Well-designed Microtransit shows promise

Well-designed microtransit services can be a solution for cities to improve and re-energize transit.

Transdev North America CEO Yann Leriche recently published a white paper on the feasibility of microtransit, important learnings from pilots and the key criteria for success.

Read the Complete White Paper

Well-designed Microtransit shows promise

Well-designed microtransit services can be a solution for cities to improve and re-energize transit.

Transdev North America CEO Yann Leriche recently published a white paper on the feasibility of microtransit, important learnings from pilots and the key criteria for success.

Read the Complete White Paper

Two Main Types of Microtransit:

Microtransit for a mass audience

This option meets the daily mobility needs of large numbers of people through widely available, on-demand shared ride vans, like Volkswagen’s MOIA service in Hamburg, Germany. MOIA aims to provide enough shared vans across the city to replace a significant portion (10% to 20%) of private car trips — in order to greatly reduce traffic congestion.

Microtransit for social equity

This service type expands transit with on-demand shuttles to address coverage gaps or late night needs for customers in mobility deserts and lower density areas. For example, in Le Havre, France (population 172K) a popular microtransit service called Flexilia provides highly reliable on demand shuttle service from a transit hub to a large nearby office park, at 30% less cost than prior fixed route service.

Two Main Types of Microtransit:

Microtransit for a mass audience

This option meets the daily mobility needs of large numbers of people through widely available, on-demand shared ride vans, like Volkswagen’s MOIA service in Hamburg, Germany. MOIA aims to provide enough shared vans across the city to replace a significant portion (10% to 20%) of private car trips — in order to greatly reduce traffic congestion.

Microtransit for a social equity

This service type expands transit with on-demand shuttles to address coverage gaps or late night needs for customers in mobility deserts and lower density areas. For example, in Le Havre, France (population 172K) a popular microtransit service called Flexilia provides highly reliable on demand shuttle service from a transit hub to a large nearby office park, at 30% less cost than prior fixed route service.

Key Criteria for Microtransit Success

A successful microtransit solution must meet local mobility needs and be well-integrated into the transit system in ways that truly improve travel patterns and convenience for passengers.

Microtransit services need to have a strong value proposition in order to deliver high enough load factors and grouping rates (number of riders sharing the trip) to make the service financially sustainable compared to the costs of operating fixed route buses.

Key Criteria for Microtransit Success

A successful microtransit solution must meet local mobility needs and be well-integrated into the transit system in ways that truly improve travel patterns and convenience for passengers.

Microtransit services need to have a strong value proposition in order to deliver high enough load factors and grouping rates (number of riders sharing the trip) to make the service financially sustainable compared to the costs of operating fixed route buses.

Key criteria for Microtransit success include:

1.

Services that are genuinely needed and valued by riders in their daily mobility.

2.

Guaranteed pick-ups and drop-offs at transit hubs that are tightly coordinated with real-time transit arrivals and departures to ensure seamless connections and minimal waiting time.

3.

Service that is easy, seamless and hassle-free.

4.

Continual improvement of the service based on ridership usage data.

5.

Integration with transit ticketing system for easy booking and payment.

6.

High levels of optimization of drivers, grouping of passengers, and efficiency with miles traveled and time spent in the vehicle.

7.

Clear and easy-to-understand promotion of the service to encourage trust and adoption.

Key criteria for microtransit success include:

1.

Services that are genuinely needed and valued by riders in their daily mobility.

2.

Guaranteed pick-ups and drop-offs at transit hubs that are tightly coordinated with real-time transit arrivals and departures to ensure seamless connections and minimal waiting time.

3.

Service that is easy, seamless and hassle-free.

4.

Continual improvement of the service based on ridership usage data.

5.

Integration with transit ticketing system for easy booking and payment.

6.

High levels of optimization of drivers, grouping of passengers, and efficiency with miles traveled and time spent in the vehicle.

7.

Clear and easy-to-understand promotion of the service to encourage trust and adoption.

What We Believe

We believe microtransit services can thrive as part of the service mix for some transit agencies. They must:

Be well-designed

Be impeccably reliable

Serve genuine mobility needs

And meet the other
Key Criteria for Success

Key Learnings from Microtransit Pilots:

1.

