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Open Access Publications from the University of California
Policy briefs from ITS researchers.
Cover page of More Public Charging Infrastructure Alone Will Not Increase Electric Vehicle Sales

More Public Charging Infrastructure Alone Will Not Increase Electric Vehicle Sales

(2022)

Plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs), including battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, are an important technology for decarbonizing transportation and reducing urban air pollution. A lack of public charging infrastructure is frequently cited as a primary barrier to continued, widespread PEV market growth. Public and private stakeholders are investing in public charging infrastructure, in part because they hope the presence of more infrastructure will encourage consumers to purchase PEVs. However, public charging infrastructure can only affect PEV sales if people—especially those who are not already PEV owners—see it, and by seeing it become more likely to consider purchasing a PEV. Researchers at UC Davis examined this relationship. They used data from a survey administered in the first quarter of 2021 of approximately 3,000 California car-owning residents, as well as data on PEV registrations and public charger locations. They modeled the relationships between multiple variables.

Cover page of Understanding the Bike-share Market in the Sacramento Region to Increase Demand and Improve Access

Understanding the Bike-share Market in the Sacramento Region to Increase Demand and Improve Access

(2022)

Bike-share services provide an affordable and environmentally sustainable transportation option. Research has shown that bike-share use can reduce car dependence and facilitate access to public transit. Expanding the use of these services can help cities meet environmental goals and, if done right, better serve transportation-disadvantaged residents. Researchers at the University of California, Davis surveyed households and bike-share users in the Sacramento region and used both behavioral modeling and market segmentation approaches to identify opportunities for increasing demand while improving access for low-income groups. The results can inform cities’ efforts to expand bike-share services.

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Cover page of The Impact of Ridehailing on Other Travel Modes and on Vehicle Dependency

The Impact of Ridehailing on Other Travel Modes and on Vehicle Dependency

(2022)

Emerging transportation services such as ridehailing, whose development and adoption have been enabled by information and communication technology, are transforming people’s travel and activity patterns. It is unclear what these changes mean for environmental sustainability, as researchers are still trying to understand how new mobility services might impact multimodal travel and reliance on private cars. A better understanding of emerging mobility patterns can improve travel demand forecasting tools, inform investment decisions, and help provide efficient, reliable, and accessible transportation solutions.

Building on a multi-year study, researchers at the University of California, Davis surveyed 4,071 California residents in 2018 about their personal attitudes and preferences, lifestyles, travel patterns, vehicle ownership, adoption and use of new mobility services, and personal and household characteristics. This brief summarizes the results of multiple studies that have used this dataset to generate insights into the impact of ridehailing services on the use of other travel modes and on car ownership prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as provides policy implications.

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Cover page of The Costs of Owning Battery-Electric Trucks – Is the Research Aligning?

The Costs of Owning Battery-Electric Trucks – Is the Research Aligning?

(2022)

California and other states are pursuing strategies to transition to zero-emission passenger vehicles and trucks, and regulations under development in California will shape multiple states’ transition to zero-emission medium- and heavy-duty trucks. A key factor influencing the pace of these regulations and complementary incentive programs is when battery-electric trucks can be expected to reach cost parity with conventional diesel trucks. Studies on likely purchase cost and total cost of ownership of battery-electric trucks have produced different estimates about these trucks’ current and future competitiveness with diesel trucks. Comparing these studies, their assumptions, and their total cost of ownership estimates can ultimately help policymakers understand the financial impacts fleets will experience in transitioning to zero-emission vehicles, and the likelihood of fleets purchasing zero-emission vehicles independent of regulatory requirements.

Researchers at the University of California, Davis reviewed 10 recent studies of the total cost of ownership of battery-electric trucks, now and in the future, compared to a baseline diesel truck. The researchers did not judge these studies against each other but attempted to derive general findings that are robust across all the studies. This policy brief summarizes the key findings from that research.

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Cover page of A Glimpse of Microtransit at an Early Stage: The SmaRT Ride Consumer Market in the Sacramento Area

A Glimpse of Microtransit at an Early Stage: The SmaRT Ride Consumer Market in the Sacramento Area

(2022)

Microtransit is a new, technology-enabled, on-demand transportation mode in which small shuttles provide shared rides through flexible routing and scheduling in response to customers’ requests for rides. It can potentially offer greater efficiency and more equitable service than ride-hailing services, and it may fill gaps in traditional transit services. Thus far, the early shape of the microtransit customer market remains unclear. Specifically, why some people are interested in microtransit while others are not remains an open question. For people who have never used it, what factors could work as facilitators or barriers in their willingness to adopt microtransit? Who are early adopters of microtransit? Aiming to fill this gap, in 2021, researchers at the University of California, Davis conducted focus groups and an online survey of SmaRT Ride adopters and users of other means of transportation in the Sacramento area.

