Shared Mobility Services

Public Transit, Ridehailing, Carsharing, Ridesharing and Bikesharing

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TDM Encyclopedia

Victoria Transport Policy Institute

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Updated 18 July 2017


Transportation services that help users efficiently share vehicles.

 

 

Description

Shared Mobility refers to various modes and services that increase transportation system efficiency by sharing vehicles, including Public Transit, Ridesharing, Taxi, Ridehailing (such as Uber and Lyft), Carsharing and Bikesharing. New Internet and mobile communications technologies, sometimes called Transportation Network Services, facilitate use of these modes.

 

How it is Implemented

Shared Mobility services are implemented in various ways. Some services, such as Car- and Van-pooling, are developed by public transit agencies. Others are implemented by new technology companies that provide Internet and Mobile apps. Their implementation may involve regulatory reforms to allow new services to legally operate in a jurisdiction (Curtis (2015).

 

Travel Impacts

Shared Mobility has mixed travel impacts, depending on the type of service and how it is used (Dutzik, Madsen and Baxandall 2013). Some Shared Mobility options, such as Taxi, Ridehailing and Carsharing involve automobile travel, and so may increase motor vehicle travel, but by reducing household’s need to own personal vehicles, they can help reduce total vehicle travel, for example, if more convenient taxi, ridehailing and carsharing services used a few times a month allow a household to avoid owning a car that would be used a few times a day. Travel impacts therefore depend on the degree that they are implemented as part of overall programs to reduce automobile ownership and use in a community.

 

Table 1            Travel Impact Summary

Objective

Rating

Comments

Reduces total traffic.

2

Depends on mode and use.

Reduces peak period traffic.

2

"

Shifts peak to off-peak periods.

0

"

Shifts automobile travel to alternative modes.

2

"

Improves access, reduces the need for travel.

2

"

Increased ridesharing.

2

"

Increased public transit.

2

"

Increased cycling.

2

"

Increased walking.

0

"

Increased Telework.

0

"

Reduced freight traffic.

1

"

Rating from 3 (very beneficial) to –3 (very harmful). A 0 indicates no impact or mixed impacts.

 

 

Benefits and Costs

Some Shared Mobility options, such as Public Transit, Ridesharing and Bikesharing use resource efficient modes (they require relatively little road and parking space, and energy per passenger-mile), and so tend to directly reduce travel costs such as congestion and pollution emissions, particularly in dense urban areas (Hamilton and Wichman 2016). Other Shared Mobility options, such as Taxi, Ridehailing and Carsharing, use resource-intensive automobiles, but can increase overall transportation system efficiency if these services help households reduce their vehicle ownership and therefore their total transportation costs. Services such as public transit, taxi and ridehailing can help reduce high-risk driving, such as travelling home after drinking, and so can provide large traffic safety benefits. Their benefits and costs therefore depend on the type of Shared Mobility and how they are used.

 

Table 2            Benefit Summary

Objective

Rating

Comments

Congestion Reduction

2

Depends on services and how they are used.

Road & Parking Savings

2

"

Consumer Savings

2

"

Transport Choice

3

"

Road Safety

3

"

Environmental Protection

2

"

Efficient Land Use

2

"

Community Livability

2

"

Rating from 3 (very beneficial) to –3 (very harmful). A 0 indicates no impact or mixed impacts.

 

 

Equity Impacts

Shared Mobility can significantly improve people’s ability to travel without a personal automobile, and so helps increase Affordability and Basic Mobility.

 

Table 3            Equity Summary

Criteria

Rating

Comments

Treats everybody equally.

1

Improves mobility options.

Individuals bear the costs they impose.

2

Depends on type of services.

Progressive with respect to income.

3

Improves mobility for non-drivers.

Benefits transportation disadvantaged.

3

Improves mobility for non-drivers.

Improves basic mobility.

3

Improves mobility for non-drivers.

Rating from 3 (very beneficial) to –3 (very harmful). A 0 indicates no impact or mixed impacts.

