Integrating Travel Across Modes
In a well-planned transportation system, various alternative modes of transportation come together to form a connected system of options that support mobility, access, and energy efficiency. Many travelers have access to multiple modes of alternative transportation, including ridesharing, public transportation, and active transportation. Individuals and companies can access a variety of modes for different circumstances and use-cases and might even use multiple modes in a single trip.
One person may ride their bike on a bike lane to the nearest bus stop in the morning, where they place the bike on the bus’s front rack and ride the rest of the way to work. Another person might like to walk to the grocery store on a nice day but take the bus if it’s raining. Others might check their micromobility phone app for the location of the nearest e-scooter and walk there to ride the rest of the way to dinner with friends. Many transit agencies have started offering mobile ticketing apps or pre-loaded transit cards that are interoperable with bike-sharing systems or other mobility services. In 2020, Denver’s Regional Transportation District (RTD) partnered with Lyft to offer RTD passes through the Lyft app, allowing people to access Lyft rideshare, scooters, and transit all in one place.
Many tools and resources now exist to help travelers plan their trips to incorporate multiple modes of transportation. For example, Google Maps now includes bicycle, transit, and walking options.
Mobility Energy Productivity
It is important to have a measure of mobility to better understand how new mobility technologies may impact the movement of people with respect to time, cost, and energy. The Mobility Energy Productivity (MEP) metric is a comprehensive metric that quantifies a transportation system's ability to connect individuals to goods, services, employment, and activities while accounting for energy, time, and affordability of transportation. In other words, it measures how efficiently connected a place is.
MEP shows the proximity and convenience of access to a variety of goods, services, employment opportunities, and other activities reachable by various forms of mobility. A location with access to many opportunities via a variety of travel modes, within a short amount of time, and with low energy and the least cost will have a high numeric MEP score. MEP can be used to track changes in mobility within a single city or given location over time.