SUMC works to research and analyze the growth of shared mobility across the US and world, contributing to the broader understanding of this rapidly evolving landscape and drawing out operational lessons and best practices from the many mobility innovations that are currently finding their way into the marketplace. SUMC has produced original research for the Federal Transit and Federal Highway Administrations, the Transportation Research Board, and a number of public, private, and nonprofit clients.

If you are interested in learning more about our research program, and are interested in getting involved as a partner or client in future research projects, please email our Director of Research and Consulting, Colin Murphy, at colin@sharedusemobilitycenter.org.

SUMC research projects include:

West Dallas Mobility Needs Assessment

A local philanthropic organization approached the Shared-Use Mobility Center (SUMC) to identify mobility needs and solutions in West Dallas, TX, a low-density, low-income, predominantly Black and Hispanic area undergoing rapid gentrification. SUMC researched the neighborhood’s demographics, community history, and mobility options, and held two Spanish language focus groups. The resulting needs assessment provides recommendations to the private sector and philanthropy to advance equitable, sustainable, and innovative solutions.

Towards the Promise of Mobility as a Service (MaaS) in the U.S.

With support from the Toyota Social Innovation Team, the Shared-Use Mobility Center prepared a brief to describe Mobility as a Service and document examples in the United States that advance towards MaaS, which integrates multimodal transportation options into a single interface, with a single payment mechanism, to enable seamless and environmentally sound mobility for all. This policy brief is intended to provide a simple, non-technical overview of MaaS to foster widespread, shared understanding of the concept, its benefits, and what is needed for it to be achieved.

Village of Bedford Park Last Mile Study

SUMC worked with Antero Group and the Active Transportation Alliance to develop a Last Mile Study and a Last Mile Mobility Action Plan for the Village of Bedford Park, IL, an industrialized Chicago suburb with an average of nearly 30,000 daily commuters who face last-mile mobility challenges on existing transit networks. In 2018, the Village of Bedford Park launched an initiative to better understand the area’s last-mile mobility challenges, and to develop, test, and implement innovative and effective mobility solutions.

Equity and Shared Mobility Services: Working with the Private Sector to Meet Equity Objectives

The shared mobility industry is in a period of rapid experimentation and change. It is a fertile time to apply the experiments and channel the changes to support low-income and transportation-disadvantaged communities. In this paper, we communicate best practices for public-private partnerships that put equity initiatives into practice and support mobility for all. Equity and Shared Mobility Services is beneficial for any agency or group considering a mobility partnership and includes a checklist for developing equity objectives, an equity analysis for low-income groups using shared mobility, and case studies with practical recommendations.

Objective-Driven Data Sharing for Transit Agencies in Mobility Partnerships 

A primary challenge in implementing Mobility on Demand (MOD) solutions has been reaching an agreement between public and private partners over data sharing. Drawing on lessons learned from the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) MOD Sandbox program and beyond, this paper supports the decision-making process of transit agencies that are considering the deployment of MOD or similar integrated mobility solutions in partnership with private-sector mobility service providers. This white paper and the executive summary feature a decision tree to help guide agencies to an agreement that provides secure and useful data.

When Uber Replaces the Bus: Learning from the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority’s “Direct Connect” Pilot 

The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) was the first public transit agency to sign a service provision contract with a private transportation network company (Uber) to provide subsidized first/last-mile connections to transit stops. A 2019 case study by SUMC and Transit Center details the reasons why the agency took this step, how they responded to internal and external challenges as their pilot developed, and lists lessons learned with recommended actions for pilots going forward. The Direct Connect case study is a valuable tool for agencies in any step of the pilot process that illustrates some of the challenges with partnerships between transit agencies and transportation network companies (TNCs) and helps to shape agency approaches for future projects.

Mobility Hubs: Where People Go to Move

This 2019 guide by the Shared-Use Mobility Center serves as a planning and design resource for the creation of mobility hubs—places where people can seamlessly connect with multiple modes of transportation in a safe, comfortable, and accessible environment. Features include strategies for implementation, a breakdown of key design elements and amenities with detailed descriptions, references from sites around the world, and conceptual examples using sites in the Twin Cities.

