Linking Shared Transportation Network Companies with Los Angeles Metro

Project Summary

The meteoric rise of Transportation Network Companies (TNCs), such as Lyft and Uber, is revolutionizing how people travel, in part by dramatically increasing the attractiveness of alternative travel modes, such as public transit. TNCs conveniently address what is known as the "first-mile, last-mile" problem of linking trip origins and destinations with transit stops and stations. These so-called "mixed-mode tours" encourage use of L.A.'s expanding rail and bus rapid transit networks to both mitigate and bypass traffic congestion, and allow people to still enjoy the convenience of automobile travel to and from the station and for other trips during the day. This research project examines whether and to what extent TNCs, in conjunction with air quality and trip reduction regulations, might accelerate the deployment of zero-emissions vehicles (ZEVs) in metropolitan Los Angeles. Specifically, the project assesses the viability of shared ZEV TNC service to and from major transit stops to promote both ZEV travel and transit for commute-related travel. The TNC business model enables high daily vehicle utilization rates and high occupancy rates (percentage of seats filled) compared to personal vehicle ownership and operation. High-use rates also allow ZEV owners to pay off the higher, initial cost over a greater number of annual operating hours. TNC-deployed ZEVs thus have the potential to reduce transportation emissions while promoting transit usage and maintaining economic feasibility for car owners. 

Research Team

Brian Taylor
Urban Planning, Luskin School of Public Affairs

Juan Matute
UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies, Luskin School of Public Affairs

Progress and Results

Reserachers looked at the potential of locally-generated incentives to create dual desirable policy outcomes: increase transit ridership on the electric-powered dedicated right-of-way network, and introduce zero-emissions vehicles into ride-hailing applications.  In sprawling Los Angeles, distance to a rail or bus rapid transit station is a major barrier to use. Ride-hailing can provide a demand-responsive option to connect with rapid transit from areas not within walking distance.

The results of this project will now inform four ongoing strategic projects and regulatory processes.  First, the Metro's Mobility-on-Demand pilot project which will link transit stations and ride-hail vehicles for a 12-month pilot period. Second, the the creation of a potential "green commutes" product which bundles ride-hailing and transit passes. Third, the work will inform future updates to the Air Quality Management District's Rule 2202, On-Road Motor Vehicle Mitigation Options, which provides employers with a menu of options to reduce mobile source emissions generated from employee communtues to comply with federal and state Clean Air Act requirements.  Fourth, the  growing trend of cities looking to establish their own local transportation demand management ordinances, which often include local enforcement of Rule 2202.

Other Information of Interest

UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies

Brian Taylor

Juan Matute