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7-1 7 Suggestions for Further Research Research is needed in several areas to increase the transit industryâs capacity for planning and managing TNC partnerships and for applying a matured understanding to an array of new mobility partnerships. ï§ Given the diversity of funding sources and uncertainty around the accounting of partnership outcomes, research is needed to develop a cost/benefit analysis framework for transit-TNC partnerships. Because TNC partnerships do not fall under more traditional transit agency budget or NTD categories, more guidance is needed to accurately account for returns on funds expended. Specific guidance on appropriate budget allocations and resulting returns on investment will help the transit industry develop a clearer understanding of why entering into partnerships might make sense, and if not, why not. ï§ Research is needed to define best practices for transit agency management of partnerships with TNCs and other mobility service providers, such as microtransit and scooters, to help transit agencies succeed. With the rapidly evolving landscape of shared mobility as more partnerships in varying contexts and with multiple customer types come into existence, this need is pressing. An update to the Partnership Playbookâthe result of this research projectâmay suffice or a new effort may be warranted as the number and variance of partnerships increase. ï§ Research is needed to inventory transit agency strategies employed to comply with ADA requirements in the context of TNC partnerships; to understand the effectiveness of each of those strategies at achieving equivalence standards; and to identify feasible approaches for increasing access to on-demand transportation for all customers of ADA paratransit. Building on this report, a survey of the industry would help governing bodies understand Title VI and ADA compliance issues and inform appropriate strategies for addressing the goals of the regulation. In the short term, transit agencies would benefit from more access to online training materials and other training opportunities that provide necessary guidance for planning wheelchair-accessible service. ï§ A multi-industry research effort to identify feasible data sharing mechanisms is needed. As highlighted in TRB Special Report 319, âBetween Public and Private Mobility: Examining the Rise of Technology-Enabled Transportation Services,â a centralized data clearinghouse could increase industry access to TNCsâ (and other private mobility service providersâ) trip data. This data could inform not only transit industry decision-making, but also land use, legal, and regulatory strategies. Though there are a few examples of tools that aggregate publically available data, few exist that account for data-in-aggregate with privacy concerns. Additionally, in cases in which
7-2 transit agencies and TNCs have a data-sharing agreement in place, research is needed to outline the feasibility of a third-party entity with audit capabilities to ascertain the legitimacy and soundness of data. ï§ Transit agencies considering partnerships with TNCs need further guidance on procurement and contracting standards based on the experience of transit agency pilot projects to date. Using existing available contracts which are public documents, develop a sample blank contract as guidance for new transit agencies entering these projects. This contract would serve as a template to advise transit agencies on typical parameters of negotiations with TNCs and the range of procurement and contracting approaches available. ï§ A formal assessment by FTA on whether TNCsâ shared ride products qualify as public transportation will help address the data issues that to-date have been complicated. To provide clarity to transit agencies in partnerships with TNCs who direct customers to their shared ride products (e.g. UberPOOL, Lyft Line), FTA needs to make a determination of whether these modes meet the statutory definition of public transportation. If they do, FTA should provide guidance on how transit agencies should report trips taken in the context of these partnerships to the National Transit Database. ï§ Several ideas for imaginative future scenarios or programs arose during the course of this work. To the extent possible, we suggest that FTA, through its Mobility on Demand Sandbox Program, evaluate the viability for the transit industry and industry groups to deliver these concepts: ï A shift of transit agenciesâ roles from direct providers of service to mobility managers overseeing a mobility-as-a-service program ï A collaborative industry forum that convenes transit practitioners and TNC staff on a regular basis to exchange ideas ï An annual awards program to highlight best practice partnerships between transit agencies and private mobility service providers