“Real-time” service is not always expected by riders and reasonable “near real-time” has been fully accepted.

A. In France, microtransit riders readily accept they must book return trips from their office to the transit hub (via app or phone) at least 30 minutes in advance.

2.

Other reasonable constraints are also acceptable to riders, if well communicated:

A. Must take a short walk to a pick-up point

B. Service only in peak hours or only at night

3.

Advantages to transit agency of employing these constraints:

A. Helps optimize the grouping rate

B. Contributes to fewer miles traveled and less time spent in the vehicle

C. Improves the economic efficiency of the service

Microtransit has had mixed financial results to date,
yet our experience shows many examples where
well-designed microtransit provides good “value for
the money” for transit agencies and real passenger convenience.

These services are not designed to compete with Uber and Lyft, rather to extend coverage and serve transit riders in low density areas as efficiently as possible.

Microtransit has had mixed financial results to date, yet our experience shows many examples where well-designed microtransit provides good “value for the money” for transit agencies and real passenger convenience. These services are not designed to compete with Uber and Lyft, rather to extend coverage and serve transit riders in low density areas as efficiently as possible.

What Can Be Done

Transdev has multiple microtransit deployments around the world. Two good examples are Vitrolles (population 34K in southern France), and Le Havre (population 172K in Normandy, France) where microtransit services connect riders from a key transit hub to a nearby office park.

What Can Be Done

Transdev has multiple microtransit deployments around the world. Two good examples are Vitrolles (population 34K in southern France), and Le Havre (population 172K in Normandy, France) where microtransit services connect riders from a key transit hub to a nearby office park.

1.

In Vitrolles, Chronopro Uses Cityway Technology (Transdev’s Tech Subsidiary)

  • Ensures that 14 shuttles are always well-coordinated with real-time arrivals and departures of buses at transit hub
  • Guarantees passengers reliable connections and minimal wait time
  • Provides drivers an easy interface to efficiently manage pick-ups and drop-offs

2.

Impressive Results in Vitrolles over Past Two Years:

  • Chronopro microtransit is highly reliable
  • Ridership is 42% higher than previous 2 bus routes
  • Miles traveled have been reduced by 84% and average travel time by 48%
  • Why? Because the on-demand service is far more efficient than the previous bus service.

3.

In LeHavre, FlexiLia and LiadeNuit also use Cityway technology:

  • Port city with large industrial complex near harbor –stretches 12 miles
  • Transdev operates deviated bus service called FlexiLia

4.

Impressive Results in Le Havre over Past 18 Months:

  • Highly Popular services — loyal users
  • Ridership has doubled
  • 30% to 40% lower costs than the previous fixed route alternatives

1.

In Vitrolles, Chronopro Uses Cityway Technology (Transdev’s Tech Subsidiary)

  • Ensures that 14 shuttles are always well-coordinated with real-time arrivals and departures of buses at transit hub
  • Guarantees passengers reliable connections and minimal wait time
  • Provides drivers an easy interface to efficiently manage pick-ups and drop-offs

2.

Impressive Results in Vitrolles over Past Two Years:

  • Chronopro microtransit is highly reliable
  • Ridership is 42% higher than previous 2 bus routes
  • Miles traveled have been reduced by 84% and average travel time by 48%
  • Why? Because the on-demand service is far more efficient than the previous bus service.

3.

In LeHavre, FlexiLia and LiadeNuit also use Cityway technology:

  • Port city with large industrial complex near harbor –stretches 12 miles
  • Transdev operates deviated bus service called FlexiLia

4.

Impressive Results in Le Havre over Past 18 Months:

  • Highly Popular services — loyal users
  • Ridership has doubled
  • 30% to 40% lower costs than the previous fixed route alternatives

What Inspires Us

The following articles are informative and thought-provoking:

What is “Microtransit” For?

by Jarret Walker,
Humantransit.org

Bridj Is Dead, But Microtransit Isn’t

by Laura Bliss,
Citylab.com

Microtransit

Mobility Innovation Hub,
APTA.org

Microtransit / Flexible Transit

Compiled Resources,
learn.sharedusemobilitycenter.org

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