Opportunities for Shared-Use Mobility Services in Rural Disadvantaged Communities in California’s San Joaquin Valley: Existing Conditions and Conceptual Program Development

Shared-use mobility services largely serve major metropolitan areas. However, increasingly officials, who represent rural communities, want to know whether these types of services may be able to provide more cost-effective access to rural residents than is currently possible by fixed-route and dial-a-ride transit services. Many of these officials must contend with low farebox recovery rates that threaten transit funding and subsequent cutbacks in transit services that are often strongly opposed by constituents. In this study, the cost-effectiveness of existing inter-city transit service in rural disadvantaged communities in the San Joaquin Valley (California) is compared to hypothetical ridesharing and carsharing services. The results show significant potential to reduce transit costs and reinvest those cost saving to expand shared mobility services. The cost-effectiveness analysis is supplemented with reviews of existing shared-use mobility pilots and consultations with experts in shared mobility and local transportation planning.