NEW: On June 23 and June 30, 2020, the Shared-Use Mobility Center (SUMC) hosted the MOD On-Ramp Program Lessons Learned Webinar Series, where participant agencies shared their experiences and lessons learned developing innovative projects that address mobility integration and first/last-mile solutions.
Since 2018, the Shared-Use Mobility Center has given free technical assistance to six transit agencies to develop mobility-on-demand (MOD) projects through the MOD On-Ramp program. Independent evaluators from both public agencies and private firms, in consultation with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), selected the six projects from a pool of nearly 30 proposals from around the country. Projects from the following six agencies were selected:
- Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Capital Metro, Austin, TX) – Transit-bikeshare integration
- Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Transit Administration (MDOT MTA, Baltimore, MD) – Microtransit
- Indianapolis Public Transportation Corporation (IndyGO, Indianapolis, IN) – Mobility hubs
- Tompkins County (Ithaca region, NY) – MaaS/integration
- Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA, Memphis, TN) – First-last mile
- Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART, San Francisco Bay Area, CA) – On-demand ride-hailing for persons who use a wheelchair
The On-Ramp program, part of a partnership with FTA, provides an opportunity for public transportation agencies and other transportation providers with promising MOD concepts to receive expert assistance to develop business plans and other project-building strategies. The selected participants will engage in a comprehensive, year-long process that will assist with project development through supported engagement, peer mentoring, research, and other activities.
Participants will receive support to:
- Conduct workshops in their communities to determine local mobility needs and set parameters for projects;
- Participate in a national community of practice with peer agencies and related experts as well as access to in-person workshops;
- Utilize research and analysis from SUMC and other experts;
- Collaborate one-on-one with peers and identify resources to meet challenges; and
- Develop feasible MOD business plans.
“We need to continue to innovate in public transit to find new ways to improve and expand transportation options for all. Shared mobility partnerships can test out new technologies and creative ideas that have the potential to improve customers’ rides and increase efficiencies for agencies. New pilots are one of the best ways to develop new service models” said SUMC Executive Director Sharon Feigon. “We look forward to continuing our work with FTA and the selected agencies to help guide the critical early stages of their projects.”
“FTA is pleased with the level of interest, and the variety of ideas proposed in the MOD On-Ramp process,” said Vincent Valdes, Associate Administrator of the FTA’s Office of Research, Demonstration and Innovation. “This makes it clear that communities around the country continue to look to the Mobility on Demand concept as a viable solution to their mobility challenges. We look forward to working with the Shared-Use Mobility Center to support the six selectees, learning from them, and sharing their learning with agencies around the country.”
About the Selected Projects
Capital Metro (Austin, TX) is helping a rapidly growing region address the challenges of sprawl, congestion, and changing travel patterns. They are developing strategic partnerships to integrate bikeshare with transit service. The agency is seeking to expand first-last mile access to transit, to support the electrification of bikeshare, and to engage in partnerships leading towards mobility integration.
MDOT MTA (Baltimore, MD) is developing a plan for microtransit to better connect high-opportunity job centers in the suburbs and low-income residential populations in the city.
IndyGO (Indianapolis, IN) is developing strategic plans for integrated mobility hubs in a series of “mobility districts,” selected according to their urban typology. Each plan will focus on connecting hubs to their existing transit network. The evaluators praised the thoroughness of the application and its commitment to creating a lower-friction transit environment in a car-centric city.
Tompkins County (Ithaca Region, NY) is largely rural area contiguous with the Ithaca metropolitan area. The county, with a consortium of mobility operators, human service agencies, and mobility managers, is proposing a Mobility as a Service (MaaS) pilot, to both reduce solo driving trips and provide equitable transportation access to its residents.
MATA (Memphis, TN) plans to develop a demand-responsive service to transport riders from their doorstep to arterial routes in selected corridors of the city. The program seeks to improve service to both people in disadvantaged neighborhoods and paratransit riders.
BART (San Francisco Metropolitan Area, CA) is aiming to create an on-demand wheelchair accessible vehicle (WAV) ride-hailing service. The rides would be staged at BART stations and would provide either short, single-leg trips, or first/last mile trips to the stations.
About the MOD On-Ramp Program
The On-Ramp program builds on two existing initiatives and leverages other resources of the Shared-Use Mobility Center:
- The FTA’s MOD Sandbox Program, which supports 11 cities across the country as part of a larger U.S. Department of Transportation research effort to help transit agencies and communities integrate new mobility tools like smartphone apps, bike-sharing, car-sharing, and demand-responsive bus and van services.
- SUMC’s work on the Innovation and Knowledge Accelerator, created with FTA to facilitate idea exchange, discussions of lessons learned, and mutual support among MOD Sandbox participants and others interested in implementing shared-mobility programs.
- SUMC’s clearinghouse that includes the Shared Mobility Toolkit—made up of the Policy Database, Benefits Calculator and Mapping and Opportunity Analysis tool—that will help guide On-Ramp participants.
- The experience of the SUMC staff in researching, designing, and implementing shared-mobility projects around the country. SUMC’s current or recent projects include Transit Cooperative Research Program research on ridehailing and private transit, work on electric car-sharing implementation in several California communities, implementation of shared mobility action plans in Los Angeles County and the Twin Cities, launching a MaaS platform in California’s San Joaquin Valley, supporting an all-electric car-sharing project in low-income areas in Los Angeles, and more.
As with the Innovation and Knowledge Accelerator, the On-Ramp program builds a shared knowledge-base and accelerates learning on issues that affect the implementation of MOD projects and develop resources for use by the wider MOD field.
SUMC hosted the second Mobility on Demand (MOD) On-Ramp Program workshop on November 21, 2019 in Dallas, TX. More than 70 people including MOD On-Ramp and MOD Sandbox participant agencies, as well as mobility experts from the public, private, and non-profit sectors participated.