Advice in creating successful partnerships (P3s) for shared mobility. Also LA Shared Mobility Implementation

Last year, SUMC conducted a study for the Transportation Research Board that found the more people use shared modes, the more likely they are to use public transit, own fewer cars and spend less on transportation overall. P3s can help cities create varied, rich transportation ecosystems that support car-free and car-lite living and the “super-sharer” lifestyle.

While the benefits of P3s are often clear, creating a successful partnership can be a challenge. Here are 10 tips from the webinar’s presenters that cities can use to create a successful P3:

  • Make sure everyone starts with a common understanding of the project’s parameters. It’s critical that all parties start with a shared understanding of the problem or issue to be addressed, the overarching goals of the program and the performance measures. As Sharon explained, “The more transparent you are about what you want to achieve, the easier it is to get there.”
  • Think about what everyone does best and assign roles accordingly. Cities should set the ground rules by codifying public policy goals around equity, accessibility and hiring requirements. They should also frame public expectations. The private sector, on the other hand, should focus on its strengths, such as sponsorship, marketing and operations.
  • Leverage the private sector to accelerate the pace of change. Part of the advantage of engaging private companies is the ability to move quickly and trim back the proverbial red tape. P3s can be a great catalyst to help drive a new concept.
  • Share the risks and rewards. Cities should structure P3s to ensure that risks (and rewards) from the partnership are shared by both parties. The public sector should not have to bear an undue burden portion of the financial and operational risks for a pilot project.
  • Get creative. Creativity is vital in designing services and developing ideas. Feel free to look for examples elsewhere, but don’t be afraid to take a shot at developing a unique solution that works for your city.
  • Invite the private sector to come to you with ideas. For instance, Los Angeles Metro’s Office of Extraordinary Innovation has established an “unsolicited proposals” policy for private companies. Any firm with an idea for a better way to design, finance, build, deliver, or operate Metro’s services is welcome to submit a proposal at any time.
  • Use pilot projects to test concepts. Pilot projects can help cities experiment, iterate and launch new services before committing to operating a new mobility service at scale. Framing a project as a pilot can also help address potential roadblocks and manage expectations.
  • Be intentional in project design and rollout. The more clearly cities can communicate with stakeholders about the parameters and timeline of a project, the better. Be sure to think through, and share, your long-term vision.
  • Communicate early and often with labor. Labor laws and regulations are important to the success of just about any transportation project. Avoid missteps by keeping in regular communication with government employees and union representatives.
  • Celebrate your success. Don’t keep your project a secret—let others know about your work, the challenges you experienced and the ultimate outcome. Maybe we’ll see you on SUMC’s next webinar!

Examples of Existing P3s

The presenters also discussed a wide range of recent successful P3s relating to bikesharing, carsharing, ride-hailing and more. Examples included:

Summit, NJ Partnership with Uber to Subsidize Rides to and from Commuter Rail Station
City: Summit, NJ
Date: October 2016

The City of Summit, New Jersey has partnered with Uber to subsidize rides to and from the commuter rail station that connects Summit to nearby New York City. The pilot project was developed as an alternative to building a new parking lot, with the aim of easing the congestion and parking difficulties commuters face at the rail station. The program will provide flat $2 rides for commuters traveling to and from the rail station, with the City of Summit paying the difference between the $2 fare and the actual rate charged by Uber. The total of $4 that commuters will pay to travel to and from the station is the equivalent of what a daily parking pass currently costs at the station.

Boston MBTA Subsidizing TNC Rides to Aid in Paratransit Efforts
City: Boston, MA
Date: September 2016

The Massachusetts Bay Area Transportation Authority (MBTA) has launched a pilot project with Uber and Lyft to provide door-to-door service for qualified users of the region’s paratransit service. Riders pay $2 for a ride with the transit authority subsidizing the rest, up to $13. The service is designed to provide users reduced fares, lower wait times, same-day booking and faster trips compared to traditional paratransit service. Uber and Lyft both have wheelchair accessible vehicles, however drivers are not required to leave their vehicles or perform services not usually provided by Uber or Lyft. Additionally, for customers without access to smartphones, Lyft pilot customers can use a phone-in option and a limited number of Uber customers can utilize Uber-provided smartphones for use on a limited basis to book trips.

