Sharing: friend or foe of public transit?

Much has been written about ride sharing and car sharing and their impacts on the use of public transit. Many in the public transit space consider these mobility services as competitors. However, these services are complementary to public transit. “Sharing” may actually result in an increase in public transit use. Why? As we increase the number of mobility options (including transit, walking, biking, ride sharing, car sharing, etc), we decrease the need for vehicle ownership. As vehicle ownership declines, the rest of these forms of mobility get to be used. The more integrated these forms are and the greater the access of information regarding options that users have, the greater the possibility that they will be used. Tomorrow’s mobility will certainly be different from that of today and transit has an opportunity to carve a relevant spot for itself. The question is will transit properties seize the opportunity and plan for remaining relevant?

As we move further towards fully driverless technology, the transit model requires rethinking. Are transit agencies avoiding the subject as a way to appease unions or are they being honest with stakeholders, inviting them into a constructive discussion to ensure transit survives into the driverless era where self-driving vehicles may become public property?

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