Improving Car-sharing and Transit Service with ITS
Frank Douma, Director, SLPP, Humphrey School of Public Affairs
In partnership with the Minnesota Department of Transportation and the University of Minnesota's Center for Transportation Studies, the State and Local Policy Program (SLPP) at the University of Minnesota's Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs has performed a wide range of previous research regarding development of transportation policies enabled by intelligent transportation systems (ITS). Most recently, that research examined how ITS can serve Minnesota's increasingly diverse population and the increasingly diverse types of trips they take. Findings showed that car sharing and advanced traveler information services (ATIS) were two ITS applications that could offer significant benefits. The focus of this project was twofold: 1) to understand if and how being a member of a car-sharing program affected travel behavior and auto ownership of its members, particularly for students at the University of Minnesota; and 2) to empirically investigate how citizen use of an e-government Web site (e.g., transit planning site) affected citizen/user trust and confidence in the related government service (e.g., the public transit system) and the public service agency (transit authority). Representatives from ZipCar, HourCar, and Metro Transit agreed to serve on a technical advisory panel, which helped to inform and guide the research process. The results of this research aided in developing policies for a diverse population with increasingly diverse transportation needs. The data revealed that: 1) each HourCar removes 2.5 other vehicles; 2) HourCar members demonstrate an interest in deciding whether a car is their most efficient option for their trip; 3) HourCar respondents were not significantly different from the control group in terms of household size, income, age, or housing type; and 4) most members indicated convenience and financial considerations were key to joining. For the second component, a survey and focus group indicated connections between online use of a transit planning site and perceptions about the agency. Notably, a strong positive view of the trip planner was associated with trust in the agency to perform the service.