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Transit Technology and Innovation

Transit Tech Innovation

Overview

Statewide Integrated Mobility Initiative

DRPT’s Statewide Integrated Mobility Initiative assists the department and its partners in navigating the rapidly changing shared mobility landscape. This initiative developed recommendations rooted in stakeholder input from DRPT’s staff, transit agencies, and research.

New and alternative transportation services — often involving shared use of a vehicle or other mode and enabled by technology — continue to evolve and enter the market, providing people with greater convenience in requesting, tracking, and paying for trips. Examples of these services include on-demand ride services (transportation network companies [TNCs] such as Uber and Lyft), microtransit, technology-enabled shuttle services, carsharing, bikesharing, and scooters.

Virginia Rural Microtransit Deployment Initiative

DRPT collaborated with Bay Transit, Mountain Empire Older Citizens, and Via Transportation on the Virginia Rural Microtransit Deployment Initiative, a demonstration project that is testing the feasibility of microtransit and a service delivery model for rural on-demand transit service. This project is funded in part through the FTA Integrated Mobility Innovation Grant and the Commonwealth’s Innovation Technology Transportation Fund. Microtransit technology allows customers to book trips on demand or in advance via an app or call in number. The technology allows efficient real-time routing, trip sharing, mobile payment, and flexible scheduling within a defined service zone. The demonstration projects, Bay Transit Express and METGO, went live on June 28, 2021, and will run for a total of 18 months. A report on these microtransit services will be compiled at the end of the project. 


Albemarle County Transit Expansion

Based on the Albemarle County Transit Expansion Study developed by the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission, Albemarle County and Charlottesville Area Transit (CAT) will implement microtransit services in the Route 29 North and Pantops service area as part of a 12-month demonstration project. The microtransit services would remove an estimated total of 100 single-occupancy vehicle trips per day between the two service areas. CAT will be the transit operator for the microtransit services, procuring four 20-passenger transit vehicles and using current transit operators to implement the microtransit pilot.

Hampton Roads Transit Regional Microtransit Demonstration Project

This project will plan, deploy, comparatively evaluate performance, and share lessons learned for on-demand microtransit services in two unique use cases for microtransit services over a six-month period. The new service will provide shared rides in small vehicles for short-distance trips and allow the Hampton Roads region to determine if microtransit is a feasible alternative and complement to existing fixed-route transit. The project will also help explore new markets for transit and enhance organizational capacities. HRT has selected Via as the microtransit operator and will include two service zones in the Cities of Newport News and Virginia Beach.


Process

The Statewide Integrated Mobility Initiative Goals

  • Identify what is happening in Virginia, the U.S., and around the world in terms of integrating shared mobility and transit and utilizing transit technology to assess operations and tailor service in evolving mobility landscapes.
  • Identify the positive and negative impacts of shared mobility on the transit industry in Virginia.
  • Document current and planned technology deployments of Virginia transit agencies, including planned partnerships or pilots involving shared mobility providers.
  • Develop recommendations for DRPT and its partner agencies for what needs to be done in light of the changing mobility industry — for example, roles, investment needs, and projects.
  • Use stakeholder input from DRPT’s staff, its partner agencies, and research on the state of play in Virginia and state of the practice nationally and internationally to craft recommendations.

 

Virginia Rural Microtransit Deployment Initiative Goals

  • Develop an understanding of how microtransit solutions can be scaled and deployed effectively to meet mobility needs of rural and underserved communities in Virginia
  • Focus on Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) technologies within existing framework of transit services

 

Albemarle County Transit Expansion Goals

  • Identify opportunities to expand service using microtransit. Focus on key populations and key areas.
  • Monitor data to determine ridership patterns and adjust transit offerings accordingly.

 

Hampton Roads Transit Regional Microtransit Demonstration Project Goals

  • Determine if microtransit can be used to improve mobility for communities and increase ridership in a changing transportation marketplace.
  • Implement microtransit services for six months, use both small and medium size vehicles, create a reservation and fare collection system, offer a customer comment/complaint center, record and evaluate data, and determine the effectiveness of microtransit at the conclusion of the six month trial.


Additional Resource

Final Report