Examining Informal and Emerging Microtransit Services

What You'll Learn

  • Compare the experience of microtransit in New York City to the broader experience and viability of informal transit elsewhere.
  • Understand how regulations affect transit operations and what that means for providers and the community.
  • Evaluate how study methods from New York could be used in other cities to understand informal or emerging transit services.

More Course Details

New York City is home to a commuter van system that serves approximately 90,000 daily riders, primarily in immigrant communities. The city's department of transportation (NYCDOT) undertook a comprehensive study of the commuter van industry to (1) better understand impacts on the transportation landscape of the city, and (2) develop improved policy.

Given the informal nature of commuter van service, city agencies tasked with oversight of the industry often lack basic information, such as origins and destinations, service frequency, routes, stops, congestion impacts, and safety. The study team collected and analyzed quantitative and qualitative data on service patterns, passenger demographics, and transportation needs.

The session will focus on the following, tying study outcomes to broader issues around small-scale transit:

  • Overview of informal transit networks, microtransit, and other emerging small-scale transit services.
  • Methods and results from the NYC commuter van study.
  • Regulatory challenges — commuter van regulations differ from other transportation services, resulting in potentially exclusionary outcomes.
  • Potential policy changes to enable commuter vans to operate in areas with less robust bus service, equalizing transportation access among New Yorkers.
  • Provision of microtransit by a transit agency versus a community-provided solution, clearing pathways for community-driven innovation.
  • Using technology to advance equity, enable older modes to work in a new era, and foster partnerships between local government, transit providers, and the community.

 Closed Captioning

Looking for more courses like this? You might like the NPC20 @ Home Collection, a bundle of all the recordings from the digital conference.