Emerging transportation technologies, such as ride-hailing and autonomous vehicles, are disrupting the transportation sector and transforming public transit. Some transit observers envision future public transit to be integrated transit systems with fixed-route services running along major corridors and on-demand ridesharing services covering lower-density areas. A switch from conventional fixed-route service model to this kind of integrated mobility-on-demand transit system, however, may elicit varied responses from local residents. This paper evaluates traveler preferences for a proposed integrated mobility-on-demand transit system versus the existing fixed-route system, with a particular focus on disadvantaged travelers. We conducted a survey in two low-resource communities in the United States, namely, Detroit and Ypsilanti, Michigan. A majority of survey respondents preferred a mobility-on-demand transit system over a fixed-route one. Based on ordered logic model outputs, we found a stronger preference for mobility-on-demand transit among males, college graduates, individuals who have never heard of or used ride-hailing before, and individuals who currently receive inferior transit services. By contrast, preferences varied little by age, income, race, or disability status. The most important benefit of a mobility-on-demand transit system perceived by the survey respondents is enhanced transit accessibility to different destinations, whereas their major concerns include the need to actively request rides, possible transit-fare increases, and potential technological failures. Addressing the concerns of female riders, and accommodating the needs to less technology-proficient individuals should be major priorities for transit agencies that are considering mobility-on-demand initiatives. (Author abstract)
Mobility-on-demand versus fixed-route transit systems: An evaluation of traveler preferences in low-income communities
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