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The Mobility Hub
Your weekly guide to the latest in shared mobility

SUMC News and Announcements

New Research on COVID-19, Transit, and Payment

A group of researchers from Cleveland State University (CSU) led by Maxine Goodman Levin in collaboration with the NEORide consortium of transit agencies and Ohio’s Stark Area Regional Transit Authority (SARTA) have released a far-reaching study: “Covid-19 and its effect on trip mode and destination decisions of transit riders: Experience from Ohio.” 

The study is the first that leverages a partnership created for a Federal Transit Administration Integrated Mobility Innovation (IMI) grant to analyze the changes wrought on ridership by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Said Katherine Conrad, Director, NEORide, “The NEORide/EZfare partnership with Cleveland State University has brought to the forefront a unique opportunity to receive insights from passengers across the EZfare system on mobile ticketing and needs of the broader community.”

The study found that: 
  • Transit riders who were female, married, parents, and higher-income saw the largest decreases in trips 
  • Shopping and work trips dropped the least (11–19%) while social visits and worship trips were reduced the most (49–61%)
  • Bus, personal car use, and paratransit dropped the least while walking, and rideshare dropped the most
  • Those unbanked and employed (including while working from home) saw stable or increased trips
Researchers were also able to gather in-depth information on changes in travel patterns and fears related to public transit and COVID—opening the door to targeted outreach about the benefits of mobile ticketing. Download a copy of the study here.

The IMI grant funds the development of “an innovative alternative payment system for mobility, business and personal applications targeted to low-income, disadvantaged, disabled, student, elderly and other underserved populations.” The Shared-Use Mobility Center serves in a technical assistance capacity for this grant, as well as the Advancing Innovative Mobility (AIM) grant from the FTA. 

Mobility Justice

 
Highways have dissected and reshaped predominantly Black neighborhoods across the U.S. While we can’t see what these neighborhoods were like, this interactive map shows the destruction process in the Rondo neighborhood in St. Paul, Minnesota, the Tremé neighborhood in New Orleans, Louisiana, the Overtown neighborhood in Miami and in Houston—and solutions to reconnect the communities.

Green infrastructure can help our air pollution problem and the health issues that accompany it. However, with environmental racism ensuring that marginalized populations interact with more air pollution and less green infrastructure, urban parks are not enough. It's time to mitigate the pollution at the source by dismantling the unjust systems in place.

Inequitable access to public transit is a health issue (unless providing access to health services and employment, improving air quality, increasing physical activity, and improving mental health doesn’t count?) Health Affairs explains.

Ridehailing/Carsharing/Carpooling


The 70s are making a comeback with a twist. The classic VW bus will now be electric with three new styles: passenger style for families, a cargo version, and a specific ridehailing layout with 2 rows of seating behind the driver that face each other.

To attract more drivers in the wake of ongoing price hikes, and possibly add to the benefits the independent contractors receive, Uber has partnered with Rosetta Stone to give workers free English classes and is looking at other career-building incentives.

“There are only so many folks among us who can purchase a new EV, or even a used EV. [Good2Go] is a way for states to advance climate goals without leaving disadvantaged communities behind.”* Read about Good2Go, a new nonprofit electric carsharing service in Boston, MA for lower-income households.

*The quote is from Creighton Randall, the CEO of Mobility Development (which is helping Good2Go get started) and the former Program and Development Director of SUMC.

Bikesharing & Micromobility


Biking isn’t just a mobility issue—it’s a public health issue. Bikeshare saves the US healthcare system $36 million every year, a number which could be far greater if the full life-saving potential wasn’t limited by our car-dominated world.

A University of Maryland professor and his students are working on self-driving scooters that “reposition themselves in convenient locations”, saving time spent getting to scooters for typically short scooter trips, and they’ve built two prototypes with shared micromobility operator Veo.

Have you been eyeing bikeshare, not quite ready to try it? Now is your chance with Metro's Capital Bikeshare offering 10 free bike rides when you pay your Metro fare virtually, but only through December.

The pandemic is making people rethink the 15-minute city, so Move Buddha looked at the 78 largest metropolitan areas in America to determine which would work best. While Miami scored highest for biking and walking scores, it and all the top locations were the smallest and least affordable, raising the question: who is the 15-minute city for?

Transit

 
Streetcar fans rejoice! The El Paso streetcar has been revived, running Thursday through Saturday from 4 PM. until midnight—all for free.

After a year-long pandemic delay, residents of Dryden, NY can be picked up by Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit’s Tconnect, a new on-demand, app-based, rural microtransit service, in 30 minutes or less. (The project was both a SUMC MOD On-Ramp and an IMI project.) Not bad!

Bus rapid transit is about to makeover city bus lines with funding from the FTA to “supercharge” it using technology, road redesigns, and route changes. Although there is debate about the effectiveness of BRTs in increasing shared mobility, they have proven to be 25% faster than normal buses and promote job and residential growth.

Technology


Dana Inc. and Switch Mobility are partnering to bring more EVs into the world, with Dana supplying drivetrain components for electric buses and EVs and Switch Mobility taking care of the electric vehicles themselves.

The next stop on the fight to slow climate change: making long-haul diesel trucks emission-free. To meet this goal, Germany is looking beyond the battery and testing actual electrified highways with cables above the trucks to keep a charge (think streetcars), eliminating the need for fuel and electric charging stations

Sustainability


National Geographic explores a forward-looking, two-century old infrastructure idea (completely car-free) that can help combat climate change and structural racism: Urban Greenways. Get inspired.

While it was a fight getting here, and acknowledgment of climate change and systemic inequity an achievement in itself, the infrastructure bill is not a win for the US or the planet.

In happier news, research shows that people who live in larger cities have lower rates of depression as they tend to have larger social networks and more social interaction. Just think how much better we could feel with less traffic, cooler temperatures, an equal society, and more greenery?

Project Funding Opportunities


NEORide Request for Proposal: Mobility as a Service Provider
NEORide
Wadsworth, OH
Deadline: August 8, 2021

RFP: Creative, Digital Marketer to Transform Community Transportation
ITNAmerica (also an IMI grantee)
Westbrook, ME
Email marketing@itnamerica.org
Deadline: August 23

Request for Proposals: Mobility as a Service Phase I
Chattanooga Area Regional Transportation Authority (CARTA)
Chattanooga, TN
Deadline: August 13, 2021
Mailed by request. Contact AnniePowell@gocarta.org  

RFI: Next Generation Paratransit System
The Delaware Transit Corporation (DTC)
September 10, 2021.
Email christyn.small@delaware.gov for the RFI package
Have breaking news or an interesting deep dive to share?
Let us know.






 
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