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33 chapter seven Conclusions Ridesharing can help public transit agencies fill many types of Market demand from customers was the second most service gaps. For example, these gaps may be caused by a lack common answer given in response to the question, "Why it of funding to institute fixed-route services, a service area that is important for transit and ridesharing to work together?" is too large or too sparsely populated or existing services that This indicates that many agencies view their role as mobility are over capacity. This rationale for linking transit and ride- managers--that is, they aim to provide a full range of travel sharing is a key finding of the review done for this synthesis. alternatives to their customers. This linkage is not universally embraced, however, as more than 40% of respondents indicated that their agency does not consider ridesharing important to its mission. Technology The synthesis looked at how transit and ridesharing can Technology supports the integration of ridesharing and tran- be leveraged together for mutual benefit. Only those agencies sit on agency websites. More than 70% of respondents have that had some type of ridesharing program were surveyed. a link to ride-matching on their website. About half indicated Forty-one agencies responded to the survey, yielding an 83.7% that their trip planner searches for both ride-matching and response rate: 28 reported that they were transit agencies and transit options in response to a given query. Fifteen respon- 13 reported that they were non-transit agencies. dents also promote ridesharing and transit on social media. Although the use of technology is growing as a means of Publications linking public transit and ridesharing were few promoting or integrating ridesharing, it is still evolving. in number. The probable cause is that a relatively modest For example, using social media for ride-matching is not number of transit agencies are actively involved in ridesharing common. However, some agencies report that they are in programs. Most documents found were about specific case the midst of developing these and other technological tools, studies on vanpool programs that filled some service gap. Using including phone applications and one-stop search engines. ridesharing to save public transit operating costs does appear No respondent reported a successful dynamic, or real-time, to be feasible, according to the literature. For example, the ridesharing program; however, there is substantial interest in Regional Transportation District in Denver tracks the cost of a such programs, which may coincide with the rise in the use of vanpool as well as an express bus, and in all 2009 cases reported, smartphones by customers. Nevertheless, 12 survey respon- vanpools had a lower subsidy per passenger. Similarly, casual dents indicated that they do not see dynamic ridesharing as carpooling could save the San Francisco Bay Area $30 million part of their mission. a year, according to one literature source. Despite these opera- tional benefits, the literature search found very little written on Challenges the economic benefits of ridesharing to transit agencies. According to survey respondents, ridesharing continues to be a point of contention within their agencies. They Reasons for Public Transit and Ridesharing to Work Together indicated that the primary challenge faced by agencies try- ing to integrate ridesharing as a complement to transit is that As with the findings in the literature review, the top reason ride sharing is considered competition for transit riders and all survey respondents indicated it is important for public resources. This survey response was chosen by 11 of 23 tran- transit and ridesharing to work together is to fill service area sit agencies and 5 of 12 non-transit agencies. Nearly as many gaps. In rural regions in particular, agencies use vanpools indicated that not everyone in their organizations considers to extend their reach into sparsely populated areas of their ridesharing important to the mission (ten transit agencies and service district. Research uncovered other reasons for work- four non-transit agencies). About a third of respondents noted ing together, including addressing "the last mile" between that customers do not easily accept ridesharing as a substitute a transit stop and the ultimate destination and providing a for full transit service. Other challenges mentioned in written back-up solution in emergencies and natural disasters. Only comments in the survey included competition for parking, three transit agencies said they substitute ridesharing for a off-peak work-shift hours, funding, and the perception of transit route as a cost-saving measure. competition by private-sector providers.