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1:1 with Eric Lingaur, Communications and Development Director at the Bay Area Transportation Authority

Publication Date: Sep 22, 2022

This is a transcript of a video interview with Eric Lingaur on May 16, 2022 in Chicago, IL at the Mobility Innovation Collaborative workshop. Find these videos on the Mobility Learning Center here


Tell us about yourself and your project. 

Hi, I’m Eric Lingaur. I’m the Communications and Development Director for the Bay Area Transportation Authority, and we received the IMI grant from the FTA. 


What inspired your project?

One of the core backbones of going down this road was a community needs assessment that we did where our riders and our community was asking for more technology and more user friendly ways to use public transit. And then on the flip side, on the internal part of it, we were looking for ways to be more effective and more efficient with our demand response, traditional dial-a-ride service, and see if on demand could function in a rural setting.


What are your project goals? 

So there were a number of project goals related to this project like improving efficiency and effectiveness. We had up to a 30% no-show and cancellation rate, so a third of our rides were going unused. Traditionally, dial-a-ride and demand response services are inefficient and don’t move a lot of people. So we were looking for ways to improve that functionality and do more with less resources type of thing. And then the ultimate part of the project was to purchase technology, an intelligent transportation solution to help improve our service delivery across the board to have that technology kind of as a backbone.


How are you engaging with your end users?

So we’re engaging in a number of ways. Of course, we launched our pilot during COVID. So, a lot of the traditional ways that you could do within person meetings and group community events, weren’t really happening at the time when COVID was at its peak. So we relied a lot on digital communication, a lot of mailing, a lot of word of mouth. We did every type of communication method that we could, minus in person ones when we rolled out. Since then, with restrictions easing a little bit, we’ve been able to do a little bit more of that in-person communication, but we’ve tried to engage in every capacity that we could.


How does your project impact your community?

One of the best ways that the project is impacting the community is the ability for riders to take more control over their transportation with an on-demand micro-transit solution. They can get transportation in real time when they want it, when they need it, and door-to-door connections. That has really been helpful, especially during COVID and many transits are experiencing service reductions due to staffing, or maybe low ridership, and to have an on-demand solution as part of our IMI project to help supplement that, has really been helpful and helping us still meet the transportation needs of our community.


Tell us about your project partners and their role. 

One subset of our project was a non-emergency medical transportation pilot that was kind of a pilot within a pilot as far as our service goes. So some of our major partners were medical clinics. There were 25 or 26 medical clinics that we partnered with to help provide rides to and from medical appointments for patients. These were free rides that were built into the pilot, and we worked directly with them for education, awareness, data to help map who’s using it and who’s not using it. As far as other partners go, of course there’s our vendor partner. We used TransLoc for our pilot. They were essential in kind of launching this service and being able to have that on-demand solution in the background. And then of course, our staff, I consider partners, because they had to kind of learn and adapt to a new service model at the same time.


How does the Shared-Use Mobility Center support your project and team?

SUMC has been fantastic. We were one of the pilot projects to kind of get a jumpstart a little bit ahead of some of the other ones, and so it was just great to have some guidance, some insights to share information with some of the other transit agencies that are going through some similar pilots to not reinvent the wheel, basically. To learn from what other folks have done and just build and make it better on top of that. Without having the resource like SUMC, yeah, we would’ve been able to launch it and survive, but I think we did a better job and have continued to cultivate it, and make the project even more valuable to the community because of that SUMC connection.