Implementing a Community-Based Mobility Wallet: A Los Angeles Case Study

Research Team: Caroline Rodier (lead) and Mollie D’Agostino

UC Campus(es): UC Davis

Problem Statement: The lack of affordable travel options exacerbates socioeconomic inequities, and limits residents' access to essential services and opportunities. Research underscores the importance of car ownership for economic advancement. However, the high cost of housing and auto ownership makes purchasing a reliable vehicle challenging. In turn, carless residents rely on transit, which is costly and does not meet all household travel needs. California leads the nation in investing in clean-shared mobility in low-income communities. The City of Los Angeles is in the vanguard with its large-scale electric carsharing, microtransit, and micro mobility services. Because of the pandemic’s impact on transit ridership and the challenges of paying the high and unbanked costs of shared mobility, Los Angeles will upgrade their existing TAP card program (see https://www.taptogo.net/) to function as a “mobility wallet” to help social justice populations pay for transit and clean-shared mobility services. However, there is limited experience implementing mobility wallets. Moreover, successful program design and implementation must meet the needs of the communities that it serves.

Project Description: This research project will directly support the development of the Los Angeles mobility wallet through three key tasks. First, the research team will document lessons learned from past mobility wallet programs, in the U.S. and internationally, through internet searches, literature reviews, and expert interviews. Second, the team will work with project partners to help shape the problem definition, alternatives, and evaluation criteria for the wallet project from the community’s perspective. Third, the team will work with the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) to develop a draft evaluation plan. The project will incorporate principles of community engagement research to ensure the design, implementation, and on-going evaluation meets the needs of community stakeholders.

Status: In Progress

Budget: $80,000

Project Partner(s): City of Los Angeles; Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority; Southern California Association of Governments