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Planning the Last Mile: Shared Vehicles along the Illinois Rail Corridor-Scope

(Center Identification Number: UIC 2117-9050-02-C)

Principal Investigator

Paul Bruton
I-GO Carsharing Service
Chicago, IL
pbruton@igocars.org
(773) 328-7048

Project Scope

IGO CarSharing will conduct a feasibility study for placing shared vehicles at or near Amtrak stations and municipal building in Joliet, Normal, Springfield, and Chicago, Illinois. The study.will assess potential demand for shared vehicles in those locations, and, based on the analysis of potential demand at the these locations, IGO will formulate an implementation plan for creating a successful last mile solution for rail passengers using each of the four stations. The project is designed to develop a last mile solution that will improve access to key businesses, universities and centers of commerce in the State. It will also help facilitate new development patterns and investments that will reduce the cost of living while providing greater mobility within Illinois.

Tasks/Deliverables

This study will have four basic goals. Each is designed to lay the groundwork for implementation of shared vehicles in order to expand transportation options throughout Illinois.

a. Assess market demand
b. Assess stakeholders and community support
c. Research and determine optimal supporting hardware and software systems
d. Develop strategic plan for implementation of carsharing services in central Illinois.

a. Demand Assessment
i. Assessing demand from rail customers
ii. Assessing demand from local area residents
iii. Assessing demand from local businesses and government

Demand assessment will include research into the transportation patterns that currently exist within the study communities (car ownership rates, commute habits, etc.), surveys of local residents concerning their interest in having access to shared vehicles along the rail corridor, and a research into potential vehicle use by visitors arriving in these communities by rail. The non-survey demand assessment research is expected to take. approximately a month and a half to complete, with survey distribution and analysis taking requiring an additional month.

b. Convening Stakeholders
i. Amtrak
11. Municipal Government
iii. Regional Planning Bodies
iv. Job Centers
v. Colleges and Universities

Stakeholders will include local residents, elected officials, businesses and job centers. IGO will facilitate a conversation among various stakeholders to determine what type of service is most beneficial to the community and to determine models of carsharing that fit the needs of local residents and visitors.
The process of convening stakeholders is expected to take approximately two months and will follow the demand assessment.

c. Software and Hardware
i. Smartphone application – Application for membership filled out by phone. Code will be sent to cell phone allowing vehicle access at the time of reservation
11. Self-serve kiosks – Kiosk located at transit station. Will process membership application information and vend an RFID enabled smart card allowing vehicle access at the time of reservation.

Innovations in carsharing software and hardware can help make it possible to implement an effective and sustainable carsharing program along the rail corridor.
IGO will research.a number of possible innovations with the goal of implementing these projects in the near future. Software and hardware research is expected to take two months, though this time can overlap some with other aspects of the project.

d. Final Product/Implementation Plan Final Product
IGO will produce an implementation plan based on the above assessment of where demand is and how shared vehicles can be used most successfully in conjunction with the high speed rail communities.

Development of the final implementation plan is expected to take about one month and will follow the conclusion of all other aspects of the study. The implementation plan will detail the lessons learned from the demand assessment, stakeholder communication, and technology research.

Project Schedule

November 2012 – March 2013

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Sponsors

  • Florida Department of Transportation
  • US Department of Transportation

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National Center for Transit Research c/o Center for Urban Transportation Research 4202 E. Fowler Ave., CUT100 Tampa, FL 33620-5375