Ensuring equitable access to different shared mobility options, including carshare, bikeshare, and e-scooter share, has increasingly become an important focal point for cities. Whether they are engaging in public-private partnerships, contracting for service, or permitting providers, they are building in new requirements designed to improve equity and accessibility. Some of these requirements include: low-income fares, service availability in multiple languages, ability to process cash payments, accessible devices for users with disabilities, wide geographic coverage, and co-locating vehicles at affordable housing developments and community centers, among others. In spite of efforts to address equity and improve access to new mobility services, studies show that these programs often have low usage rates among the targeted audiences. For instance, the Urban Institute found that even when Capital Bikeshare stations were placed in lower-income neighborhoods in Washington, D.C., they were barely used (Su and Wang 2019). And a study evaluating Portland’s e-scooter pilot program found that only 43 people enrolled in the low-income plan (Portland Bureau of Transportation 2018).
This project will answer the following four research questions: 1) what cities incorporate equity requirements into shared mobility agreements or partnerships and how are they monitored? 2) How can we systematically evaluate success of equity programs across modes and cities? 3) How effective are equity requirements at increasing shared mobility adoption among target populations? And 4) how do equity programs and program efficacy vary by mode? This research will build off of the “National Scan of Bike Share Equity Programs” study by McNeil et al. (2019) by broadening the scope to include carshare and e-scooter share programs. Project methods include a literature review, development of an evaluative framework, policy scan, program evaluation, and case study analyses of select shared mobility equity programs. Using project findings, the research team will develop guidelines that practitioners can use to enact strong equity programs to promote greater shared mobility adoption among groups often excluded in transportation planning.