Case Study: Shared Mobility Benefits Calculator Method

  • Author: Shared-Use Mobility Center

The Shared Mobility Benefits Calculator is a tool for cities to estimate the emissions benefits from deploying various modes of shared mobility. Using these estimates, policymakers can envision and set goals towards reducing congestion, household transportation costs, and carbon emissions from personal vehicles. Although the benefits estimated by this Calculator are ambitious in nature, the numbers behind the impacts represent real possibilities. These figures are derived from research publications and shared mobility user surveys in the US and other developed nations. By incorporating combinations of these modes into city and regional planning, local governments can turn greenhouse gas mitigation goals into concrete plans. Multimodal transportation infrastructure leads to other benefits not quantified here but also of great importance, such as health benefits in living a more active lifestyle, providing first and last mile connections, and providing mobility for those that live in neighborhoods with limited transportation options. In nominal terms, those first/last-mile options (such as bikeshare or shared electric scooters) may show lower impacts compared with similarly scaled applications of transit or carpool. However, these modes do not operate in a vacuum. First/last-mile connections improve the quality of a transit system and any multi-modal network is strengthened by its diversity of options. While this effect may not be captured in the Shared Mobility Benefits Calculator, it remains important for planners and policy-makers not to rely on any single tool to mitigate transportation related GHG emissions.

The methods described in this calculator are among many ways that cities can reduce the climate impacts of transportation. Future versions of this calculator may include incentivizing flexible work schedules, telecommuting benefits, congestion pricing, and adjustable parking requirements. This larger set of tools generally falls under Transportation Demand Management (TDM) strategies. Together, these tools will help cities think through the impacts of personal travel and what solutions are available to help cities reduce transportation related GHG emissions.

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