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5 chapter one Introduction Overview back to the 1970s. Although 26 documents were reviewed, few explicitly focused on the integration of ridesharing and Ridesharing as a Complement to Transit is a state-of-the- transit. The existing research primarily includes case studies practice synthesis of public transit agencies that either oper- of specific programs run by transit agencies. Roughly half of ate, or coordinate with others in the provision of, ridesharing the articles reviewed are about vanpool programs. services. Information was also gathered from a number of non- transit entities, such as councils of government (COGs), metro- politan planning organizations (MPOs), a department of trans- Survey portation (DOT), and a transportation management association (TMA), all of which are involved in ridesharing services. A web-based survey was used to gather data about ridesharing as a complement to transit. The survey was pre-tested by The purpose of the synthesis is to aid public transit agencies the technical panel overseeing the study, after which minor and other entities in deciding how to enhance coordination modifications were made. A single version of the survey was between public transit and ridesharing. Both ridesharing and sent to a total of 49 agencies, of which 37 were transit public transit have environmental benefits, such as reducing agencies and 12 were non-transit agencies. These agencies energy consumption and emissions--benefits that could be were chosen because of their known involvement with ride- emphasized to reduce travel by the single-occupant automobile. sharing and public transit, based on information gleaned from Ridesharing is also an economical method of extending service the literature review and contacts of the panelists and consul- tants. Each potential respondent was contacted by phone to into low-density areas not well suited for fixed-route public encourage a high response rate. The response rate overall transit service. However, despite these benefits, the synthesis was 83.7%. found that the number of public transit agencies involved in ridesharing is limited. Further, the perception remains that Survey respondents were asked to identify themselves as ridesharing takes passengers away from transit, according to a either public transit agencies or non-transit agencies. Respon- web-based survey of 41 agencies. Nonetheless, the synthesis dents from four known public transit agencies checked that uncovered examples of exemplary practices by public agen- they were non-transit agencies. One non-transit agency rep- cies illustrating how to better integrate ridesharing and public resentative checked the box for a transit agency. These dis- transit. It also includes recommendations for future studies crepancies may be attributed to the wording of the sentence, to address perceptions and obstacles that persist in hindering "Are you a transit system operator?" Also, the non-transit the use of ridesharing as a complement to public transit. representative is a contractor for a transit agency. The known transit agency respondents may have been in a ridesharing division, where they did not consider themselves transit Methodology operators. However, it's notable that they did not consider Data for this synthesis was collected in three ways, through themselves aligned with transit, even though they worked in a a review of relevant literature; by means of an original web- department of the public transit agency. Nonetheless, in analyz- based survey; and through interviews with survey respondents ing the survey, the results are reported true to the way those five or others identified in the literature search, which were used respondents identified themselves. Therefore, the responses to create short agency profiles. reflect 28 public transit agencies and 13 non-transit agencies. Survey questions were based on topics developed by the Literature Review technical panel appointed for this project: The sources for this literature review were identified through How does ridesharing integrate or interface with the a search of the Transportation Research Information Services transit system? (TRIS) database, online resources, and references in publica- What was/is the reason(s) for including ridesharing in tions. The majority of the literature was published after 1998. the mix of transit options? For example, regulations, gaps However, some documents, particularly those relating to the in services, market demand, environmental concerns, economics of using ridesharing in a public transit setting, date policy issues, financial incentives, etc.