National Center for Sustainable Transportation
Rodier, Caroline J. and Laura Podolsky (2017) Opportunities for Shared-Use Mobility Services in Rural Disadvantaged Communities in California's San Joaquin Valley: Existing Conditions and Conceptual Program Development. Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Davis, Research Report UCD-ITS-RR-17-12
Shared-use mobility services largely serve major metropolitan areas. However, increasingly officials, who represent rural communities, want to know whether these types of services may be able to provide more cost-effective access to rural residents than is currently possible by fixed-route and dial-a-ride transit services. Many of these officials must contend with low farebox recovery rates that threaten transit funding and subsequent cutbacks in transit services that are often strongly opposed by constituents.
In this study, the cost-effectiveness of existing inter-city transit service in rural disadvantaged communities in the San Joaquin Valley (California) is compared to hypothetical ridesharing and carsharing services. The results show significant potential to reduce transit costs and reinvest those cost saving to expand shared mobility services.
The cost-effectiveness analysis is supplemented with reviews of existing shared-use mobility pilots and consultations with experts in shared mobility and local transportation planning. The result is two shared-use mobility pilot concepts in seven communities in four counties in the San Joaquin Valley region:
1. Carsharing and ridesourcing in affordable housing complexes in the Dinuba, Cutler, and Orosi community of Tulare County and the Lamont-Arvin and Wasco communities of Kern County. The development density of selected locations support walk access to carsharing for residents in the affordable housing complexes and surrounding neighborhoods. Ridesourcing would be introduced to provide first and last mile access to transit and carsharing when it is not possible for residents to walk to these services. Ridesourcing would also provide direct access to destinations when it is not possible to complete an essential trip with transit or carsharing. Carsharing and ridesourcing would be subsidized to ensure that the services are affordable. It is anticipated that this program will produce significant savings from reduced dial-a-ride service costs that can be used for sustained operations.2. A technology platform that enables improved efficiency for multiple independently operated demand responsive transportation services in jurisdictions in northeast Stanislaus and southeast San Joaquin counties. The platform aggregates the demand and supply of available services (e.g., dial-a-ride, volunteer transportation organizations, carsharing, and ridesourcing): (a) participating transit providers would communicate the demand for travel (departure/arrival times and locations) and (b) suppliers would communicate vehicle availability, capacity, and fares. The platform would use this data to match travelers and drivers to minimize service costs, travel times, and greenhouse gas emissions by filling available seats and reducing empty travel miles. Outreach would be conducted to engage and expand service providers and to increase the pool of volunteer drivers.