Is Microtransit a Scalable Complement to Traditional Public Transit? Best Practices for Network Design, Operations, and Partnership

Research Team: Michael Hyland (lead), Susan Pike, and Yan Xing

UC Campus(es): UC Davis, UC Irvine

Problem Statement: Traditional transit systems that rely exclusively on fixed routes and fixed schedules struggle to provide high quality service to transit-dependent travelers and to attract choice travelers in moderate- to low-density areas. This is especially true in areas where jobs, restaurants, and shopping are not clustered together. Moreover, it is expensive for transit agencies to run services in moderate- and low-density areas. Integrating traditional transit and the more flexible microtransit—multi-passenger transportation services that serve passengers using dynamically generated routes—has been touted as a means to attract riders to public transit, improve mobility and sustainable transportation outcomes and provide better accessibility to more travelers. These integrated services also have the potential to reduce costs incurred by transit agencies and improve mobility equity in underserved communities. However, successful real-world examples of and guidelines for integrating traditional transit and microtransit are relatively limited.

Project Description: This project has two key objectives: (1) to develop network design and operational strategy guidelines for integrating microtransit and transitional transit in low- to moderate-density areas, and (2) to analyze the mobility, accessibility, and equity benefits of integrating transitional transit and microtransit statewide. The project will identify ways that the state can support microtransit integration, blueprints that transit agencies can use to implement microtransit, and metrics for tracking how well microtransit services are helping California achieve climate, equity, and mobility and accessibility goals.

Status: In Progress

Budget: $125,000