 

 

Applications

Shared Mobility can be useful in many situations, including large cities, suburbs and small towns. Ridehailing appears to be particularly useful in suburban areas where conventional taxi services are relatively inconvenient and expensive.

 

Table 4            Application Summary

Geographic

Rating

Organization

Rating

Large urban region.

3

Federal government.

1

High-density, urban.

3

State/provincial government.

2

Medium-density, urban/suburban.

3

Regional government.

3

Town.

3

Municipal/local government.

3

Low-density, rural.

2

Business Associations/TMA.

2

Commercial center.

3

Individual business.

1

Residential neighborhood.

2

Developer.

2

Resort/recreation area.

3

Neighborhood association.

2

 

 

Campus.

3

Ratings range from 0 (not appropriate) to 3 (very appropriate).

 

 

Category

Improved transportation option

 

Relationships With Other TDM Strategies

Shared Mobility supports and is supported by Public Transit Improvements, Carsharing, Bikesharing, Ridesharing and Taxi service improvements.

 

Stakeholders

Stakeholders include Share Mobility service providers, regulatory agencies, transportation agencies, public transit agencies and local governments.

 

Barriers to Implementation

Shared Mobility services can face a variety of legal and practical barriers including  Regulations that limit commercial transportation services (Schaller 2015), restrictions on vehicle insurance, and lack of coordination with other services, such as public transit.  

 

Best Practices

The Shared Mobility Action Plan for Los Angeles County (SUMC (2016) recommends the following strategies to maximize impacts and benefits:

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 and vanpooling

6. Build out mobility hubs countywide

 

Examples and Case Studies

 

Commute Trip Reduction Rideshare Programs

Evans and Pratt (2005) describe several successful rideshare programs, including the Commuter Transportation Services, which provides ridematching services in Southern California, an employment center ridematching service supported by businesses, a residential ridematching service provided to residents of a suburban community funded by a developer, and various vanpool programs.

 

Recommendations for Regulating Taxi & Ride-Hail

In the report,  Unfinished Business: A Blueprint for Uber, Lyft and Taxi Regulation, Transportation consultant Bruce Schaller recommends a set of policy reforms to ensure that ride-hail companies best serve the common good. He argues that there are significant differences between “dispatch” (passengers order a taxi) and “flag” (passengers are served by taxis on a street or transportation terminal) services. Dispatch markets, in which hailing was historically done by phone, now commonly via app by Transportation Network Companies (TNC), are less prone to individual abuse, but flag services are functional monopolies that require more regulation.

He makes recommendations concerning six issues: 

  1. A level playing field between taxis and TNC. Schaller recommends a two-tiered system differentiating between “dispatch” and “flag” operation. For “dispatch” service, governments should roll back some taxi regulation to enable fair competition between taxi and TNC. Customers choose which company to ride with. At the same time, for “flag” service, government should “retain more extensive regulations, including numerical controls and fare regulation… to prevent oversupply, fare gouging, and chaotic street conditions.”
  2. Fingerprinting drivers. Schaller recommends managing driver-related risks using both forward-looking and backward-looking methods. The report recommends fingerprint-based criminal record checks as the “established best practice for identifying drivers with criminal records.” Requiring this would put taxis and TNC on equal footing. Fingerprint background checks, standard for taxis, are being studied by the CPUC, as well as Chicago and Massachusetts. Driver performance should be addressed on an ongoing basis via “safety management systems that monitor, train, and provide feedback to drivers.”
  3. Wheelchair-accessible service. Schaller points to the failure of past fleet-wide disability-access regulations, and recommends that wheelchair-accessible service should be funded through a fee on all rides. He recommends that robust wheelchair-accessible service be operated by specific operators that choose to do so. That’s already been done successfully, an example being Arlington’s Red Top Cab company’s accessible taxi program. Drivers for Red Top who opt to serve wheelchair users receive specialized training and financial incentives.
  4.  Drivers as independent contractors or employees. There is a rosy, imagined picture of ride-hail drivers as independent part-timers making a few bucks on the side, driving only when they choose to work. According to Schaller, though, the bulk of the service is provided by drivers who work full time or close to it: “41 percent of Uber rides in the company’s twenty largest U.S. markets are provided by drivers who work at least 35 hours a week. In addition, 38 percent of the service is provided by drivers working roughly half-time (16 to 34 hours a week).” Schaller recommends “providing civil rights protections, and ensuring that worker benefits are either provided by law or left to meaningful channels of negotiation between drivers and companies.”
  5. State vs. local regulation. Here Schaller again draws a distinction between “dispatch” and “flag” regulation. For “dispatch” service, TNC and taxis could be regulated at a higher level, such as county or state. For “flag” service, the concerns are more local, such as serving a specific airport site; hence the regulation should continue to be a more local level, such as city or county.
  6. Schaller recommended that transportation agencies get consistent data from all taxi and TNC companies. Agencies could use travel time/cost data to better model travel demand, and ultimately to price the use of road space.

