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Shared Mobility Definitions

The following definitions are used in the FTA's Shared Mobility frequently asked questions (FAQs). Many are based on TCRP Research Report #188: Shared Mobility and the Transformation of Public Transit.

Term Meaning Alternative Terms
Bikesharing Provides users with on-demand access to bicycles at a variety of pick-up and drop- off locations for one-way (point-to-point) or roundtrip travel. Bikesharing fleets are commonly deployed in a network within a metropolitan region, city, neighborhood, employment center, and/or university campus.  Bikeshare
Carsharing A technology-facilitated, membership-based service that enables access to an automobile for intervals of less than a day. Carsharing business models include: (1) traditional or round-trip, which requires users to borrow and return vehicles at the same location; (2) one-way or free-floating, which allows users to pick up a vehicle at one location and drop it off at another; and (3) peer-to-peer, which allows car owners to earn money at times when they are not using their vehicles by making them available for rental to other carshare members. Carshare
Demand Responsive System Any system of transporting individuals, including the provision of designated public transportation service by public entities and the provision of transportation service by private entities, including, but not limited to, specified public transportation service, which is not a fixed route system. [49 CFR 37.3] Demand Response, Paratransit
Fixed-Route System A system of transporting individuals (other than by aircraft), including the provision of designated public transportation service by public entities and the provision of transportation service by private entities, including, but not limited to, specific public transportation service, on which a vehicle is operated along a prescribed route according to a fixed schedule. [49 CFR 37.3] Fixed route
Micromobility Any small, low-speed, human or electric-powered transportation device, including bicycles, scooters, electric-assist bicycles (e-bikes), electric scooters (e-scooters), and other small, lightweight, wheeled conveyances.  
Microtransit A technology-enabled service that uses multi-passenger vehicles to provide on-demand services with dynamically generated routing. Microtransit services are traditionally provided in designated service areas. Service models include first mile/last mile connections to fixed route services; hub to hub zone-based services; the commingling of ADA complementary paratransit services with general transit service; and point-to-point service within a specific zone or geography. Microtransit, On-Demand Transit
Mobility on Demand An integrated and connected multi-modal network of safe, affordable, and reliable transportation options that are available and accessible to all travelers. [FTA Office of Research, Demonstration, and Innovation] MOD
Paratransit (Americans with Disabilities Act Complementary) Comparable transit service required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for people with disabilities who are unable to use fixed route transportation systems. [49 CFR 37.3] ADA Paratransit
Private Shuttles Corporate, regional, and local shuttles that make limited stops, often only picking up specified riders.   
Public Transportation Regular, continuing shared-ride surface transportation services that are open to the general public or open to a segment of the general public defined by age, disability, or low income. Public transportation does not include: intercity passenger rail transportation (provide by Amtrak, or any successor); intercity bus service; charter bus service; school bus service; sightseeing service; courtesy shuttle service for patrons of one or more specific establishments; or intra-terminal or intra-facility shuttle services. [49 USC 5302] Transit, Public Transit
Ridesharing Involves adding passengers to a private trip in which driver and passengers share a destination. Such an arrangement provides additional transportation options for riders while allowing drivers to fill empty seats in their vehicles. Traditional forms of ridesharing include carpooling and vanpooling. [TCRP Research Report 188] Carpooling, Vanpooling, Ridesourcing
Transportation Network Company Service Prearranged transportation services for compensation using an online-enabled application or platform (such as smart phone apps) to connect drivers using their personal vehicles with passengers. [California Public Utilities Commission] TNC, Ridesharing, E-hailing
Ride-splitting A type of ridesourcing that allows customers requesting a ride for one or two passengers to be paired in real time with others traveling along a similar route. [TCRP Research Report 188] Dynamic Carpooling
Shared-Use Mobility Transportation services that are shared among users, including public transit; taxis and limos; bikesharing; carsharing (round-trip, one-way, and personal vehicle sharing); ridesharing (carpooling, vanpooling); ridesourcing; scooter sharing; shuttle services; neighborhood jitneys; and commercial delivery vehicles providing flexible goods movement. [TCRP Research Report 188] Shared Mobility
Specified Public Transportation Transportation by bus, rail, or any other conveyance (other than aircraft) provided by a private entity to the general public, with general or special service (including charter service) on a regular and continuing basis. [49 CFR 37.3]