Commuters empowered by microtransit in Texas
Use microtransit to drastically improve access to an industrial park that has long been underserved by public transportation.
Denton County Transportation Authority worked with Spare to launch the Lewisville Lakeway transit service, which provides travel options primarily to workers needing to access a business park.
The Lakeway on-demand transit zone now covers an area that had only been sporadically served by fixed-route bus lines, hugely improving the speed and quality of transit for commuters.
The Lewisville-Lakeway area experiences large fluctuations in transit demand throughout the day, which complicates the scheduling of bus driver shifts.
Since the industrial zone has a history of being poorly served by public transportation, reliance on private vehicles amongst commuters is high. Shifting the travel mode from cars to transit is therefore a challenge.
"There is a changing landscape in the public transportation sector. People want to see different offerings other than the traditional buses and guided fixed rail. Because of this change, we're trying to be more flexible to meet the community's needs with more innovative solutions."
Through collaborating with Spare, DCTA sought to better understand how on-demand technology could replace or complement its fixed-route transit within its larger mobility ecosystem.
The Spare Realize modeling platform revealed how a micro-transit program would affect transport demand in the underserved Lakeside business park, as well as to and from fixed-route lines. For example, DCTA specified the new microtransit zone should be linked to Hebron station, the main rail hub, to ensure seamless connectivity with the wider transportation network.
The Spare Realize simulations also provided a detailed picture of how best to implement the service. Given the particularities of the Lewisville-Lakeway area, the most optimal setup was to combine physical bus stops with ‘virtual’ dynamic stops available in the Spare Rider app.
Thanks to the Spare Open API, DCTA and Spare developed a flexible technology solution to allow riders to use either the Spare Rider app, or call in to book a ride. This multi-channel booking system ensures the service is open to all residents. The multi-passenger vehicles used for the microtransit service are also accessible to riders with a motorized device or wheelchair. This sets the scene for DCTA to provide comprehensive on-demand paratransit service in the future.
"The expansion of our mictrotransit on-demand service in Lewisville is another way we can meet the changing needs of our riders by providing alternative, affordable and convenient modes of transportation that improve mobility for the many communities we serve."
The DCTA service experienced an impressive initial growth of 43% within the first few months, capturing a significant portion of the potential demand in the area.
A survey of almost 3,000 regular users of DCTA transit found that 94% of respondents rated Spare’s operations in Lakeside as ‘excellent’ or ‘good’. This overwhelmingly positive experience means that less than 10% of rides are canceled on the service.