Evaluation of the Paratransit On-Demand Pilot Serving Pinellas County in Florida Showed that the Average Number of Trips per Individual Increased by 57 Percent Over the First Six Months.

On-Demand Service for Travelers with Disabilities Improves by Integrating Services from Shared Ride and Traditional Paratransit Companies in Florida.

Date Posted
10/30/2023
Identifier
2023-B01801
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Mobility on Demand (MOD) Sandbox Demonstration: Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) Public-Private-Partnership for Paratransit, Evaluation Report

Summary Information

This study presented the results of an independent evaluation of the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) Public-Private-Partnership for Paratransit Demonstration project, part of the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Mobility on Demand (MOD) Sandbox program, over the June 2019-September 2020 evaluation period. In order to increase the cost-effectiveness and efficiency of paratransit services while improving customer mobility and accessibility throughout Pinellas County, Florida, this paratransit demonstration project developed an integrated platform that provided on-demand curb-to-curb paratransit service through partnerships with shared ride companies, shared ride for users with disabilities, and a software suit enabling demand responsive ride requests through apps. 

METHODOLOGY

The evaluation of the PSTA Public-Private-Partnership for Paratransit project assessed its effect on user wait times, travel times, accessibility, and mobility and its impact on system operating cost and payment methods. The evaluation was informed by 13 hypotheses analyzed using activity data collected during the evaluation period, expert (stakeholder/project partner) interview data, as well as ‘before’ and ‘after’ surveys by comparing the PSTA Public-Private-Partnership for on-demand Paratransit project (PSTA MOD) with the preceding PSTA Demand Response Transportation (DART) services. The ‘before’ survey included 86 participants while ‘after’ survey received 153 respondents.

FINDINGS

  • A 57 percent surge in individual trip activity (from 7 trips to 11 trips) was observed from June to December 2019 using the PSTA MOD system in Pinellas County. The median number of trips per individual increased by 100 percent over the duration of the pilot. 
  • Responses from the ‘after’ survey showed that the PSTA MOD system increased the mobility of 82 percent of 153 pilot participants. From 48 paired 'before' and 'after' responses, 100 percent who initially reported a low mobility rating perceived increased mobility using PSTA MOD. 
  • From June to December 2019, trip requests surged by 143 percent monthly. Moreover, 79 percent of 153 pilot participants in the ‘after’ survey reported increased trip numbers using the PSTA MOD system. 
  • Analysis of 30 individuals' responses showed 37 percent decreased wait times with PSTA MOD compared to scheduled PSTA DART service. Despite potential bias, surveys revealed that PSTA MOD on-demand service reduced wait times for 50 percent of 147 pilot participants.
  • Survey results showed that the PSTA MOD system significantly enhanced the perception of quality of life for 88 percent of 153 pilot participants.
  • Surveys indicated a nine percent reduction in average travel time with 81 users taking 22 minutes using PSTA DART and 143 taking 20 minutes using PSTA MOD. Additionally, 47 percent of 35 paired respondents noted an 8.7 percent drop in travel time from 23 to 21 minutes.
  • After-survey responses showed that 62 percent of 153 pilot participants traveled further using PSTA MOD, with a 10 percent increase in average trip distances during the pilot.
  • Survey results showed that the PSTA MOD system significantly improved the mobility and accessibility of 63 percent of 16 wheelchair users.
  • The ‘after’ survey results showed that the pilot implementation significantly increased participation in a variety of activities for 70 percent of 153 users.
  • Survey results showed that the PSTA MOD system increased the flexibility of departure times for 77 percent of 153 pilot participants.

Mobility on Demand (MOD) Sandbox Demonstration: Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) Public-Private-Partnership for Paratransit, Evaluation Report

Mobility on Demand (MOD) Sandbox Demonstration: Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority
(PSTA) Public-Private-Partnership for Paratransit, Evaluation Report
Source Publication Date
04/01/2022
Author
Martin, Elliot; Ziad Yassine; Adam Cohen; Susan Shaheen; and Les Brown
Publisher
Prepared by University of California, Berkeley and ICF for FTA
Results Type
Deployment Locations