Electric and Equitable: Learning from the BlueLA Carsharing Pilot 

In 2016, the City of Los Angeles embarked on an electric vehicle (EV) carsharing pilot project through a grant from the California Air Resources Board. The city’s grant proposal was developed with support from lead technical partner SUMC and submitted to CARB in April 2015. It emphasized serving low-income residents and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Although implementing a progressive shared mobility pilot in a historically-steadfast car culture such as LA would prove to be challenging, BlueLA EV Carshare quickly began delivering results to Angelenos by reducing GHGs and providing a new mobility option. This case study evaluates lessons learned in Phase One of the BlueLA project, which concluded in spring 2019.

Bay Area Carsharing Implementation Strategy 

SUMC teamed with UrbanTrans to produce the Bay Area Carsharing Implementation Strategy in February 2018. Developed as part of MTC’s Climate Initiatives Program, the Strategy focuses on specific approaches for growing carsharing membership and usage in the Bay Area as a way to reduce solo driving and vehicle miles traveled and meet overall emission-reduction targets. To support factfinding, the research team documented best practices, opportunities, and challenges in carsharing, reviewed relevant policies and studies, interviewed regional stakeholders, and held workshops with public, private, and community representatives.

Global Benchmarking Study on European Shared Mobility Services 

SUMC worked with the Federal Highway Administration to study and report how European cities and agencies have planned, implemented and supported shared mobility services to create multimodal mobility options in sustainable communities. The report features principal findings in key areas, case studies, and recommendations for how the US can adapt these practices to advance the benefits of shared mobility at home.

TCRP Report 196: A New SUMC Study Exploring the Impacts of Shared TNCs, Microtransit, Tech Shuttles & Other Forms of Private Transportation

Private transit services—including airport shuttles, shared taxis, private commuter buses, dollar vans, and jitneys—have operated for decades in many American cities. Recently, business innovations and technological advances that allow real-time ride-hailing, routing, tracking, and payment have ushered in a new generation of private transit options. These include ride-splitting products like UberPool and Lyft Line, “microtransit” services, and new types of public-private partnership that are helping to bridge first-/last-mile gaps in suburban areas. But while they often fill a need, there are often perceived or real concerns over the safety, equity and other impacts of private transit providers.

A new SUMC-authored report published by the Transportation Research Board’s Transit Cooperative Research Program, Private Transit: Existing Services and Emerging Directions, explores the effects of private transportation services in the US, and proposes to transit agencies and jurisdictions a way forward to account for, regulate, and incorporate private transit into their planning.

TCRP Report 195: TNCs and Public Transit 

This study by SUMC for the Transit Cooperative Research Program finds that peak use of transportation network companies (TNCs) like Uber and Lyft comes on weekends and evenings, not during rush hours when public-transit use is highest. SUMC’s findings were based on one of the first uses of origin-destination trip data provided by a major TNC. This finding was presented in TCRP Report 195Broadening Understanding of the Interplay between Public Transit, Shared Mobility, and Personal Automobiles. Read more about the study here.

TCRP Report 188: Shared Mobility and the Transformation of Public Transit 

SUMC completed a study for the Transportation Research Board’s (TRB) Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) to examine the evolving relationship between public transportation — including paratransit and demand-responsive services — and new, tech-enabled forms of shared mobility such as ridesourcing.  The report covers opportunities and challenges for public transportation as they relate to new mobility services and potential actions that public agencies may take to promote cooperation between public and private mobility providers. Access the study here.

Shared Mobility Toolkit Report

To complement its Shared Mobility Toolkit, SUMC developed a companion report that provides an overview of each tool along with policy recommendations, trends by city size and type, and shared mobility growth scenarios for the project’s 27 participating cities. Access the report here.

Research Analysis: Impact of On-Demand Mobility Services on Public Transit

SUMC completed a research analysis for the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) based on information generated as part of Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) Report 188 on the Impact of On-Demand Mobility Services on Public Transit. The analysis draws from a wide variety of sources, including interviews with public officials, a survey of shared mobility users and an analysis of Uber and transit demand in seven cities.

Shared-Use Mobility Reference Guide

SUMC has developed a Shared-Use Mobility Reference guide to help prepare government, business, and community leaders to address the rapid changes currently taking place in cities across the nation. The guide includes recommended definitions for new shared modes of transportation, updates on the latest industry trends, evaluation of changing local government roles and policy choices and more. Access the guide here.

For more information on SUMC’s research work, please contact us.