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Montague Corporation – Light Electric Vehicles and Charging Stations for First-Mile / Last Mile Transit Connectivity

Market Opportunity (expanded)

The pilot will use a 10 e-bike station, and nominal revenue will be collected on the order of $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, 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.

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