 City of Portland Partnership with Motivate to Launch BIKETOWN System
City: Portland, OR
Date: July 2016

The City of Portland launched its bikeshare system in partnership with operator Motivate and corporate sponsor Nike. Nike committed to a $10 million sponsorship to cover acquiring, launching and operating the system. Additionally, The Portland Bureau of Transportation received a $2 million federal grant which required a 10.27% match, which is covered by the Nike commitment. The system also launched with the lowest price point of any major bikeshare system in the country, as well as with a comprehensive equity plan to ensure all Portlander’s benefit from the system.

Seattle Free-Floating Carshare Ordinance
City: Seattle, WA
Date: January 2016

The initial success of a 350-space on-street parking pilot in 2013 led Seattle’s city council to further expand the program in January 2015, passing new legislation that extended the pilot’s service area and required new operators to serve the entire city in exchange for an increased cap of 750 vehicles per operator. Two years after the initial pilot, more than 70,000 Seattle residents are using one-way carsharing, which has resulted in thousands of people discarding their private autos, according to operator car2go. Additionally, the city estimates it will bring in $2.2 million in permit revenue in 2015 with an estimated 1,300 free-floating vehicles, and $3.4 million in 2016 with 2,000 vehicles.

More information on these and other case studies is available in SUMC’s Shared Mobility Policy Database, now home to more than 800 relevant policies, plans, RFPs and more. You can also view the speakers’ PowerPoint presentations and access the recorded webinar here: Creating & Implementing Public-Private Shared Mobility Partnerships.



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.

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

By June 16, 2017News
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

Los Angeles officials today cut the ribbon on a 5-car demonstration site as part of the kick-off for “BlueLA,” a first-of-its-kind pilot program designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by introducing electric carsharing fleets into disadvantaged communities.

BlueLA – which will scale to 100 electric vehicles (EVs) and 200 charge points at 40 stations by year’s end – is expected to be the world’s largest carsharing program specifically targeted to disadvantaged neighborhoods.

“Los Angeles is becoming a global leader in innovative mobility solutions that serve the public good,” said Sharon Feigon, executive director of the Shared-Use Mobility Center, the national nonprofit organization serving as the technical assistance lead on the project. “If the region maintains its current levels of energy, resources and commitment, we see no reason that BlueLA can’t grow to the level of Paris’s EV carshare program, which now has more than 4,000 vehicles and 130,000 active users.”

A wide range of public sector leaders gathered at the project’s demo site today near MacArthur Park to express their support, including Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, California State Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de Leon, Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) General Manager Seleta Reynolds, and California Air Resources Board (CARB) Member Hector De La Torre.

Representatives from the project’s carshare operator Bolloré Group also unveiled several program specifics at today’s event, including details related to pricing and membership. According to Bolloré Group:

  • Membership will range from $0 to $10 per month, with membership fees waived for early adopters. Members are eligible to receive income-based discounts of up to 80 percent of the full $10 per month. Nonmembers will be able to reserve cars for one-time use at higher rates.
  • Member usage fees will be $.20 per minute, with qualified low-income members paying $0.15 per minute (a 25 percent discount). All prices include the cost of insurance and parking.
  • Users can park BlueLA vehicles in any legal space while in use, but will need to plug their vehicle back into one of the system’s stations to officially end their trip.
  • Residents can currently pre-register for membership on the website. Full registration will open later this summer.

Residents can also visit for more information and to suggest and vote on proposed station locations. A project steering committee – which includes the Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance (KIWA), Salvadoran American Leadership and Educational Fund (SALEF), and TRUST South LA – is also engaging in grassroots outreach to ensure that community members have a voice in the program’s design and rollout.

The BlueLA project is supported by $1.67 million in grant funds from the California Air Resources Board and $1.82 million in EV infrastructure rebates, fee waivers and in-kind support from the City. Bolloré Group – which has been operating electric carsharing in Paris since 2011 and launched the Blueindy EV carshare program in Indianapolis, Indiana in 2015 – will initially invest at least $10 million in the program’s fleet and charging stations.

Altogether, the two-year pilot is expected to recruit a minimum of 7,000 new carsharing users, who in turn are expected to sell or avoid purchasing 1,000 private vehicles, reducing annual greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 2,150 metric tons of CO2.

The Shared-Use Mobility Center (SUMC) today announced that 13 leading Los Angeles transportation and policy experts will join a newly created Implementers Council to help oversee the application of the Shared Mobility Action Plan for LA County. Released by SUMC last fall in partnership with several regional stakeholders, the plan set a goal to take 100,000 cars off the road in the county within the next five years by expanding public transit and new forms of shared mobility such as bikesharing, carsharing and ride-hailing.

