Accelerating Clean Transportation Now (ACTNow) FY2020-ACTNow-01
Montague Corporation – MBTA Enhanced Transit First-Mile/Last-Mile Solution
III. Project Market Opportunity
a. Market Opportunity (expanded)
The pilot will use a 5 or 10-bike station, and nominal revenue will be collected on the order of $13,000 to $26,000 for the 12 month period ($10 per day with full weekday utilization). The proposed project will gather necessary information with the MBTA to lay the groundwork for a large-scale market entry.
The market potential of solving the first-mile problem is quite large, and completely underserved by micromobility. We conducted a comprehensive investigation of 2,857 driving commuters drawn from the 2012 – 2016 5-year American Community Survey (ACS) Data (CTPP, US Census), and simulated baseline and alternative commuting methods using estimates from the Google Navigation API with morning rush-hour traffic conditions drawn from Wednesday March 11, 2020 (Google API gives walk to transit to walk times).
Our findings indicate that Massachusetts public transit (bus+subway) offers a faster alternative to driving for less than 1% of these drivers during their rush-hour morning commutes downtown (considering “downtown” to be 2.5 miles distance from Boston city hall). A key contributor to mass transit’s slowness is the fact that 16% of transit travel time would be spent in first-mile travel: walking. For trips that involve the subway, the situation is worse, with public transportation offering a faster solution than driving to less than 1%, and walking and buses combined account for 40% of travel time. In all cases, first-mile transportation in suburbs accounts for more travel time than last-mile transportation.
In contrast, our alternative public transport using electric bikes to replace a) walking or b) walking + buses, as part of first and last mile travel is often faster than driving. In the case of a), replacing walking, our alternative offers a faster commute for 19% of SOV commuters driving downtown (as opposed to the “business as usual” 7%), introducing potential for almost a threefold increase in ridership for those interested in a faster commute. In the case of b), replacing both walking and buses, our solution similarly offers a faster downtown commute for 20% of drivers*.
In most cases our alternative offers not only a faster alternative but a less expensive alternative to driving. From the joint perspective of employee and employer, the price of SOV driving and parking downtown exceeds the price of MBTA fares + $10/day fees for the bike share program.
Nationally, 38 million people commute into and out of the top 25 cities by car (U.S. Census, http://onthemap.ces.census.gov). Of these people, suppose as in Massachusetts that 19% are offered a faster commute using e-bikes for first/last mile transit access. At a rate of $10 a day (which saves money for them and their employers), this would result in revenues of approximately $18.8 billion. Capturing 25% of this market due to factors of competition, rider comfort, and seasonality yields a market opportunity of $4.7 billion in the top 25 U.S. cities.
* We exclude from this percentage trips that would not use any MBTA service.