How to Create a Network of "Sharing Stops" for Expanded Transit Access

ioby's picture

By ioby

October 20, 2014

Photo credit: Malinda Rathnayake / Foter / CC BY.

Not everyone who needs transit lives within walking distance of a transit stop. Many, including the elderly, need a little help to get to the bus or train. And, as transit-oriented development drives up real estate prices in many areas, transit access is increasingly becoming an equity issue. Building a network of “Sharing Stops” to expand transit access can increase ridership while also increasing social capital in a neighborhood. Here’s how to get started.

STEP 1. Pick Your Stop.

You’ll need to select a transit stop that is friendly to “Last Mile” problems, with amenities for car and bike parking, good pedestrian access, comfortable waiting areas, and frequent service. You’ll also want to find a stop that is operating below capacity, so there is room for extra ridership.

STEP 2. Look Just Beyond the Catchment Area.

Look just outside of the 0.5-mile catchment area -- up to two miles out -- for “Sharing Stop” opportunities. Identify natural points of neighborhood congregation like senior centers, recreation centers, office buildings, and apartment buildings. A “Sharing Stop” does not need to be tied to a single location: Are there single-family residential areas that might work for a car share? Go to these places, talk to people about their needs and ask if they would be willing to organize a “Sharing Stop.”

STEP 3. Identify the Best Sharing Technology.

Pick a pilot for your “Sharing Stop” based on what you’ve found out about local needs and conditions, and identify the best technology for serving these users.

If you are serving...                         Consider using...

  • The elderly?                                 A vanpool or a tiny car
  • Young, active professionals?      A bike share or a bike valet
  • Families?                                     An informal car sharing or rideshare
  • Young students?                         A walking school bus or biking bus


A designated leader for a walking school bus. Photo credit: University of Salford / Foter / CC BY.

STEP 4. Test and Iterate.

You may start by piloting a pop-up event, where people can try the service and give rapid feedback. Be prepared with surveys asking people how likely they are to sue the service, any difficulties or obstacles encountered. Running multiple beta-tests and soft-launches to work out the kinks is advised. Eventually, you can build up to a network of ‘Sharing Stops” operated by the people who use them.

STEP 5. Communicate.

You will need to provide a way for people to communicate, access schedules, air their concerns, and tap into the network; a high-tech solution like a shared blog, email listserve, or Facebook group may work, or a low-tech one like a community bulletin board may be the right approach.

Who should be involved?

  • Transit users
  • Transit agency
  • Neighborhood organizations

Supply List & Estimated Costs

Supplies and costs depend entirely on the technology used.

  • Vans: Costs may range from $0 for donated vans to $50,000 + for new vans plus maintenance and fuel costs
  • Bikeshare systems: Costs may range from $0 for a DIY system to millions for a professional system.
  • Informal Rideshares: $0
  • Tiny Car: Costs range from $16,000-40,000 per car plus maintenance and fuel costs
  • Best Time of Year: People are unlikely to deviate from their usual way of doing things during busy times of year or inclement weather, so you might want to shoot for summertime.

More Resources:

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Shareable is featuring one how-to a week from ioby's Trick Out My Trip report. Below are all the posts in the series. It's all stuff that "any community can do to improve their transit experience in five easy steps."

This entry was written by Nina Misuraca Ignaczak, a devoted, lifelong resident of the beautiful and battered Detroit area. She is fascinated by the intersection of people and place, and inspired by those who work to make communities shine. She has worked with local governments, nonprofits, community groups and small businesses on sustainable development and civic engagement projects, and also writes stories about community for shareable.net.

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