The Federal Highway Administration’s Office of Operations has an interest in maximizing the efficiency of highways which includes efforts to encourage higher vehicle occupancy rates. FHWA engaged a team including EDR Group (now EBP), ICF and Metropia to assess factors that influencing travel decisions to use shared mobility options (e.g. shared rides and carpools). A key objective was to learn about the tradeoffs among travel options (e.g., carsharing or bike-sharing, riding alone or with others in a TNC vehicle) in terms of travel cost, time, reliability, and other aspects of the trip.
The work of EDR Group included the design and implementation of a stated preference analyses of the time, cost and other tradeoffs that TNC riders make when they choose whether to utilize TNC pool or ride alone options. This was combined with TNC data on actual rider choices (revealed preferences). EDR Group then developed discrete choice statistical models to explore how decision factors differ with socioeconomic characteristics of travelers and urban context variables. A second part of the study is examining ways that policy may encourage travel by more efficient modes. As part of that effort, scenarios have been constructed to test alternative incentives and their impact on promoting higher occupancy travel options.