This report explores the specific opportunities and challenges facing shared mobility programs in expanding services to low-income communities.

In the last decade, shared mobility services such as bike-share, car-share and ride-share have taken off across the United States as a complement to local public transit and an alternative to private car ownership. As these models have developed, many have explored how the emerging field can more directly benefit low-income individuals, who often face longer and more costly travel times. However, current usage of shared mobility systems among low-income communities remains lower than usage by the general population overall.

This report is a survey of existing shared mobility strategies and their attempt to expand services to low-income individuals. It is our hope that the findings can inform operators, government agencies, funders, non-profit organizations and others as they try to tap into the potential of shared mobility strategies to improve the lives of low-income individuals.

Two DC residents use the Capital Bikeshare cycles. A resident of California accesses his car-share vehicle

Shared-mobility programs like bike-share and car-share have changed the ways Americans navigate their cities.

The report, authored by ITDP in collaboration with Living Cities, delves into detailed information on shared mobility typologies, the specific barriers that challenge low-income usage of shared mobility, and the strategies currently being tested to address them.

Key Findings & Recommendations

The key findings of this research include:

  1. Different shared mobility types address different trip needs.
  2. Shared mobility is best used as a complement to local mass transit.
  3. There is no silver bullet for solving the transportation needs of low-income communities through shared mobility.
  4. Core strategies for improving access to shared mobility are similar across shared mobility system types.
  5. The market for shared mobility transportation is nascent and developing.
  6. The government has multiple levers of influence and can play multiple roles in bringing shared mobility services to low-income communities.
  7. Intermediaries have the opportunity to connect users to new opportunities within the shared mobility space.

You can also view an Executive Summary for high-level recommendations:

Resource Document: Executive Summary: Can Shared Mobility Help Low-Income People Access Opportunity?
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And see Case Studies for accounts of nine regional attempts to better serve and reach low-income communities:

Resource Document: Case Studies: Can Shared Mobility Help Low-Income People Access Opportunity?
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