Evaluation of Dallas Area's On-Demand Microtransit Shuttle Service Mobile App Revealed a 33 Percent Increase in 'Excellent' or 'Good' Ratings for Transit Accessibility Among Passengers with Disabilities.

User Interviews and Data Analysis Highlight the Pilot Launch of the On-Demand Shuttle Service in Plano, Texas to Aid Dallas Area Rapid Transit Travelers, Led to Accessibility, Productivity and Mobility Benefits.

Date Posted
10/30/2023
Identifier
2023-B01800
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Mobility on Demand (MOD) Sandbox Demonstration: Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) First and Last Mile Solution Evaluation Report

Summary Information

The Federal Transit Administration's (FTA) Mobility on Demand (MOD) Sandbox Demonstration Program offers a real-world platform for integrated MOD strategies with local partnerships. This study evaluated one such project, the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) First and Last Mile (FMLM) Solution. DART enhanced its GoPass app in October 2017 to merge public and third-party mobility services, introducing the GoLink microtransit shuttle. GoLink service officially launched in March 2018, providing service between 5:00 am–8:00 pm Monday through Friday, in Legacy West and North Central Plano zones, Texas (with Far North Plano zone service launching in August 2018). This study assessed GoLink's influence on travel behavior, user feedback, first and last mile accessibility to public transit, service quality for disabled passengers, and costs through April 2019. In the study's final two months, a rideshare feature was added to the GoPass app, spanning six DART zones, including three in Plano. This study also scrutinized the rideshare service, but only in Plano's zones. 

METHODOLOGY

The evaluation, structured around 12 hypotheses, analyzed data from two surveys, GoLink shuttle activity, and agency data encompassing vehicle activity, costs, and transit coverage. Additionally, in August 2019, DART representatives were interviewed for expert insights. The two surveys conducted in February and April 2019 got 255 and 196 responses, respectively. The activity data of GoLink shuttle movements contained 58,226 trips.

FINDINGS

  • Before GoLink, 57 percent of passengerswith disabilities rated their access to DART stations as “excellent” or “good”.After upgrades to the GoLink service, this rating increased to 90 percent among passengers with disabilities, indicating an approximately 33 percentage point increase.
  • From the April 2019 survey, 45 percent of respondents used another DART mode after GoLink. Before GoLink, many would've driven (25 percent), used rideshares (20 percent), or not traveled (11 percent). Thus, 56 percent might've bypassed DART without GoLink.
  • The standard GoLink shuttle was a wheelchair-accessible vehicle (WAV). Of all GoLink WAV trips, 13 percent weren't serviceable by fixed-route transit. Of those linking to other transit facilities, 63 percent weren't feasible with current fixed routes.
  • The February 2019 survey, consistent with April 2019's, showed 22 percent of participants would've driven without GoLink and 20 percent would've used a taxi or rideshare. This implies 42 percent of respondents opted for GoLink over personal vehicles, reinforcing the idea that GoLink provided an alternative to private car travel.
  • More than 75 percent of respondents rated their experience with the app as “excellent” or “good” across trip planning, scheduling, and fare payment.
  • Before March 2017, DART transit covered 44 percent of Plano. By May 2019, after GoLink's introduction, coverage expanded to 82 percent, an 85 percent point growth.
  • DART substituted a West Legacy bus service, costing $33.71 subsidy per rider, with GoLink requiring only $16.37. This indicates GoLink's operational costs were 51 percent lower in a similar low-density environment. 
  • The wait times provided by GoLink were considered an improvement over the non-GoLink service option for WAV trips. Dat analysis showed that GoLink's average monthly wait times for WAV trips ranged between 13 and 23 minutes, while DART's non-GoLink service for WAV trips requiring an hour's prior scheduling.
  • In total, 88 percent of respondents said they would recommend the GoLink service to a family member or friend, and 73 percent said they would recommend the rideshare option.

Mobility on Demand (MOD) Sandbox Demonstration: Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) First and Last Mile Solution Evaluation Report

Mobility on Demand (MOD) Sandbox Demonstration: Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART)
First and Last Mile Solution Evaluation Report
Source Publication Date
06/01/2021
Author
Martin, Elliot; Adam Stocker; Adam Cohen; Susan Shaheen; and Les Brown
Publisher
Prepared by University of California, Berkeley for FTA
Results Type
Deployment Locations