 

 

Carsharing Technology Improves City Fleet Efficiency (DeFalco 2013)

New York city is saving tens of millions of dollars through more efficient management of its 25,000 fleet vehicles — which includes everything from garbage trucks to police cars — by using carsharing technology. This is allowing the number of service garages to be reduced from 47 to 37. The system allows employees to reserve unused government cars by utilizing the same software as Zipcar, the popular car-sharing service. This is allowing a 20% reduction in total fleet vehicles.

 

Taxi Regulation Review (Aarbaug 2014)

A detailed review of taxi market regulatory reforms for international cities reached the following conclusions:

 

There are two general recommendations for taxi regulations. First, taxi markets are local and this has to be kept in mind when taxi operators are regulated. Second, real taxi markets are a complex mix of different segments with different properties. This means that there is no single right answer to the question of regulation. Each segment has a different theoretical optimal solution. This points in to a multi-tier system (regulating the different segments separately). However there are both economics of scale and scope at work, favouring a single tier system (having the same regulation for all segments).

 

In terms of which regulatory approach to follow, the link between objectives and regulations are strongest with the qualitative approach, however this approach is costly. Quantitative regulations are much less costly, but is not as easy to link with policy objectives (unless congestion is the main concern). Economic regulations are most suitable to address the information asymmetry in the street market segments. In other words, in all but the largest of cities, where costs of regulation are low compared with the size of the industry, and the economics of scope from using the same vehicle in different market segments are insignificant, regulators can choose between several "second best" solutions. As a consequence taxis should not be seen out of context from the other mobility and environmental objectives of a city

 

 

Capital Bikeshare (www.capitalbikeshare.com)

Capital Bikeshare is the second largest bike share program in America and is the country’s oldest. Beginning as SmartBike DC in 2008, the network now features over 300 stations and 2500 bikes. With 6 years of operation, it is possible to gauge how bike share is changing the way Washingtonians travel. The 2012 Capital Bikeshare Customer Use and Satisfaction Survey found that:

 

 

References and Resources for More Information

 

Jørgen Aarhaug (2014), Taxis as Urban Transport, Transportøkonomisk institutt (Institute of Transport Economics) (www.toi.no); at https://www.toi.no/getfile.php/Publikasjoner/T%C3%98I%20rapporter/2014/1308-2014/1308-2014-elektronisk.pdf

 

Bike-Sharing World Map (www.bikesharingworld.com) keeps a running tally of active and planned programs and is updated frequently.

 

Ralph Buehler and Andrea Hamre (2014), Economic Benefits of Capital Bikeshare: A Focus on Users & Businesses, Virginia Tech, Urban Affairs and Planning, Alexandria Center (www.uap.vt.edu); at http://ntl.bts.gov/lib/51000/51900/51965/VT-2013-06.pdf.

 

Owen P. Curtis (2015), “Common Sense, Fair Play, and Transportation Network Companies,” ITE Journal (www.ite.org), Vol. 85, No. 12, pp. 44-47; at http://bit.ly/2t5Qi3u.

