Lyft car and bus in Pittsburgh

New mobility options support transit, researchers find

New urban mobility options — ride-hailing, car-sharing, and bicycle-sharing — are changing the way people get around cities.  In a new study, researchers learned that these shared services complemented public transportation, reduced auto ownership, and lowered overall transportation costs.

The study had four key findings:

  • The more people use shared modes, the more likely they are to use public transit, own fewer cars, and spend less on transportation overall.
  • Shared modes complement public transit, enhancing urban mobility.
  • Shared modes will continue to grow in significance, and public entities should identify opportunities to engage with them to ensure that benefits are widely and equitably shared.
  • The public sector and private operators are eager to collaborate to improve paratransit service using emerging approaches and technology.

The study surveyed 4,500 shared-use customers in seven cities: Austin (TX), Boston (MA), Chicago (IL), Los Angeles (CA), San Francisco (CA), Seattle (WA), and Washington (DC).  Researchers also interviewed private ride-hailing operators and public transportation agency officials. The study was conducted by the Shared-Use Mobility Center for the American Public Transportation Association through the Transit Cooperative Research Program.

“As the study shows, people who use public transit and these shared services are making a lifestyle change that results in more walking, less driving, and greater household savings because of overall lower transportation costs.” said APTA chair Valarie J. McCall in a statement. “It is important that we provide options that complement and enhance our public transit service.”

“The way people get around in communities is being transformed, and public transportation is at the heart of this formal shift,” added APTA president and CEO Michael Melaniphy. “Together with companies like Lyft and Uber, we are integral to creating a dynamic multimodal lifestyle.”

The study authors noted that several public sector transit agencies are eager to collaborate with private mobility operators to address first-mile/last-mile challenges and to improve paratransit operations by using emerging approaches and technology. Recent stories in The Transit Wire have identified such collaborations in Kansas City (MO), Pinellas County (FL), and Durham (NC).  A copy of the full report, Shared Mobility and the Transformation of Public Transit, is available on the APTA website.

Photo credit: Via Tsuji/Flickr  (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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