Research Portal

September 11, 2023

An Economic Analysis of Incorporating New Shared Mobility into Public Transportation Provision

Wang, Y., & Shen, Q. (2023). An economic analysis of incorporating new shared mobility into public transportation provision. Transport Policy, 141, 263–273.

View Publication


Transit agencies in the US have shown great interests in the possibility of incorporating on-demand shared mobility modes into their fixed-route transit services. However, the cost-effectiveness of on-demand modes has not been clearly demonstrated, and there lacks an effective method for transit agencies to compare the costs of different service provision options. This study develops an economic-theory-based framework that appropriately conceptualizes the total economic cost of incorporating on-demand modes into transit. Based on the theoretical framework, a simulation model is built to operationalize an approach for evaluating the cost-effectiveness of transit-supplementing, on-demand mobility services. We demonstrate the applicability of this approach using Via to Transit program in the Seattle region. By accounting for both the service provider's cost and the users' cost, we obtain a more complete and accurate measure for the cost advantages of the on-demand modes in this case in comparison to expanding fixed-route transit, where the total economic cost for the on-demand mode is 22% lower than the fixed route transit. The theoretical framework and the simulation model can support the decision-making of public transit agencies as they explore incorporating mobility on demand to supplement traditional transit.


Public transit; On-demand shared mobility; Marginal cost; Generalized travel cost; Transportation simulation