-responsive service along the Expo Line in Santa Monica. However, the RFP received few applicants due to the narrow service model. By keeping requests flexible, and opting for RFQs instead of RFPs, agencies can help attract ideas from a wider array of providers. Metro’s new “request for unsolicited proposals,” coordinated through its Office for Extraordinary Innovation (OEI), can serve as a resource for other agencies when it comes to crafting flexible procurement models.
  • Encourage the growth and coordination of employee shuttles. While local transit agencies are often in touch with large area employers and institutions—including universities, hospitals and business parks—regarding the operation of private shuttles on city streets, they should also look for additional opportunities to collaborate with private shuttle providers on first/last mile solutions at rail stations and high-traffic bus stops.
  • Leverage ridesourcing to support carpooling and vanpooling programs. Transit agencies in Los Angeles County should work to integrate new ridesplitting options into the various subsidized vanpooling programs available to commuters. Both the public (vanpooling) and private (ridesplitting) programs have an impetus to share useful data on these newly created transit trips: operators can unlock a new revenue source, and transit agencies can earn credit, and federal aid, for hard data on shared trips.

Build Out Mobility Hubs Countywide 

To achieve the mode shift targets outlined in this plan, creating increased connectivity across shared modes is critical. New research conducted by SUMC shows that “supersharers”—people who use multiple forms of shared mobility across several trip types—shed more cars and save more on transportation costs than those who use transit alone. Bikesharing, carsharing and other forms of shared mobility are much more effective at attracting riders—and reducing private vehicle trips—when they are tied together as part of a robust ecosystem of mobility choices.
Mobility hubs, which combine multiple modes into one location, are the physical manifestation of the “supersharer” concept. Where possible, mobility hubs also integrate fare and technology to enable seamless transfers. In 2010, Metro and other local stakeholders received $8.3 million in Jobs Access Reverse Commute (JARC) funding to develop a series of mobility hubs in the region. Following are a set of tactics intended to support the county’s efforts as the project moves toward a 2017 launch.

  • Pursue first/last mile partnerships. Several agencies across the nation have begun brokering partnerships with ridesourcing and microtransit providers like Uber, Lyft and Bridj to provide subsidized first/last mile rides to transit stops within specified geographic zones. Metro should consider building on its initial partnerships to increase mobility options and support continued growth of transit ridership. The county should also explore other emerging products, such as the Uber Commute pilot and Lyft’s evolving Carpool feature, to see what new concepts might be a fit for the region.
  • Establish a definition for Integrated Mobility Hubs. Setting a standard definition and establishing core principles for Integrated Mobility Hubs (IMH) will help planners effectively identify locations for and guide investment around mobility hubs in target communities. For example, using the guide recently released by the City of Los Angeles planning department, Metro Joint Development can incorporate mobility hub planning into the design process for new bus and rail stations.
  • Design bus and rail stations to encourage multimodal transfers. As part of the transit planning process, Metro Joint Development should establish a mechanism to incorporate shared modes into station design and promote their use as first/last mile solutions for riders. Related plans that may serve as helpful templates include LA Metro’s First/Last Mile Strategic Plan and Metro’s successful program to include carshare parking at Park-and-Ride lots.
  • Plan long-term for mobility hubs countywide. Metro should work with cities along fixed-route transit lines to identify opportunities and secure funding to build out select stations into mobility hubs. This exercise can build on the priority locations listed in both the initial IMH plan as well as Metro’s First-Last Mile Strategic Plan.
  • Prioritize outreach to understand trip-making in areas where bus service overlaps. On the city’s west side where many transit service areas overlap,
  • Build on the launch of bikesharing and the forthcoming EV Carshare pilot. The City of Long Beach and LADOT can build on the momentum from these new programs to bring increased attention and resources to the mobility hubs project. In particular, planners should consider opportunities to concentrate physical assets at Metro rail and BRT stations given the convergence of these three funding streams.

Partnerships
Public entities such as the Big Blue Bus, Culver City Transit, the City of Los Angeles, and Metro should consider working together to publicly encourage multi-modal trip planning and better inform riders and planners alike regarding trip needs and use cases at these locations.

  • Engage community members in placemaking meetings on mobility hubs. Metro and others should conduct a series of outreach meetings once locations for mobility hubs are identified to build local support for the project. Additionally, participating cities should partner with community-based organization to ensure meetings are designed to capture meaningful and applicable information on local needs.
  • Implement universally accessible trip planning systems. Complementing mobile apps with physical kiosks will offer riders multiple options for accessing the menu of transportation services available at mobility hubs, and ensure that agencies meet all ADA and Title VI requirements.

Roadmap for Action: Prioritizing Tactics & Implementation

While all the tactics outlined within this section are important and could generate meaningful change to help shift the transportation paradigm in Los Angeles County, some are more time-sensitive or of a higher priority than others. Additionally, some tactics are intended to build upon earlier efforts. To provide a roadmap to help local leaders prioritize their actions, the table on the following page groups tactics into three distinct time periods: 2016–2017; 2017–2019; and 2019–2021.

  • Expand and improve integrated fare payment and real-time information technology. County stakeholders can work with the industry to test and improve this technology, which helps to facilitate multimodal transfers and is crucial to the mobility hub concept. The county should also take care to ensure this technology meshes with “low-tech” components—such as call centers, staffed kiosks, and improved signage and wayfinding—to ensure all residents are able to realize the benefits of the IMH project.
  • Broadly advertise and celebrate the Integrated Mobility Hub project. Much like the Federal Highway Administration’s Smart Cities Challenge, the IMH project is unprecedented in size and scope, and should be marketed publicly when moving to RFP to ensure that there is robust participation from the private sector, and that Los Angeles gets big ideas and even bigger partnership commitments.

Public transit and shared mobility have the potential to transform transportation in Los Angeles County. Together, they can create a comprehensive network of accessible, affordable and environmentally sustainable options that work for everyone.

While the region is currently experiencing a surge in momentum as the result of Measure R and new interest from private mobility providers, it will still take significant effort from the public sector—through enacting new policies, experimenting with pilot projects, and pursuing new partnerships with the private sector—to truly realize the promise of shared mobility and extend its many benefits for all the county’s residents.

Change will require individual leadership on a number of levels. The county will need mobility “champions” within local governments and transportation agencies, along with demonstrated support at the executive level. Community-based organizations, advocacy groups, nonprofits, and academic institutions will also need to play a leading role—especially when it comes to ensuring that concerns related to equity, affordability, and access stay at the forefront.

The private sector, too, must make a substantial financial investment in the region. And private operators must continue working in partnership with the public sector to advance innovation, and to invest the time and energy needed to scale up shared mobility across the county.

Finally, the success of shared mobility and this plan will require increased funding at the local, state, and federal levels. This investment is crucial to expanding and broadening the impact of new shared transportation options, and will be critical to preparing Los Angeles County for the future.