- Six public transportation agencies have been chosen to receive free technical assistance from the Shared-Use Mobility Center (SUMC) to develop on-demand mobility projects through its Mobility On-Demand (MOD) On-Ramp program.
- The chosen agencies are: Capital Metro (Austin, TX); Maryland Department of Transportation; IndyGO (Indianapolis); Tompkins County Social Services (Ithaca region, NY); The Memphis Area Transit Authority (Memphis, TN); and San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART).
- "Shared mobility partnerships can test out new technologies and creative ideas that have the potential to improve customers’ rides and increase efficiencies for agencies," SUMC executive director Sharon Feigon said in a statement. "New pilots are one of the best ways to develop new service models."
The On-Ramp program presents an intriguing partnership for transit agencies, especially as it involves assistance from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). And the six projects chosen from a pool of 28 proposals are varied, including the likes of autonomous vehicle (AV) and electric vehicle (EV) research, microtransit and mobility hubs. In a statement, Vincent Valdes, associate administrator of the FTA’s Office of Research, Demonstration and Innovation, praised the "level of interest" in the program and "the variety of ideas" presented.
The six finalists will be involved in a year-long process that will include community workshops, sharing best practices and ideas, mentoring and making use of research from SUMC and other experts in the field. Community engagement will be key on the agencies’ projects, while sharing best practices across jurisdictional boundaries is a hallmark of similar collaborations around transit and smart cities, including in Georgia and Colorado.
Transit agencies across the country continue to wrestle with how to integrate new technologies, with Detroit just one city that looks to pilot collaborations between its city government and private companies to try and solve mobility gaps. One already underway is a partnership between the Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT) and Lyft to provide a $7 Lyft credit to riders who use certain bus stops between midnight and 5 a.m., with a view to complementing the fixed-route service.