 

Tony Dutzik, Travis Madsen and Phineas Baxandall (2013), “A New Way to Go: The Transportation Apps and Vehicle-Sharing Tools That Are Giving More Americans the Freedom to Drive Less,” U.S. PIRG Education Fund Frontier Group (www.uspirg.org); at www.uspirg.org/sites/pirg/files/reports/A%20New%20Way%20to%20Go%20vUS1.pdf.

 

John E. Evans and Richard H. Pratt (2005), Vanpools and Buspools; Traveler Response to Transportation System Changes, Chapter 5, TCRP Report 95, Transportation Research Board (www.trb.org); at www.nap.edu/download/13845.

 

Timothy Hamilton and Casey Wichman (2016), Bicycle Infrastructure and Traffic Congestion: Evidence from DC’s Capital Bikeshare, Resources for the Future (www.rff.org); at www.rff.org/files/document/file/RFF-DP-15-39-REV.pdf.

 

Michael Kodransky and Gabriel Lewenstein (2014), Connecting Low-Income People to Opportunity with Shared Mobility, Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (www.itdp.org) and Living Cities (www.livingcities.org); at www.itdp.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Can-Shared-Mobility-Help-Low-Income-People-Access-Opportunity-.pdf.

 

Joe Linton (2016), New Bruce Schaller Report: Recommendations for Regulating Taxi & Ride-Hail, StreetBlog LA (http://la.streetsblog.org); at http://la.streetsblog.org/2016/10/13/new-bruce-schaller-report-recommendations-for-regulating-taxi-ride-hail.

 

Kristin Lovejoy, Susan Handy and Marlon G. Boarnet (2013), Technical Background Document on Impacts of Carsharing Based on a Review of the Empirical Literature, California Air Resources Board (www.arb.ca.gov); at www.arb.ca.gov/cc/sb375/policies/carsharing/carsharing_bkgd101013.pdf.

 

Bruce Schaller (2015), Between Public and Private Mobility: Examining the Rise of Technology-Enabled Transportation Services, Special Report 319 Taxi, Sedan, and Limousine Industries and Regulations, Transportation Research Board (www.trb.org); at http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/sr/sr319AppendixB.pdf.

 

Joseph P. Schwieterman, et al. (2009), Is Portable Technology Changing How Americans Travel? A Survey Of The Use Of Electronic Devises On Intercity Buses, Trains, And Planes, Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development, DePaul University (www.depaul.edu); at http://las.depaul.edu/chaddick/docs/Docs/Chaddick_Institute_Survey_of_Technology_1.pdf.

 

Susan A. Shaheen and A.P. Cohen (2013), Innovative Mobility Carsharing Outlook: Carsharing Market Overview, Analysis, and Trends, Transportation Sustainability Research Center, University of California Berkeley; at http://tsrc.berkeley.edu/node/629.

 

Susan Shaheen and Elliot Martin (2015), “Unraveling the Modal Impacts of Bikesharing,” Access 47, (www.accessmagazine.org); at www.accessmagazine.org/articles/fall-2015/unraveling-the-modal-impacts-of-bikesharing.

 

Susan Shaheen and Nelson Chan (2015), Mobility and the Shared Economy: Impact Synopsis, Transportation Sustainability Research Center (http://tsrc.berkeley.edu); at http://tsrc.berkeley.edu/sites/default/files/Innovative-Mobility-Industry-Outlook_SM-Spring-2015_0.pdf.

 

Shared Use Mobility Center (http://sharedusemobilitycenter.org) is a public-interest organization working to foster collaboration in shared mobility (including bikesharing, carsharing, ridesharing and more) and help connect the growing industry with transit agencies, cities and communities across the nation.

 

SUMC (2016), Shared Mobility Action Plan for Los Angeles County, Shared-Use Mobility Center (http://sharedusemobilitycenter.org); at http://sharedusemobilitycenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/SUMC-Single-Page-Web-2.pdf.


This Encyclopedia is produced by the Victoria Transport Policy Institute to help improve understanding of Transportation Demand Management. It is an ongoing project. Please send us your comments and suggestions for improvement.

 

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