The Metrics of Success for On-Demand Microtransit

Jay PerryBlog

Let’s talk metrics — the standard of measurement you’re using to evaluate whether your on-demand microtransit system is a boom or bust.

The influx of transit technology is giving transit providers unfathomable insight into their mobility ecosystem. Instead of relying exclusively on manual data entry by dispatchers or end-of-shift reports from operators, transit providers are receiving automated real-time updates on fleet performance, rider reservations, and more. Even better, this data is being used to make smart decisions about how these services operate, leading to a flexible and accessible mobility system that truly serves all.

You can’t spell flexible and accessible without on-demand microtransit. As this exciting form of demand-response transportation gains popularity among transit providers and riders alike, new metrics to evaluate will emerge alongside the tried-and-true data that has become a staple of the transit lexicon.

What On-Demand Microtransit Data Do You Evaluate?

Regardless if the data is old school or new school, evaluating the right metrics (like the ones listed below) makes all the difference in implementing, maintaining, and expanding a successful on-demand microtransit service:

  • Cancellation Rate: Riders who frequently cancel an on-demand microtransit booking signal a huge problem with service performance and customer satisfaction.
  • Connecting Modes: Multimodal transportation is common in public transportation (our Transit Value Index found that 69% of riders surveyed use at least two modes of transportation in their work commute). Transit providers can better plan for multimodal transportation integration if they know at which stage riders are accessing on-demand microtransit.
  • Geographical Data: Because on-demand microtransit can go anywhere, it produces data on exactly where riders begin and end their journeys. That’s transit data gold for transit providers who are focused on providing increased mobility to low-income neighborhoods or improving access to grocery stores in food deserts.  
  • Trip Type: Understand the why to where riders are going when using on-demand microtransit. Sorting on-demand rides by trip type gives clarity on how frequently riders are traveling for work, practicality (e.g., grabbing groceries), or leisure. 
  • Overall Ridership: The number of riders using a service during a particular time period.
  • Percentage of Rides Shared: Tracking communities where sharing an on-demand microtransit vehicle is more frequent allows transit agencies to reallocate fleets to other high-volume, single-reservation zones.
  • Ride Times: The length of a rider’s journey. This data point is crucial for learning about the effectiveness of the placement of an on-demand microtransit service zone.
  • Trip Denial Rate: Sometimes transit providers have to deny service in order to maintain overall performance. Tracking the rate of trip denials enables for greater control over service quality. 
  • Vehicle Miles Traveled: Keeping an eye on vehicle miles traveled doesn’t only help with vehicle maintenance — it also reveals clues on how to optimize service zone placement. 
  • Vehicle Utilization: Optimizing fleet performance comes down to knowing where vehicles are needed the most. Vehicle utilization compiles performance data based on the number of boardings and vehicles in service per hour.
  • Wait Times: Two words that send a cold chill down the spine of transit providers. The amount of time a rider has to wait for a vehicle to arrive will either positively or negatively impact overall ridership. This data helps transit providers strategize about the full scope of an on-demand microtransit service whether it’s fleet size, zone placement, or automated dispatch efficiency. 

What Do You Do With This On-Demand Microtransit Data?

Transit providers often operate their services on limited financial resources and personnel, but are expected to deliver exceptional service. It is difficult to find the time — never mind the right people — to analyze mountains of transit data. 

It’s why we’ve championed the value of Planning & Design Services for years — and why we’re seeing it quickly adopted by more and more customers.  

Not just any planning and design service will do, however. Transit providers need genuine, knowledgeable partners who share their passion for mobility. The blank slate nature of traditional consultation has its limits. In a time of unlimited possibilities for transit, limited isn’t enough. 

The mobility revolution happens when transportation data is combined with community insight from transit providers and data fluency of AICP-certified transportation planners. And when it comes to experiencing an efficient and equitable on-demand microtransit service, communities across the country are ready for the revolution.

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