An Independent Evaluation of a Public and Private Partnership to Improve First and Last Mile Transportation Services in California and Washington.
Mobility on Demand (MOD) Sandbox Demonstration: Los Angeles County and Puget Sound First and Last Mile Partnership with Via: Evaluation Report
This study presented the results of an independent evaluation of the First and Last Mile Partnership with an on-demand transportation network company (TNC), which was part of the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Mobility on Demand (MOD) Sandbox program implemented in Los Angeles (LA), CA and Puget Sound (PS) Region in Seattle, WA. Users of this demonstration program, which started in January 2019 for the LA area and in April 2019 for the PS area, were able to request subsidized TNC rides to or from the participating transit stations within specified zones and times of the day.
For this study, three zones were selected in the LA region, and five zones were selected in the PS region. The evaluation of this MOD Sandbox project included 13 hypotheses that explored a number of potential impacts from the project, including mobility, accessibility, public transit ridership, fuel consumption, safety, costs, and lessons learned. Interviews were conducted with representatives of LA Metro, WA Sound Transit, WA King County Metro, and the TNC to obtain findings related to lessons learned for potential transit operators in a position to partner with a Rideshare program.
- Include a Mix of Metrics to Measure the Performance of the Rideshare to Transit Program. The experience from the LA deployment in this study revealed that ridership is a critical indicator but not the only measure of success. It is essential to consider both quantitative and qualitative metrics, including but not limited to new ridership to transit, customer experience enhancements, passenger miles traveled /vehicle miles traveled ratios, accident rates, safety perception of customers, equity (e.g., user demographics compared to the general population), cost-efficiency when compared to fixed-route service, and accessibility wait times for individuals with disabilities.
- Allow Ample Time for Proper Integration of Rideshare Program with the Existing Transit System. This is especially important for the transit system operators to facilitate understanding of both technical and contractual complexities and fare integration within the demonstration timeline.
- Establish a data-sharing agreement at an earlier planning stage. In this project, one TNC partner's reluctance to sign a non-disclosure agreement and enter into a mutually-agreeable data-sharing agreement caused delay. To prevent such issues, public agencies executed a terms agreement with the new TNC vendor, outlining data categories to be shared, before developing a scope of work and contract. This step allowed for the development of a more detailed and flexible data sharing agreement between the parties and helped to overcome challenges as part of this two-site demonstration program. As a results, a 5-year license to access trip level data and the origin where a ride was requested (not where a ride was picked up) and drop-off location was provided by the vendor.
- Allow for a Flexible Contract that can be adjusted to meet changing needs. LA Metro and King County Metro both emphasized the need for flexibility, which enabled them to adjust their zones and fares and make changes in response to the pandemic with minimal delay.