Sustainability is more than a buzzword. More and more, public and private agencies are pushing toward reducing their environmental impact. For transit agencies, this push toward eco-friendly practices is motivated by several factors, including the urgent need to reduce greenhouse emissions, improve air quality, and generally create a more livable urban environment. 

Public transportation plays a big part in controlling greenhouse gas emissions by keeping individual vehicles off the road. It is estimated that in 2018, public transit saved 63 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. That is roughly the same as taking 16 coal power plants offline for one year. However, transit agencies are still a significant source of emissions, contributing roughly 12 million metric tons of CO2 to the environment.

In order to meet climate goals, public transit agencies need to find transportation solutions that are eco-friendly. One of those solutions is microtransit.  

What Is Microtransit?

Microtransit is a demand-responsive service that bridges the gap between traditional public transit and private ride-hailing services. Typically, transit agencies will use smaller vehicles like vans or mini buses that are capable of more flexible routing and scheduling than conventional public buses or trains. Microtransit enhances public transportation networks by providing services that are more adaptable. It is particularly useful for covering first-and-last-mile connections to transit hubs and serving low-density or underserved areas. It can also give riders more flexible and convenient options during peak hours. 

Microtransit usually leverages technology like Ecolane’s in order to provide the service. This technology allows transit agencies to seamlessly integrate the service into their existing services. It also helps agencies schedule, plan, and dispatch services.  

How Microtransit Helps the Environment

Microtransit can help transit agencies be more eco-friendly by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, enhancing mass transit use, and filling the gaps in traditional service. 

1. Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions

In general, microtransit helps reduce the reliance on single-occupancy vehicles. In cities where microtransit is implemented, there is a significant shift from private car usage to more sustainable shared transportation options. This reduces cars on the road and leads to less emissions. Using electric vehicles for your microtransit services can help to further reduce emissions.

2. Increasing Mass Transit Use

Microtransit is designed to enhance mass transit systems, not compete with them. By providing first-mile-last-mile services, agencies can increase access to transit hubs. This helps people utilize mass transit options for a larger part of their journey. Increased public transportation use directly leads to a reduction of personal vehicle use, which ultimately reduces emission. 

3. Filling Gaps in Traditional Transit Services

Microtransit allows agencies to expand their services into areas that, traditionally, were not viable either due to low demand or geographical constraints. Expanding services ensures more regions have access to public transportation options, which in turn, reduces the reliance on vehicles.   

4. Beyond Emissions

The environmental benefits of microtransit go beyond just reducing emissions. It also plays a role in decreasing traffic congestion, improving air quality, and promoting more equitable access to mobility. Overall, implementing microtransit services can help your agency align with broader environmental and public health goals. This makes it a crucial tool for developing a sustainable urban environment.  

Enable Microtransit with the Best Software.

If your agency is looking to become more eco-friendly, then Ecolane can help. For our part, Ecolane’s microtransit software allows riders to use app technology to book rides in specific zones so a driver can take them to a fixed-route transit stop or an end destination. The platform also enhances convenience. Our app incorporates credit card processing and self-registration, making booking easier.

Agencies using Ecolane’s software stand out in a crowd of microtransit options. One of the biggest differentiators is our real-time communications that match demand with supply, a rare capability in the industry. Agencies that take advantage of this generally see higher customer satisfaction and can also streamline their operations. 

Microtransit is redefining transportation for riders, communities, and agencies alike. Unique needs? Specific preferences? Microtransit and the technology powering it make transit a whole new experience. Use Ecolane to expand your microtransit capabilities. Explore our solutions to learn how to take your agency to new heights.

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