Early Results from an Electric Vehicle Carsharing Service in Rural Disadvantaged Communities in the San Joaquin Valley

Research Team: Caroline Rodier (lead), Brian Harold, and Yunwan Zhang

University: UC Davis

Problem Statement: In rural areas, cost-effective transit service is challenging to provide due to greater distances, lower population densities, and longer travel times than in cities. Rural transit agencies often struggle to meet farebox recovery ratios. Per-trip costs, particularly for dial-a-ride services, can range from $50 to $100. The people who rely on public transit contend with infrequent and slow service. Access to a personal car is essential to the quality of life for most residents, from work to health care, education, healthy food, and other basic services. However, keeping two (or sometimes even one) car in reliable working order can consume a significant share of the household budget for low-income families. New technology services may offer a cost-effective mobility option for residents of rural communities and help the region meet its goals for smart growth under SB 375.

Project Description: An EV carsharing pilot, called Míocar, was launched in August 2019 to explore the potential of a shared mobility service to offer a cost-effective mobility option for residents of rural disadvantaged communities and to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The goals of the pilot program are (a) to provide carsharing at a price point that is more affordable than owning a personal vehicle to price-sensitive populations with low transit access; and (b) to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This project summarizes the data collected during the 10-month operational rampup of the Míocar service—the entire dataset links members and their service use data with results from member and post reservation surveys. The results provide initial insights into who, how, and why members are using Míocar.

Status: Completed

Budget: $37,090

Project Partner(s): California Air Resources Board; San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District; Metropolitan Planning Organizations and Transit Agencies from Kern, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Tulare Counties; Self Help Enterprises; CalVans; Shared Use Mobility Center; and San Joaquin Valley Rural Development Center at Fresno State University

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