FTA Mobility on Demand Sandbox Program Demonstrated a Transit Access Program in Washington to Assess Mobility and Accessibility Benefits.
Mobility on Demand (MOD) Sandbox Demonstration: Pierce Transit Limited Access Connections, Evaluation Report
As a part of the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Mobility on Demand (MOD) Sandbox program, this project evaluated the Pierce Transit Limited Access Connections (LAC) Demonstration, which implemented a first/last-mile (FMLM) system in partnership with Sound Transit and a Transportation Network Company. The program provided 10,825 trips to 330 users to access rail stations and other destinations in the Tacoma, Washington metropolitan region from May 2018 to December 2019, offering guaranteed rides home after transit hours and free rides up to $30 per trip. The evaluation explored 17 hypotheses on the project's potential impacts, including mobility, accessibility, public transit ridership, vehicle miles traveled, safety, costs, and lessons learned. The independent evaluation (IE) was sponsored by the USDOT Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office (ITS JPO) and FTA.
For the evaluation of different hypotheses, a variety of methodologies were considered including survey analysis, activity data analysis, and time series analysis.
For the survey analysis methodology, a retrospective survey was launched with users of the system, involving questions about impacts of the LAC system on travel behavior. The survey captured 18 respondents, which was a small sample but represented about a 5 percent response rate.
- The project increased transit use among users and reduced net VMT, with 50 percent of survey respondents reporting a decrease in travel time and 28 percent reporting an increase; however, it did not result in increased transit ridership overall. As reported by the sample, the system's estimated net VMT was found to be lower than the estimated VMT reduction resulting from personal vehicle shedding and suppression.
- The LAC program reduced wait times for users, as reported by 48 percent of survey respondents
- The project provided service to a local college, improving the perception of transit service quality and enabled greater mobility and accessibility (as reported by 76 percent and 71 percent of the survey respondents, respectively) through a guaranteed ride home.
- Two-thirds of the survey respondents who drove alone reported that they were doing so less often because of the offered rides.
- The most utilized mode, public bus, saw 78 percent of its users ride it more (44 percent much more often) due to the LAC program.
- While the survey results and parking lot data suggest a possible connection between the LAC program and reduced parking lot usage and less used park-and-ride lots, the overall impact may have been limited.
- The analysis results also showed that the provision of the LAC project was more cost effective (up to 54 percent less costly, comparing $143.52 and $65.73 per vehicle hour costs) than fixed route services that were established to achieve the same objective as LAC program.