n. A public transportation system that offers on-demand, door-to-door service.
The first [stream is] on demand public transport initiatives, such as Bridj, a Boston startup facilitating bus rides for commuters, solely based on reservations. A well-known example of the second stream might be Uber, which is using private transportation as a basis for on demand transportation. These two streams together are referred as ‘Microtransit’ and could be seen as a new form of modality, in between private individual and collective public transportation.
Transportation has a Goldilocks problem. At one end, there is "this mode is too solo:" the single traveler in a space-gobbling automobile. At the other, high dollar,we have "this mode is too big:" either high dollar, fixed guide-way public transit or high dollar road expansions. As a country, we've institutionalized these two ends, with less interest for the in-between. But thanks to technology, this is changing. We are on the cusp of widespread microtransit.
Released in January 2013 following input from public, private, philanthropic, non-profit and community members, the DFC framework proposes the adoption of a tiered transportation system with: … 4) new micro-transit and on-demand services providing transit services to residents in higher vacancy areas with increased efficiency and lower cost than traditional full-size, fixed route services.
Beyond enhancing the safety of transport in private vehicles and enabling greater densities of vehicles on freeways, the development of autonomous vehicles will enable the creation of large-scale public microtransit systems that flexibly transport people from point to point within city regions, continuing to execute prediction and optimization for maximizing their availability and efficacy.