The Transportation Sustainability Research Center fosters research, education, and outreach so that transportation can serve to improve economic growth, environmental quality, and equity. Our work focuses on real-world research with the public and private sectors that can help to advance policy understanding and the social good. Co-Directors are Professor Susan Shaheen, Dr. Tim Lipman, and Professor Arpad Horvath. The groups participating in this effort are the:
Institute of Transportation Studies
Framework for Testing Innovative Transportation Solutions: Case Study of Carlink, a Commuter Carsharing Program
Transit accounts for just two percent of total travel in the U.S. One reason for low ridership is limited access; many individuals either live or work too far from a transit station. In developing transit connectivity solutions, researchers often employ a range of study instruments, such asstated-preference surveys, focus groups, and pilot programs. To better understand response to one innovative transit solution, the authors employed a number of research tools, including: a longitudinal survey, field test, and pilot program. The innovation examined was a commutercarsharing model, called CarLink, which linked short-term rental vehicles to transit andemployment centers. Over several years, researchers explored user response to the CarLinkconcept, a field operational test (CarLink I), a pilot program (CarLink II), and a commercial operation (the pilot was turned over to Flexcar in summer 2002). This multi-staged approach provided an opportunity for researchers to learn and adapt as each phase progressed. In thispaper, the authors outline the CarLink model, technology, and early lessons learned; describe CarLink II operational understanding; provide a synopsis of the pilot program transition; and offer recommendations for future model development.