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Cover page of Electrifying Ridehailing: A Cross-Sector Research Agenda

Electrifying Ridehailing: A Cross-Sector Research Agenda

(2022)

Electrifying ridehailing services provided by transportation network companies (TNCs) such as Uber and Lyft can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution) and provide cost savings on fuel and maintenance to TNC drivers. Policy levers have emerged to nudge the industry in this direction. California’s Senate Bill 1014 establishes a “Clean Miles Standard” requiring that an increasing percentage of ridehailing services be provided by zero-emissions vehicles. However, the path to achieving this goal is unclear. This brief is the last in a series on TNC electrification. It presents a research agenda identified by government and industry stakeholders, articulating what they believe are the most important questions to address to find the path to TNC electrification. This brief also highlights which perceived research needs are shared broadly and which differ across government and industry stakeholders. The aim is to facilitate a shared understanding for better research, policy, and business practices.

Cover page of Electrifying Ridehailing: Drivers’ Charging Practices and Electric Vehicle Characteristics Predict the Intensity of Electric Vehicle Use

Electrifying Ridehailing: Drivers’ Charging Practices and Electric Vehicle Characteristics Predict the Intensity of Electric Vehicle Use

(2022)

Electrifying ridehailing services provided by transportation network companies (TNCs) can reduce climate-altering emissions and air pollution and provide cost savings on fuel and maintenance to TNC drivers. Policy levers have emerged to nudge the industry in this direction. California’s Senate Bill 1014 establishes a “clean miles standard” requiring an increasing percentage of ride-hailing services be provided by zero-emissions vehicles such as plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and battery electric vehicles (BEVs)—together referred to as plug-in vehicles (PEVs). This can be achieved by increasing the number of TNC drivers using BEVs and PHEVs, and by increasing the electric miles PHEV drivers travel.

Cover page of Evaluating Pilot Approaches to Increase Rural Mobility

Evaluating Pilot Approaches to Increase Rural Mobility

(2022)

People who live in rural areas in California face unique transportation challenges due to long travel distances, infrequent transit service, the cost of car ownership, and limited access to app-based rideshare services that are common in more populated urban centers. Over the past eight years, UC Davis has partnered with the eight San Joaquin Valley Metropolitan Planning Organizations to identify and support development of three innovative mobility pilot concepts for the region.

Researchers at the University of California, Davis evaluated these three pilot programs using survey and service usage data collected from their launch dates in 2019 and 2020 through November 2021 to understand the participant characteristics and outcomes of each pilot. This policy brief summarizes the key findings from that research.

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Cover page of Electrifying Ridehailing: Characteristics and Experiences of Transportation Network Company Drivers Who Adopted Electric Vehicles Ahead of the Curve

Electrifying Ridehailing: Characteristics and Experiences of Transportation Network Company Drivers Who Adopted Electric Vehicles Ahead of the Curve

(2022)

Electrifying ridehailing services provided by transportation network companies (TNCs) such as Uber and Lyft can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution and provide cost savings on fuel and maintenance to TNC drivers. Policy levers have emerged to nudge the industry in this direction. California’s Senate Bill 1014 establishes a “clean miles standard” requiring that an increasing percentage of ridehailing services be provided by zero-emissions vehicles such as plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and battery electric vehicles (BEVs)—together referred to as plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs). Because TNC drivers operate their personal vehicles, government and industry must accelerate PEV adoption among TNC drivers to achieve this goal.

Cover page of New Metrics Are Needed to Understand the Environmental Benefits of Micromobility Services

New Metrics Are Needed to Understand the Environmental Benefits of Micromobility Services

(2022)

Micromobility services (e.g., conventional and electric bikeshare programs and electric scootershare programs) hold great potential for reducing vehicle miles traveled and greenhouse gas emissions if these services are used as substitutes for car travel and/or to access public transit. But estimating these environmental effects is challenging, as it requires measuring changes in human behavior—that is, the choice of what transportation mode to use. While many cities collect various micromobility usage metrics to regulate services, these metrics are not sufficient for calculating the sustainability benefits of these services.