How TNCs and Transit are expanding partnerships and how transit agencies are proactively planning and preparing for the changes that are occurring, to minimize disruption and maximize the public benefit that can be achieved
San Francisco Bay Area (SF City and County and MTC, Bay Area MPO)
Although improved air quality and environmental impacts are benefits listed for MTC’s ride sharing pilot, it doesn’t seem yet to be factored into MTC long-range planning. This likely reflects evolution that we’re (Volpe is) seeing elsewhere from a focus on operations and partnerships before moving to a more regional and multimodal scale. MTC identified one of the benefits of these types of partnerships is that they, for the first time ever, get some verification of actual carpooling. Although these data are limited it allows verification that MTC or partners ridematching services result in actual carpooling.
The MTC/BART/Scoop partnership could be very interesting for panel, considering up and downside of shared mobility. The pilot was funded with an FTA MOD Sandbox grant to develop a system where BART riders can use Scoop to form carpools for the purpose of driving to a BART station. Scoop is a “dynamic carpooling” app, which allows users to find a carpool partner in near real-time based on the route they are planning to travel, e.g., routing them to the BART station.
Benefits of pilot: 1) Reduced congestion; 2) Reduced emissions; 3) Reduced commute cost; 4) More efficient use of transit resources (BART parking)
MTC and all California MPOs are required by state law to have a sustainable communities strategy which will result in a reduction of tailpipe GHGs. Carpooling, in general, is part of all of these strategies. So, any Shared Mobility application that increases carpooling will support the sustainable communities strategy. If this also comes with some real-time data about actual carpooling rates, that provides MTC with better information with which to gauge the effectiveness of their strategy. Potential to scale up regionally to produce emission reductions may be a longer term consideration.
Another consideration is whether some Shared Mobility – e.g., Uber and Lyft — can take choice riders away from BART or other transit, which would have emission implications particularly off-peak when shared mobility doesn’t help with BART’s crowding and capacity issues or even sustainable communities strategies. In effect, the laws of traffic demand are changing from what they assumed when the developed the strategy and now they are likely on a path to increasing emissions as opposed to decreasing emissions. This is one of the major reasons they need to find a way to get shared mobility integrated into the planning process.
Los Angeles Metro
Metro serves as multimodal transportation planning agency and transit authority for LA County. The Office of Innovative Technology is a leader in arranging partnerships and initiatives with TNCs, with related strategies, both regulating to prevent problems (e.g., access for underserved communities) and to improve multimodal connectivity. Although emissions reduction is a state required priority for the country and MPO, similar to MTC, incorporating this at a regional scale for shared mobility may be something for the future, and a matter of evolution.
Columbus, Ohio MPO (MORPC)
Volpe has studied Columbus in the same detail as SF and LA. Shared Mobility figures in the regional MPO planning process to reach regional air quality goals. Plans call for partnerships with TNCs, transit provider, and other ride share providers to reinforce travel habits to improve air quality. Although we haven’t identified extent to which partnerships have been formed, it is significant that shared mobility is called out in regional scale multimodal planning that includes emission reduction goals.