The National Academies

TCRP Synthesis J-07/Topic SB-35 [Active (Synthesis)]

Customer Education and Awareness of On-Demand Mobility
[ TCRP J-07 (Synthesis of Information Related to Transit Practices) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $45,000
Authorization to Begin Work: 5/7/2021 -- estimated
Staff Responsibility: Mariela Garcia-Colberg
Research Agency: Texas A&M Transportation Institute
Principal Investigator: Todd Hansen
Effective Date: 12/1/2021
Completion Date: 6/9/2023
Fiscal Year: 2021

Tentative Scope




Transit agencies engaging in pilots or continuing on-demand mobility services have frequently cited challenges in slow adoption of their new services. Reasons for slow adoption and low ridership can include customer unawareness about the service, unfamiliarity on how to use the new service compared to traditional transit, safety concerns about non-bus drivers (for services with transportation network companies or TNCs or microtransit services), or discomfort in using newer technologies. Slow adoption can lead to lower-than-estimated ridership and cause services to under-perform operationally and financially. Previous research on transit agency partnerships with TNCs or microtransit services shows that agencies should have a robust marketing and outreach campaign to make targeted ridership groups are aware of the service and understand how to use it (Feigon and Murphy, 2016).

Synthesis Objective:

Transit agencies need the ability to effectively market new on-demand services and provide tools to educate customers about how to use the service in order to facilitate greater awareness and service utilization. This synthesis will document current practices in how on-demand services with transit agencies are marketed to various rider groups, with a particular focus on outreach to persons with disabilities, older adults, and marginalized populations.

Information To Be Gathered will include specific items as determined by the panel during the first panel meeting. These might include (among others):

  • Examine the state of the industry in transit agencies with on-demand pilots or services engage in customer outreach and marketing
  • Learn how transit agencies may assess the effectiveness of outreach through metrics or other determining factors


How the Information Will Be Gathered:

This research would gather and synthesize information about current examples of community input, marketing, outreach, and customer education from on-demand services with transit agencies around the US through a literature review and targeted survey. The synthesis would look at case examples of transit agencies with innovative practices in outreach and inclusion for their new service, including examples from different geographic areas of the country and outside of the largest metropolitan areas.

Information Sources:

  • Tooley, Melissa; Zmud, Johanna; Ettelman, Benjamin; Moran, Maarit; Higgins, Laura; Shortz, Ashley; Wheeler, Eric. Older Drivers and Transportation Network Companies: Investigating Opportunities for Increased Safety and Improved Mobility. Safe-D National UTC. College Station, TX, 2019.
  • Westervelt, Marla; Huang, Emma; Schank, Joshua; Borgman, Nolan; Fuhrer, Tamar; Peppard, Colin; Narula-Woods, Rani. UpRouted: Exploring Microtransit in the Unites States. Eno Center for Transportation, Washington DC. 2018.
  • Feigon, Sharon; Murphy, Colin. TCRP 188: Shared Mobility and the Transformation of Public Transit. The National Academies Press, Washington DC. 2016.
  • National Center for Mobility Management. Considerations for TNC Partnerships: Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities. National Center for Mobility Management. Chicago, IL, 2018
  • Volinski, Joel. TCRP Synthesis 141: Microtransit or General Public Demand Response Transit Services: State of the Practice. The National Academies Press, Washington DC. 2019.

TRB Staff
Mariela Garcia-Colberg
Phone: 202-334-2361
Email: mgarciacolberg@nas.edu

Meeting Dates
First Panel: TBD
Teleconference with Consultant: TBD
Second Panel: TBD

Topic Panel 


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