Bike sharing, carsharing, carpooling, ridehailing and an extensive public transit system are some of the mobility options available to the residents of Metro Vancouver. However, despite many private shared mobility services on offer, each provider operates independently – meaning customers must interact with each service individually when trip planning. As Metro Vancouver’s transportation authority and public transit service provider, TransLink is continuously looking for solutions to improve regional mobility by partnering with other service providers to advance the Regional Transportation Goals.
At the beginning of 2019, TransLink announced the winners of the first Open Innovation Call focused on multimodal transportation. The winners were three private shared mobility operators Evo Car Share, Mobi by ShawGo, and Modo Co-operative with the objective to launch an integrated transportation pilot. TransLink enlisted movmi’s help to create a Shared Mobility Pilot in collaboration with the operators which was launched in October 2019 and ran until August 2020. The goal of the pilot was to test how efficient and well received, integrated and multimodal travel in the city would be. It’s purpose was also to better understand customer needs and how the program could influence mode choice for its users.
Keep reading for a summary analysis of the final TransLink Shared Mobility Pilot report.
Translink’s Shared Mobility Compass Card Pilot: The Report
shared mobility pilot: how it started
The initial market research for the Shared Mobility Pilot, completed in Spring 2019 used business and customer focused surveys to gain insights into people’s mobility preferences. Using this market research, the pilot focused on work-related travel.
From October 2019 to the end of August 2020, the program provided 161 employees from 13 employers across Metro Vancouver with access to public transit, carshare, and bikeshare with a unique card that could be used for work-related travel only. The program offered employers integrated billing and analytics showing mode choice and shift over time. A total of 6,000 trips were completed using the Shared Mobility Compass Card through the duration of the pilot.
“The Shared Mobility Pilot Program is ultimately about providing more choices and more convenience for customers. Those participating can take transit on their morning commute, cycle to meeting locations throughout the day, and unlock carshare services for the journey back home,” said TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond in a statement.
Throughout the Shared Mobility Pilot, TransLink collected trip data and evaluated things like behaviour, mode usage, mode shift, and the integration of different modes into single journeys.
75% of all users tried the services at least once. Out of those, 91% tried it and “came back for more”.
Almost 30% were considered heavy users with more than 36 trips throughout the pilot.
Approximately 6,000 trips were made using the Shared Mobility Compass Card, averaging one trip per user per week. Public transit saw the highest number of trips overall (59%) despite the declining public transit ridership amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 60% of survey respondents agreed that they replaced the use of a personal vehicle by transit, carshare or bike share during the Shared Mobility Pilot. 56% of respondents claimed they changed their work related travel behaviour by trying a new mode or combining different modes in the one journey.
During the pilot, users were surveyed at the beginning, middle, and end of the test period which allowed TransLink to get a better understanding of the pilot’s influence on the use of personal vehicles for work-related travel, users’ perception/loyalty, and the desired features that could be applied in future phases of the Shared Mobility Compass Card program.
Prior to the pandemic, more than 50% of all participants would recommend the Shared Mobility Compass Card to their colleagues. Unfortunately, COVID-19 significantly impacted these results. Due to social distancing measures and an uneasiness around safety when travelling, 84% of users started working full-time or part time from home due (see movmi’s Covid-19 Report: Insights From the First Wave.)
However by the end of the program (originally planned for May 2020 but extended to August 2020) 70% of respondents claimed they would make positive referrals to other colleagues – surpassing even the initial results collected at the beginning of the pilot.
82% of respondents provided top scores on the Shared Mobility Pilot overall and 95% claimed that they would join the program if there was a subsequent phase.
Shared Mobility Pilot SuccessES and Challenges
- The pilot program built a functional framework for collaboration and partnership amongst Vancouver’s transportation service providers.
- The program benefited from top-level commitment with all involved partners who facilitated technological investments and legal changes required to launch the program.
- The use case (work-related trips) and the user segment (Shared Mobility Pilot partners and 13 employers) allowed the stakeholder companies to create a tailored minimum viable product solution that successfully solved a very specific problem: expense reporting.
- Technology that help realise seamless mobility such as journey planning and trip booking were excluded.
- Due to the Winter months, the timing of the pilot was not ideal for bike sharing usage.
- Current operational procedures of the Shared Mobility Pilot Phase 1 are not scalable because many backend procedures are not automated.
- The impact of the pandemic on ridership and the scope of the pilot all impacted the final data collected.
Kevin Desmond’s annual 2020 address
What’s next? Although TransLink’s CEO Kevin Desmond has recently stepped down from his position at TransLink, in December he spoke of change and innovation during his 2020 address to the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade.
During his address he spoke of what the Vancouver region will look like in 30 years, “Providing access and choices, with more and better transit options”.
Desmond said the pandemic should not derail the long-term vision for mobility and sustainable development in Metro Vancouver. That includes existing plans for transit expansion projects and the 30-year vision that is in the works.
“We have to think beyond the pandemic about the community we want to call home,”