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34 Opportunities has the largest public vanpool fleet in the nation. This leader- ship can be credited to legislation passed more than 30 years Several innovations by survey respondents present oppor- ago allowing the use of government vehicles for commuting. tunities to use ridesharing as a complement to transit. The In 1991, state law required major employers to establish following examples could be considered by agencies to expand measures to reduce employee commuter trips, but it also gave their market and provide a greater menu of transportation employers tax credits and excluded them from liability. options to the communities they serve. Current legislation funds a vanpool grant program. As a result of this legislative and financial support from the state of Solving the "Last Mile" Washington, 20 public transit agencies operate vanpool pro- grams across the state. How to address the "last mile" issue is an ongoing problem for public transit agencies trying to increase ridership. Potential By its nature, a synthesis has limitations, such as a small riders say they would take transit, but they do not have a way sample size and a self-reported survey bias. Despite these to get to or from their destination after they get off the bus or limitations, a synthesis can uncover items that are ripe for train, a problem dubbed "the last mile." Pace, which serves the more in-depth research. Based on information collected for suburbs of Chicago, and King County Metro in Seattle have this study, the following ideas for further study are presented. addressed the problem by using feeder vanpools--vanpools limited to ten miles between home or work and the transit stop. Obstacles to and Opportunities The life of a well-used vanpool vehicle can also be extended for Integration of Ridesharing by taking it off long-distance trips and limiting it to such short with Public Transit feeder trips. This study has taken place in an unsettled funding environment Maximizing Agency Revenue for public transit: the national economy is still weak, reauthori- zation of the federal surface transportation act has been stalled, The mileage that vanpools travel can generate funds for a major cuts to federal spending are being discussed, and states transit agency. FTA formula grants award funds for vehicle- across the country are facing deficits. Transit agencies' services miles traveled in areas with a population of at least 200,000. may be facing contraction instead of expansion. Des Moines Area Regional Transit Agency generates $3 million in federal grants, some of which is used to replace aging vans. · Identifying Obstacles: It converts the remainder to operating funds for its bus fleet. How widely this revenue strategy is used by others and the Ridesharing programs can be part of the answer for agen- extent of revenue produced would be useful information for cies that see mobility as their mission. However, this study transit agencies not yet employing this strategy. reveals that ridesharing is viewed skeptically by many in public transit agencies. Almost 46% of survey respondents indicated Creating Capacity Through Slugging/ that some in their agency consider ridesharing as competition Casual Carpools for transit riders and resources. Competition for parking des- ignated for transit riders is one obstacle identified in this Casual carpooling was not a common factor, with 27 of study. A belief that ridesharing may lure away transit riders 39 respondents reporting that there was none in their area. is another. Are these valid concerns and, if so, what strategies However, where slugging exists, there is an opportunity to are available to address them? Are there additional obsta- have it play a vital transportation role in heavy commute cles and how can they be addressed? In some cases, another corridors. An article referenced in the literature chapter sug- agency in the region provides the ridesharing program. How gests that casual carpooling, which arises spontaneously, can transit agencies coordinate more closely with these agen- should be encouraged if it can reduce demand on transit ser- cies to the benefit of both? vice in a specific corridor, thereby allowing transit service to be increased along other routes. The Potomac and Rappahan- · Examining Opportunities: nock Transportation Commission in Virginia supports casual carpooling because it takes thousands of people into the core After the obstacles have been identified, a toolkit could be employment areas around the District of Columbia, commuters developed with a step-by-step approach for using both van- that the agency could not accommodate owing to capacity pooling and carpooling as opportunities instead of obstacles for constraints. public transit. Building on case studies of successful practices and using cost comparison data, the toolkit could explore in Leading Through Legislation more detail the issues discussed previously: solving "the last mile," maximizing agency revenue, creating capacity through State leadership and legislation can be instrumental in elevating slugging/casual carpools, and leading through legislation. ridesharing as a travel mode and, thereby, encouraging public Other options that could be included in the toolkit could result transit to offer ridesharing programs. The state of Washington from a deeper examination of the economic benefits of linking