“The council will play a key role in helping to coordinate the region’s efforts to extend affordable, environmentally sound transportation options for all,” said SUMC Executive Director Sharon Feigon. “While LA should be proud of the significant advances it has made in bikesharing, carsharing and transit, an inclusive, integrated effort is needed to realize the greatest public benefit.”

Members of the Shared Mobility Action Plan Implementers Council include:

  • Doran Barnes, Executive Director, Foothill Transit
  • Tamika Butler, ‎Executive Director, Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition
  • Diego Cardoso, Executive Officer, Transit Corridors, Active Transportation & Sustainability, LA Metro
  • Suja Lowenthal, Transit Planning & Community Engagement Manager, City of Santa Monica – ‎Big Blue Bus
  • Hervé Muller, President, BlueLA (Bolloré)
  • Hilary Norton, Executive Director, FAST (Fixing Angelenos Stuck in Traffic)
  • Susana Reyes, ‎Senior Analyst, Office of Sustainability, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti
  • Seleta Reynolds, General Manager, LA Department of Transportation
  • Joshua Schank, Chief Innovation Officer, Office of Extraordinary Innovation, LA Metro
  • Debs Schrimmer, Transportation Partnerships Analyst, Lyft
  • Smokey West, General Manager, Los Angeles, Zipcar
  • Thomas Yee, Initiative Officer, LA Thrives
  • Denny Zane, Executive Director, Move LA

The council will meet quarterly to discuss challenges, share information and measure progress toward the plan’s goal to remove 100,000 cars from the road while expanding options for residents. Council members will also play an ongoing role in helping to implement the strategies featured in the action plan, which include:

  1. Expand the Role and Reach of Transit
  2. Drive Cultural Change to Support Transit & Shared Mobility
  3. Emphasize and Expand Carsharing in All Communities
  4. Leverage the Region’s Bikesharing Momentum
  5. Experiment in Ridesourcing, Microtransit & Vanpooling
  6. Build out Mobility Hubs Countywide

The council’s efforts build on SUMC’s most recent activities – which include working closely with the City of Los Angeles to secure a provider for the city’s EV carsharing pilot and meeting with stakeholders to build momentum for constructing integrated mobility hubs – as well as significant regional developments such as the passage of Measure M, the expansion of bikeshare, and the launch of new carshare operators such as Maven and BlueCalifornia.

More information on SUMC’s Shared Mobility Action Plan is available here:

Link to Shared Mobility Action Plan for Los Angeles County:

National Study to Explore Impacts of Private Transit Services

December 21, 2016 NewsShared-Use Mobility
The Shared-Use Mobility Center (SUMC), a national, independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, has been selected by the Transportation Research Board (TRB) to conduct a new study exploring the effects of private transportation services in the U.S.

The research project will focus on new forms of private transit – including ride-splitting services such as UberPool and Lyft Line, on-demand carpooling apps such as Carma and Scoop, and “microtransit” services such as Bridj, Chariot and Via – as well as more traditional private modes such as employer shuttles, ridesharing programs and licensed and unlicensed jitney services.

“Since the emergence of new, tech-enabled transportation services, very little research has been done on the private transit market in the U.S.,” said SUMC Executive Director Sharon Feigon. “As a result, our understanding of these services’ impact on critical issues such as traffic congestion, use of street space, public transit operations and consumer mobility is extremely limited. This project will help to benchmark this growing sector and identify ways to increase its public benefit and expand mobility choices for a wide range of residents.”

The study – Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) Project J-11/Task 24: “Private Transit Services and Public Transportation” – will also provide valuable information to help cities address challenges related to existing private transportation services and build new cross-sector relationships with operators.

To support these objectives, the final research report will feature a number of components, including:

  • A taxonomy of existing private transportation services
  • An evaluation of existing and potential business models for these services, including an assessment of their economic viability in different conditions
  • Case studies of private services, with an emphasis on those that complement or interface with public transportation systems
  • Strategies that transit agencies and local governments can implement to maximize the public benefits of these services while minimizing any negative effects on residents

To complete the project, the research team will conduct interviews with public and private-sector stakeholders, survey private transit users, perform a review of enforcement and regulatory data, and complete a community impact analysis.

The study follows the release of another widely cited research project completed by SUMC on behalf of TRB – TCRP Research Report 188: Shared Mobility and the Transformation of Public Transit – which examined the relationship between public transportation and new forms of shared mobility. A second phase of this study, expanded to include new analysis and data, is scheduled for release in 2017.

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