Are the Shared Mobility Firms Enhancing Public Transportation? – Part 2

Part 1 of our two-part series on shared mobility discussed how this trend will impact public transportation. Research shows that the more people use shared modes, the more likely they are to use public transit, own fewer cars, and spend less on transportation overall.

Why? For one: it is easier than ever to access shared mobility. All one needs is their smartphone and the right app. The sheer ability to request, track, and pay for trips using mobile devices is changing the way people get around and interact with cities. Young and old alike are using the apps on a regular basis resulting in a cleaner, safer, more efficient, and cashless opportunity to move from point A to point B. The “last mile” of a trip is the sharing mobility company’s opportunity to bring passengers to a major transit system or transit hub.

Several key findings came out of the Shared Mobility and the Transformation of Public Transit research report, recently published by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). These findings include:

1.     The more people use shared modes, the more likely they are to use public transit, own fewer cars, and spend less on transportation overall.

2.     People who routinely use shared modes of transportation such as bike sharing, car sharing, and ride sourcing, save the most money and own half as many household cars as people who use public transit alone.

3.     Shared modes complement public transit and enhance urban mobility.  Interestingly enough, it appears that ride sourcing services are most frequently used for social trips between 10 PM and 4 AM, the times when public transit runs infrequently or is not available at all. These shared modes substitute more for automobile trips than public transit trips.

4.     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. It does not make sense at all for public transit agencies to try to stop the shared mobility companies. Instead, they need to seize opportunities to improve urban mobility for all users through collaboration and public/private partnerships.

5.     The public sector as well as private operators are eager to collaborate to improve transit serviceability using emerging technology.

6.     As a result of the above, it is clear that ultimately there will be fewer cars on the road as the car sharing companies increase and as self-driving cars become a reality. Make no mistake, there will be fewer cars, there will be a smaller need for parking spaces, but vehicle miles traveled will increase on road systems. A personally owned automobile sits idle up to 95% of the day. It costs a tremendous amount of money (often $15,000 to $20,000 a year) to own a car that you drive only 5% to 10% of the time. People of all ages are realizing that, before long, it will not make sense to own a car. It is for that reason that major car manufacturers like GM and Ford are changing their business model from being a car selling company to a car sharing company.

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