In rural areas like the San Joaquin Valley (SJV), long travel distances and low development densities contribute to transit service that is often infrequent and hard to access, despite its high-cost. High-poverty levels in the SJV lead to low auto availability, which leaves many residents without access to jobs, health care, education, healthy food, and other basic services. UC Davis, in partnership with eight SJV Metropolitan Planning Organizations and the California Department of Transportation, conducted a study to identify shared-use alternatives to traditional transit that would reduce per trip transit costs and increase overall accessibility in rural disadvantaged communities while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Using this information, a pilot project began in order to support a suite of shared mobility services in five communities in the SJV where provision of transit is costly and services are extremely limited. Locations and concepts were selected based on their potential to reduce operating costs, improve mobility and access in rural disadvantaged communities, and provide models that can be exported throughout the Valley and the State.
Dr. Rodier will assist with coordination and management of the overall project, lead the research evaluation of the pilot projects, and support outreach and education. UC Davis researchers will conduct focus groups to explore concerns, barriers to use, and ultimately improve the pilot design. The team will also develop promotional and informational materials and a website for education, recruitment, and outreach. In addition, three focus groups with program users and drivers will be conducted at each site to identify concerns and potential improvements in the program. Researchers will them perform a research evaluation for the pilot projects, using data from surveys, bus ridership (e.g., operational costs, vehicle miles traveled), as well as their new carsharing reservation system.