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United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Mobility on Demand (MOD) Sandbox Program

Collage of four images consisting of a person using a transit app on a smartphone; screenshots of transit trip planner apps; people walking to a transit vehicle while a person accesses a transit app on a tablet, and; passengers standing at a bus stop waiting for a bus

What's New

Overview

The MOD Sandbox Program is a foundational element of FTA’s strategic research focus on mobility innovation. The Sandbox allows communities to creatively leverage a range of mobility options from bike- and car-sharing systems to demand-responsive bus services. The program integrates payment systems as part of a suite of concepts, technologies, and solutions with the potential to advance the Complete Trips for All vision that sits at the center of FTA’s mobility innovation research efforts. 

The program connects people to their communities, mitigates socio-economic disparities, advances racial equity, and promotes affordable access to opportunity. For example, the program has allowed community college students to access night classes after the local buses stop running, made it possible for travelers with disabilities to travel more spontaneously, increased carpooling to transit stations, connected rural communities, and provided useful mobility options in areas where bus service was not available. 

The goals of FTA’s MOD Sandbox Program are to:

  • Improve transportation efficiency by promoting agile, responsive, accessible and seamless multimodal service inclusive of transit through enabling technologies and innovative partnerships
  • Increase transportation effectiveness by ensuring that transit is fully integrated and a vital element of a regional transport network that provides consistent, reliable and accessible service to every traveler
  • Enhance the customer experience by providing each individual equitable, accessible, traveler-centric service leveraging public transportation’s long-standing capability and traditional role in this respect

The primary objectives of the MOD Sandbox Program are to:

  • Enhance transit industry preparedness for MOD
  • Assist the transit industry with integrating MOD practices into existing transit service
  • Validate the technical and institutional feasibility of innovative MOD business models, and document MOD best practices that may emerge from the demonstrations
  • Measure the impacts of MOD on travelers and transportation systems
  • Examine relevant public sector and federal requirements, regulations and policies that may support or impede transit sector adoption of MOD

Eligible Activities

Eligible activities include all activities leading to the demonstration of the innovative MOD and transit integration concept, such as planning and developing business models, obtaining equipment and service, acquiring/developing software and hardware interfaces to implement the project, and operating the demonstration.

Eligible Recipients

Eligible recipients are providers of public transportation, including public transit agencies, state/local government DOTs, and federally recognized Indian tribes. Each recipient must identify one or more strategic project partner(s) with a substantial interest and involvement in the project.

Eligible project partners may include, but are not limited to:

  • Private for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, including shared use mobility providers, and technology system suppliers
  • Operators of transportation services, such as employee shuttle services, airport connector services, university transportation systems, or parking and tolling authorities
  • State or local government entities
  • Other organizations that may contribute to the success of the project team including consultants, research consortia or not-for-profit industry organizations, and institutions of higher education

Statutory References

Public Transportation Innovation (49 U.S.C. § 5312)

Allocation of Funding

The MOD Sandbox projects are funded under FTA’s Public Transportation Innovation (49 U.S.C. § 5312). A total of $8 million was allocated in October 2016. 

Match

The federal share of project costs under this program is limited to 80 percent. Proposers may seek a lower federal contribution. The applicant must provide the local share of the net project cost in cash, or in-kind, and must document in its application the source of the local match. 

Technical Assistance

The Transportation Technical Assistance Coordination Library (TACL) provides a sustainable methodology and platform to access resources across a diverse range of transportation technical assistance centers and FTA. Participating FTA-funded technical assistance centers include:

Project Evaluation

Researchers will assess each of the 11 MOD Sandbox Program projects based on performance measures provided by the project partners, as well as an independent evaluation. Each report will address the project evaluation approach, process, data collection, and analyses.

Project Reports

Recipient Project Name Project Report Evaluation Plan Independent Evaluation
City of Palo Alto Bay Area Fair Value Commuting Demonstration Project City of Palo Alto (CA): Fair Value Commuting City of Palo Alto and Bay Area Fair Value Commuting (FVC) Demonstration Project
 
 
City of Phoenix Mobility Platform Valley Metro (AZ): Mobility Platform Valley Metro Mobility Platform Project Valley Metro Mobility Platform
Chicago Transit Authority Integrated Fare Systems – From Transit Fare to Bike Share   Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) Integrated Fare Systems From Transit Fare to Bike Share Project Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) Ventra–Divvy Integration Case Study
Dallas Area Rapid Transit First and Last Mile Solution Dallas Rapid Area Transit (DART) First and Last Mile Solution Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) First and Last Mile Solution Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) First and Last Mile Solution
Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority LA County and Puget Sound First/Last Mile Partnership with Lyft Puget Sound First/Last Mile Partnership with Via Los Angeles County and Puget Sound MOD First and Last Mile Partnership with Via  
Pierce County Public Transportation Benefit Area Authority Limited Access Connections Pierce Transit (WA) Limited Access Connections Pierce Transit (PT) Limited Access Connections  
Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority, Inc. Paratransit Mobility on Demand Demonstration   Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA)-Public-Private-Partnership for Paratransit Mobility on Demand Demonstration (P4MOD)  
Regional Transportation Authority of Pima County Adaptive Mobility with Reliability and Efficiency   Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) of Pima County Adaptive Mobility With Reliability and Efficiency (AMORE) Project
 
 
San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit Integrated Carpool to Transit Bay Area Rapid Transit: Integrated Carpool to Transit Access Program Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Integrated Carpool to Transit Access Program Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) Integrated Carpool to Transit Access Program 
Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District Open Trip Planner Share Use Mobility Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon (TriMet) OpenTripPlanner (OTP) Shared-Use Mobility Tri-County Metropolitan (TriMet) Transportation District of Oregon -- OpenTripPlanner Shared-Use Mobility (OTP SUM) Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon (TriMet) OpenTripPlanner (OTP) Shared-Use Mobility
Vermont Agency of Transportation Flexible Trip Planner Project Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) Flexible Trip Planner
 
The Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) OpenTripPlanner Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) OpenTripPlanner

 

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Last updated: Tuesday, June 29, 2021