RALEIGH - State officials are helping public transit users, particularly in underserved areas, better understand an emerging transportation service. The N.C. Department of Transportation has created a web page devoted to on-demand microtransit, a public transportation service that takes riders to and from preferred destinations.
“On-demand microtransit services provide improved mobility and access to opportunities,” says Ryan Brumfield, director of the Integrated Mobility Division at NCDOT. “It also allows the state to meet the needs of citizens more effectively by providing multimodal services that are comparable to driving in terms of time, convenience, and cost.”
The on-demand service offers riders access to a public transportation option that is flexible and responsive to real-time needs, the convenience of booking and paying online, and improved access to essential services such as school and medical appointments. The service is targeted to help people who live in rural and underserved communities without reliable transportation. State officials estimate that as many as 1 million people do not have reliable transportation service. “This ability to use transit for spontaneous trips similar to driving is fundamental to providing equitable mobility to everyone,” Brumfield said.
Last year, NCDOT and the Institute for Transportation Research and Education and Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering at N.C. State University studied the success of microtransit pilot programs and explored the challenges they face to plan and implement microtransit options.
Findings from the Public Microtransit Pilots in the State of North Carolina study identified challenges such as lack of available and sustainable funding for microtransit programs, meeting the demand for service and ADA compliance, difficulties scheduling trips on a mobile app instead of by phone call and accessing virtual transit stops not designated by physical infrastructure like shelters, benches and signs.
Several microtransit services are currently being piloted and many more are in the planning phase.
Learn more about on-demand microtransit services in North Carolina.