Inclusive Mobility on Demand - A Ride to Transit

A group of people waiting at a bus stop.

Latest updates

Icon of a group of peopleOur steering committee is identifying barriers and coming up with solutions for better accessing high capacity transit. 

Timeline

Fall 2020: Applied and received grant from Transit Planning 4 All to create on-demand ride to transit with support of community partners.

Spring 2021: Monthly steering committee meetings with individual participants and partner organizations begin

Summer 2021: Inclusive planning continues (defining the problem, brainstorming and prototyping solutions, developing an implementation plan)

Fall 2021-winter 2022: Pilot and evaluate on-demand mobility solution

About this project

Through March 2022, we will work with the community to plan and implement on-demand solutions that address existing mobility challenges for accessing high capacity transit like buses, Link light rail, and Seattle Streetcar. High capacity transit is often the most reliable and cost-effective way to get around, especially for people with disabilities and older adults. However, barriers to accessing transit do exist. It's part of our role to minimize or eliminate those barriers with our work.

Inclusive planning

For this project, we will be using Transit 4 All's Pathway to Inclusion Tool to guide our inclusive planning process and implement the resulting on-demand solutions. 

Image of the Pathway to Inclusion shows six levels on the pathway to inclusion from less inclusive, decreased trust, and less communication to more communication, increased trust, and more inclusive practices. Level 1: Programs developed for participants. Level 2: Inform participants about programs. Level 3: Consult participants about programs. Level 4: Active participants involvement in programs. Level 5: Participants share decision making. Level 6: Participants play lead roles.

We will be engaging with community members in a variety of ways including in-depth interviews, surveys, focus groups, and/or workshops. The goal is to increase communication and trust to create a more inclusive and transparent process that supports community-driven mobility on demand solutions. 

What is Mobility on Demand?

From the U.S. Department of Transportation: Mobility on demand is a multimodal, integrated, automated, accessible, connected, innovative, user-focused approach that leverages emerging mobility services, integrated transit networks and operations, real-time data, connected travelers, and cooperative intelligent transportation systems to allow for a more traveler-centric, transportation system-of systems approach. This provides improved mobility options to all travelers and users of the system in an efficient and safe manner.

Simply put: It is a innovative way to connect people with where they want to go, when they want to be there.

What we hope to achieve

  • An inclusively designed, mobility on demand solution.
  • A shared comprehensive understanding of mobility barriers to accessing high capacity transit by people with disabilities and seniors.
  • A participant-centered and compensated planning approach.
  • Collaboratively developed implementation plan and evaluation plan based on engagement conducted in the planning phase.
  • A vastly improved and more dignified experience for mobility stakeholders.

Funding

Icon of a hand giving moneyWe were awarded a grant from Transit Planning 4 All! Transit Planning 4 All supports communities across the country to design and implement transportation solutions in partnership with people with disabilities and older adults.  

Related projects and programs

Steering Committee Meetings Project Library

Kickoff Meeting: March 22, 2021

Individuals, individuals representing partner organizations, and project staff gathered for the first time to learn more about the Inclusive Planning for Mobility on Demand - A Ride to Transit project and get to know each other. The project team reviewed the purpose and goals and logistics for being on the steering committee including expectations and compensation.   


A portion of the meeting was spent on discussing the question, "what does a successful mobility on demand solution look like to you or those that you represent?" We heard that we should be willing to think big, have the solution be universally accessible, allow for changes in direction, and driver awareness and training to better serve people with disabilities. In the meeting chat, attendees added one word that captured what MOD looks like or feels like. Input included: flexible, simple, everyone, safe, ease of access, timely, dignified, equitable, humane, versatility.  The group also set an inclusion goal on the Pathway to Inclusion for the project as Level 5 to 6. 

March 2021: Kickoff Steering Committee Meeting PDF slides

Steering Committee Meeting: April 20, 2021

A smaller group of individuals, individuals representing partner organizations, and project staff gathered to discuss stakeholder analysis and engagement activities. 

The project team shared what we heard from the post-meeting online feedback form and what we heard from the kickoff meeting and provided space for additional feedback which included timing for when agendas are sent out.  

Steering committee members discussed, "who might benefit from this project?" This list included people who may have some barriers to accessing transit but can overall navigate the mass transit system, people who are looking for safer or more comfortable ways to get to mass transit, people who aren't familiar with the system, and people who aren't using transit now but might use transit later if barriers are reduced. 

Steering committee members also answered the question, "how do we not leave anyone behind?" Answers included talking with people who aren't active transit users but could be if they had better access, talk to people individually especially outside of the normal 9 AM-5 PM work hours, and we should come up with a solution where access and competence with technology isn't a barrier. 

There was also time to identify others who could be asked to participate on the Steering Committee and potential future engagement activities based on what information we need to know. We decided that hearing more about existing data and what we already know at the May meeting would be helpful to shape the conversation. Potential engagement activities included connecting with participants at senior centers, holding focus groups, or intercept surveys. 

April 2021: Steering Committee PDF slides

The Steering Committee members, project staff, and project advisors met to learn more about existing data and potential mobility on demand solutions.  

The Steering Committee heard about the King County Community Transportation Needs Assessmentand heard about some of the key mobility barriers. The project staff shared a study on technology barriers from the City of Seattle and Steering Committee members asked questions around how income might intersect as well as how do we separate access versus comfortability engaging and feeling competent with technology.  

The discussion on existing data was prompted by the question "what do we still need to know?"Steering committee members were interested in how race and ethnicity relate to transit use or barriers, how many services require a justification for the value of your trip and who isn't taking transit, how to remove stigma for taking transit, and how does lighting or other physical safety amenities act as barriers. Steering committee members also had questions about if we could tell geographically where the greatest need is and if any needs or fears have changed since the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The presentation on existing potential solutions included Via to Transit, Crossroads Connect, and Community Ride from King County Metro, and a Rideshare to Transit pilot from 2019. City staff also presented a project for centralizing dispatch for wheelchair-accessible for-hire vehicles. 

Project staff asked, "what elements of the solutions are compelling and what elements are concerning?"Steering committee members expressed interest in one call center for multiple solutions. Steering committee members were concerned about how comfortable people would be with sharing rides with others, if native speakers of languages other than English would be available to callers, and if cost could still be prohibitive with some of these services.