Adeel Lari, Researcher, Humphrey School of Public Affairs
Public transit services are vital for the mobility and connectivity of communities. Rural public transit services connect users to health care, education, employment, and social and recreational activities. However, rural communities are limited in their mobility due to high costs and limited availability of affordable and reliable transportation options. Shared mobility is an innovative strategy to meet the demand for public transit in rural areas, in addition to the provision of traditional public transportation that brings social and environmental benefits. The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) is exploring how public transit funding may be used to fund shared mobility services as an extension of existing public transit services in small urban and rural areas in Minnesota. This study identified funding available for this purpose, and the limitations in the federal and state regulations for the use of such funding sources. In addition, researchers explored how transit agencies across the US have funded similar projects and identified opportunities for improvements in Minnesota.