The Shared-Use Mobility Center (SUMC), a national non-profit organization, has entered into an agreement with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to operate a new technical assistance effort to support the successful implementation of Mobility on Demand (MOD) projects across the USA.
The initiative will focus on helping recipients of the FTA’s Mobility On Demand Sandbox program funding demonstrate innovative transportation solutions in 11 cities across the country. In October 2016, the FTA announced project selections for US$8m in funding for MOD public transportation projects. The MOD Sandbox Program is part of a larger research effort at the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) that supports transit agencies and communities as they integrate new mobility tools, such as smartphone apps, bikesharing, carsharing, and demand-responsive bus and van services.
FTA’s Innovation and Knowledge Accelerator (IKA) initiative will create a structure through which MOD Sandbox participants, and others interested in implementing shared mobility programs, can exchange ideas, discuss lessons learned, and offer mutual support. The network will:
Foster innovation in areas such as system integration, partnerships, innovative business models, and equity of service delivery;
Identify project-specific challenges and provide technical assistance to improve outcomes of MOD Sandbox projects;
Build a shared knowledge base and accelerate learning on issues that affect the implementation of MOD projects;
Develop resources for use by the wider MOD field.
SUMC will make use of its Shared Mobility Toolkit, which includes a shared mobility policy database, benefits calculator, and mapping and opportunity analysis tool, to help guide MOD Sandbox participants. To support the project SUMC will also draw on the experience of its staff in designing, implementing, and researching shared mobility systems. SUMC’s current projects include working with the City of Los Angeles, California, to pilot electric vehicle carsharing in disadvantaged communities, managing a two-year pilot to study peer-to-peer carsharing in Chicago, Illinois, and conducting a study for the Transportation Research Board (TRB) on the impacts of UberPool, tech buses, and other forms of private transit.
“FTA’s Mobility On Demand efforts, including the Sandbox demonstrations, are helping communities push the envelope on ways to provide vital transportation options and explore new innovations in paratransit, fare integration, first/last-mile solutions and more,” said SUMC’s executive director, Sharon Feigon. “We look forward to working with FTA and communities around the country to make these projects successful, and to help expand the many benefits of shared mobility for all.”