September 26, 2019, 12:00PM (ET)

Opportunities for State DOTs (and others) to Encourage Shared-Use Mobility Practices in Rural Areas

Shared-use mobility (SUM) practices are transportation services that are shared among users. SUM can include ‘traditional SUM’ practices such as public transit, taxis, limousines, etc., or ‘technology enabled SUM’ (will be referred to as ‘SUM’ in this report) practices  such as ridesourcing, carsharing, bikesharing, micortransit services, etc., While SUM practices exist in all size communities, their presence is much prominent in urban communities compared to rural communities.

While there exist significant mobility gaps in rural transit/transportation services due to low population densities and long travel distances in rural areas, SUM practices have the potential to fill the mobility gaps by offering fast, on-demand, and reliable transportation options. Many innovative SUM initiatives are being piloted and implemented in rural communities in conjunction with already-existing rural transit/transportation services and with business models tailored for rural communities. This study investigated various categories of SUM services such as ridesourcing, carsharing, bikesharing, and microtransit service’s applicability in rural communities and determine the potential to supplement and/or compliment traditional rural transit/transportation services.

One of the output of the study is a five-task rural SUM toolkit for strategies such as ridesourcing, carsharing, bikesharing, microtransit, as well as rural mobility as a service (MaaS) platforms. The rural SUM toolkit can inform state DOTs, regional transportation agencies, rural transit agencies, local governments, human service agencies, and other state and local agencies about the various steps and tasks involved for strategically planning to pilot and implement relevant SUM strategies to meet the unique transportation needs in rural communities. This toolkit can be applicable for small urban communities as well.

Presenter: Ranjit Godavarthy, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, North Dakota State University

Ranjit headshotDr. Ranjit Godavarthy is Assistant Professor of Transportation at North Dakota State University. He is also an Associate Research Fellow at Small Urban and Rural Transit Center at North Dakota State University. Dr. Godavarthy works on various transportation engineering research projects in areas such as public transportation, shared-use mobility, vehicle automation, transportation safety, pedestrian studies, low volume road safety, roundabout studies, traffic control devices, and freight transportation.

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