University of California Institute of Transportation Studies
Early Results from an Electric Vehicle Carsharing Service in Rural Disadvantaged Communities in the San Joaquin Valley
- Author(s): Rodier, Caroline, PhD
- Harold, Brian, MBA
- Zhang, Yunwan, MS
- et al.
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.7922/G2765CNH
In rural areas, cost-effective transit service is challenging to provide due to greater travel distances, lower population densities, and longer travel times than in cities. The people who rely on public transit contend with infrequent and slow service. Access to a personal car is often essential to the quality of life for most residents, enabling them to more easily access work, health care, education, healthy food, and other essential services. However, keeping two (or sometimes even one) car in reliable working order can consume an estimated 22% to 56% of the household budget for low-income families in California. Rural residents often have lower incomes than their urban counterparts, and the most fuel-efficient vehicles, particularly electric vehicles (EVs), are often outside their financial reach. An EV carsharing pilot, called Míocar, was launched in August 2019 to explore the potential of a shared mobility service to offer a cost-effective mobility option for residents of rural disadvantaged communities and to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Affordable housing complexes host the round-trip EV carsharing hubs in southern San Joaquin Valley (CA) communities with low levels of intercity transit service and personal vehicles. The goals of the pilot program are (a) to provide carsharing at a price point that is more affordable than owning a personal vehicle to price-sensitive populations with low transit access; and (b) to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This report summarizes the data collected during the 10-month operational rampup of the Míocar service—the entire dataset links members and their service use data with results from member and post reservation surveys. The results provide initial insights into who, how, and why members are using Míocar.